Uranium glass has garnered significant attention from collectors over the years, drawing enthusiasts who seek various pieces of this unique glassware. In this comprehensive guide, we'll provide you with some essential information about uranium glass, whether you're interested in buying or selling the antique glassware.

What Is Uranium Glass? -

Uranium glass is a type of glass infused with uranium before melting to achieve distinctive colors. Typically, these pieces contain low levels of uranium, ranging from trace amounts to 2%. However, some rare specimens have been found with as much as 25% uranium content.

The addition of uranium was primarily for its ability to create a captivating fluorescent effect. It gained immense popularity, leading to its production in Europe and North America. Most uranium glass items are decorative, often resembling carnival glass, with uranium glass bowls being particularly sought after.

The production of uranium glass significantly declined during the 1940s due to the Second World War, which caused a shortage of uranium.

How to Identify Uranium Glass -

The simplest way to confirm the authenticity of uranium glass is to examine it under UV light. Authentic uranium glass will emit a vivid green glow under this light, with the intensity varying based on the uranium content. If glass exhibits this green fluorescence under UV light, it is unmistakably uranium glass. Some uranium glass may also register slightly above background radiation levels on a sensitive Geiger counter, though this isn't always the case.

When Was Uranium Glass Produced?

Uranium glass first emerged in the 1830s, often credited to Josef Reidel, who named it after his wife. He referred to the yellowish-green uranium glass as Annagruen and the yellow variety as Annagelb. His Bohemian factory produced this glass between 1830 and 1848.

Over time, more factories began manufacturing uranium glass, including the Choisy-le-Roi factory in 1838 and Baccarat in 1843. Later in the 19th century, uranium glass was produced using heat-sensitive chemicals that turned milky white upon reheating. This variant earned the name "vaseline glass" due to its yellow color.

The 1880s witnessed a surge in its popularity, and the London-based Whitefriars Glass Company played a key role in bringing uranium glass to the mass market.

Production of uranium glass faced interruptions between 1942 and 1958 due to uranium scarcity, with the U.S. government confiscating uranium supplies for the Manhattan Project. Today, only a few manufacturers continue to produce various forms of uranium glass.

Is Vaseline Glass the Same as Uranium Glass? -

While "uranium glass" is a broad term for any glass containing uranium, "vaseline glass" represents a specific subtype of uranium glass. Vaseline glass is known for its distinct yellow hue, often referred to as canary glass. Unlike some opaque types of uranium glass, vaseline glass is transparent.

How Much Is Uranium Glass Worth?

The value of uranium glass can range from under Β£100 to over Β£10,000, with rarity playing a significant role in determining its worth. Common household items made from uranium glass are often readily available and affordable. However, more intricate or decorative uranium glassware can command higher prices. Additionally, uranium glass created by specific manufacturers may be more valuable, making it worthwhile to explore sought-after pieces if you're starting a collection.

Is Uranium Glass Safes?
The uranium content in this glass has raised concerns about safety, but due to the typically low levels of uranium used in each piece, uranium glass is considered safe when handled correctly. While it is considered radioactive, the level of radioactivity is very low, resulting in no adverse health effects when used as intended. In fact, a 2001 report by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission concluded that uranium glass is safer than common household electronics.