Ever since I started working in the Restored Antiques department, I have been in love with Straw Opalescent glass shades. So much so that I keep all of them right outside my office to drool over every time I walk by. I love them for many reasons – the variation in shape, the quality of the glass, the strange opaqueness, their fascinating history – but mostly because the color is so modern looking. It’s almost hard to believe that this glass was made more than 100 years ago.
I have to admit that while appreciating them is easy, in the past I’ve struggled with where to use them. I grew up in an 1893 Victorian farmhouse, which would be a perfect fit for these highly decorative, turn-of-the-century lovelies. Over the years, I tried to talk my parents into using some Straw Opalescent glass, but the more I pushed it, the more I realized that no matter how “period-correct” the glass was, and how gorgeous it might have looked, it just wasn’t right for them. Note to owners of Victorians: this just may be what you’ve been waiting for to really make your home both period-authentic and unique.
Lately, design and decorating trends have leaned toward the eclectic, and mixing modern and antique pieces in the same space is no longer unseemly. This makes me very happy, because I can now unabashedly recommend Straw Opalescent glass as a stylish accent, not just a historically accurate one. Not to mention, they look a little bit neon when unlit, which is a great way to lend a contemporary or mid-century modern room a fresh jolt of color. Side note: Under black light it really looks neon, though I know chances are good you don’t have a black light.
I love Straw Opalescent glass paired with navy, dark teal, and deep wood tones; as the highlight in a minimal white and gray room; and, of course, in over-the-top Victorian homes. No matter what type of room you use it in, Straw Opalescent is likely to become the focal point. Prepare to be impressed — it’s really quite magical when lit.
I forgot to turn on the flash when taking the photo of this c1905 fixture. This bulb is just a double-loop carbon-filament bulb, but the curves of the shade and variation of the glass bounce the reflections around in a wonderful way.
With a flash, the shade above looks as it would lit during the daytime.
I love the idea of this big, beautiful c1910 fixture over a table in a really industrial and neutral kitchen.
I really wanted to put together this special assortment of Straw Opalescent shades – and the fixtures thats how them off – so you can see this amazing glass in a whole new way
Take care and I hope that you enjoy this glass as much as I do.