The Story of Lalique Glass
Founded over a century ago, Lalique is a French lifestyle brand synonymous with luxury. The label spans jewellery, homewares & perfume, with Lalique glass often coveted by collectors. Here’s the Lalique story – and what to look for when buying Lalique glassware at auction.
The History of Lalique
In 1885, an upcoming jeweller, René Lalique, opened his workshop on Place Gaillon in Paris. Within 5 years, he had opened two more spaces, and earned a reputation for exquisite jewels inspired by Antiquity and Japonism.
René became the toast of Paris, his designs adorning socialites and actresses including Sarah Bernhardt. He took part in the 1900 Great Exhibition in Paris, and in the same year was named Officer of the French Legion d’Honneur.
From his earliest days as a jeweller, René had used precious stones side by side with innovative materials such as enamel and glass, and his fascination with these materials led to new strands of design. He began exhibiting his glassware in 1905, and shortly afterwards, partnered with perfumer François Coty. They revolutionised the perfume industry, offering quality fragrances in beautiful glass bottles, at affordable prices.
In 1922, René opened the Verrerie d’Alsace glassworks in Alsace, which today is the world’s only Lalique factory. He crafted stunning glass in a spectrum of colours, as well as opalescent, clear and frosted glass – in a spectrum of hues that emphasised the intricate designs.
He continued to build the Lalique name, with his projects including interior design for the Côte d’Azur Pullman Express carriages, and the first-class dining room of the luxury liner Normandie. In 1935, the Lalique shop opened at 11 Rue Royale in Paris.
The Appeal of Lalique Glass
Today, the Lalique brand spans jewellery, perfumes, art, furniture, linen and homewares – as well as a museum, five star hotels, and restaurants.
Lalique glassware remains at the heart of the business, and includes vases, sculptures, bowls, perfume bottles, clocks and ornaments. Each piece typically fits one of the three themes that inspired the founder – women, flora or fauna.
Renowned for it’s exceptional quality and design, Lalique glass is hand crafted by hundreds of skilled artisans, using know-how passed down over generations. Techniques include Hot Glass, Cold Glass and Lost-Wax, with a single pieces sometimes requiring over 40 steps.
The EPV marking found on Lalique glassware indicates Entreprise du Patrimoine Vivant (Living Heritage Enterprise), a label of distinction awarded by the French State to recognise excellence in traditional and industrial skills.
Pictured: A Pair Of Lalique Paquerettes Candle Holders
Lalique at Auction
Whilst there is always higher demand for the rarest pieces, quality vintage & antique glassware continues to be very accessible at auction – meaning it’s often possible to pick up exquisite pieces for a fraction of the cost of modern mass-produced glassware.
Theodore Bruce offers Decorative Arts monthly with antique art glass and glassware. Our current auction features a number of Lalique pieces, including a ‘Tete De Lion’ Frosted Crystal & Chrome Footed Lighter. Whilst our Adelaide auction also has Lalique glassware, including a beautiful “2 Fleurs” Perfume Bottle, pictured.
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