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Cool Collectible

Jadeite (pronounced: jade-ite) dishware always looks refreshing in the summertime.

Produced by Anchor Hocking Glass, Jadeite refers to the specific color of Anchor Hocking glassware. It can be found in several different patterns, including the Jane Ray, Restaurant, Alice, Charm and Swirl patterns.

Today the retro look of the dinnerware attracts collectors of all ages who enjoy vintage chic and china. With an opaque green tint, the creamy looking glassware is also easy to spot in shops or estate sales. Plus, it mixes well with just about any white dinnerware.

But beware reproductions — and shop with reliable dealers to be sure that you’re getting true Jadeite and not a fake.

Many pieces are marked on the bottom with the Fire King name, the marketing name under which Anchor Hocking sold this heat resistant glassware. Jadeite has a clean, modern look, too, so it blends well with today’s styles. That’s exactly why it’s been reproduced so much. I often see it or its reproduction in magazines.

But because the original is relatively inexpensive, true Jadeite remains an affordable treasure. Jadeite is considered microwave safe, according to what I’ve read on the Internet, but not dishwasher safe due to the haze that can show up on vintage glassware when washed by machine.

Anchor Hocking made tons of glassware including dishes, tumblers, ovenware and accessories over the past 100 years. It still operates today. Located in Lancaster, Ohio, the glassmaker began at the turn of the 20th century when American glassmakers were in their heyday.

An interesting bit of Anchor Hocking lore is the fact that the original plant was known as the Black Cat. Called this because of its black, sooty look, this factory was destroyed by fire in 1924, yet it didn’t destroy the owner’s dreams of becoming an international glass giant. The company, named for the Hocking River near where the plant was located, made and sold approximately $20,000 worth of glassware in the first year, according to major glass collector, Philip L. Hopper, who has written five collectors’ books on the company and its glassware. (Find out more at anchorhockingmuseum.com.)

Anchor Hocking today is a leading producer of consumer glass products with distribution around the world. Anchor Hocking Glass in Lancaster still has a manufacturing facility and a 900,000-square-foot distribution center. (The company recommends glass reference books for collectors by Gene Florence.)

I like the Jadeite line because it looks cool and colorful. The company also made a turquoise color of dishware that is equally as pretty and other popular lines were decorated with scenes, rimmed in gold or red, featured primrose or mosaic designs. This is sturdy glassware, too, and most of the dinnerware had decorated tumblers that went along with it, which capitalized on the pressed glass capabilities of the new mass production developed during the Depression.

Certain pieces are rare, others are common, but that’s what makes antiques and collectibles fun to so many — the thrill of the search. Collectors watch online auction sites or visit many shops, seeking a particular piece of china or glassware. And when they finally find it, it’s like winning the lottery.

If you have Internet access and are the curious type, I recommend you also visit Philip Hopper’s site, since it’s an amazing tribute to this collectible. He built and stocked it himself, and what a job he did. A retired Air Force lieutenant and an avid Anchor Hocking collector, Hopper has more than 12,000 beautiful pieces of 1920-present glassware on display.

For comments or suggestions on local treasures to be featured in Antique of the Week, Maureen Zambito can be reached via email at: zambitomaureen@hotmail .com or by writing in care of this newspaper.

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