What is Cranberry Glass?

Cranberry Glass is a type of ruby glass that was probably first made in Bohemia in the 18th century. Ruby glass is made with 22ct gold that's been dissolved in nitric and hydrochloric acid to give gold chloride and then added to the molten glass to produce a shade of pink - the deeper it is, the more gold in the original solution.

The pink coloured glass is used as a thin layer either inside or outside of a thicker layer of clear glass. The association with gold undoubtedly gives Cranberry a particular status, but careful workmanship is also required. To achieve the pink hue, accurate heating is needed; too little and the glass will be red, too much and it will become amethyst

From Bohemia the tradition spread to the rest of Europe, England and the USA. Almost all the glass works based in the Stourbridge area of Britain would have made ruby or pink glass, including Webb, Stuart, Richardson, and Stevens & Williams as well as lesser-known makers. In the States, Pairpoint Crystal in Massachusetts still is one of the leading suppliers in New England. And, it is here that the glass is said to have been christened Cranberry, taking its name from the berries grown in the region.


The most prolific manufacturing period for Cranberry Glass was from 1870 to 1930,
but it has continued in production right up to the present day, with one of the major suppliers in the UK being Royal Scot Crystal. Royal Scot has been making Cranberry for around 20 years and still uses the traditional hand blowing methods as used by Victorian makers. It specialises in recreating old styles and finds that its most popular pieces are those with clear glass bases, like the custard cup or trumpet vase, as this sets off the colour very well. New designs are launched every year.

Dating Cranberry

One of the major challenges in collecting Cranberry Glass is in accurately dating pieces. Very few makers actually marked their work, and this tradition also continues today - pieces by Royal Scot Crystal are not permanently marked. It is a balance between understanding styles and shapes. It is useful to become familiar with what is currently being made, and by handling such pieces you can build up knowledge of the quality of glass used. today's makers usually produce high quality glass with a uniformity of color that's better than much produced in Victorian times.

It's good to see whether a shape looks practical - on Victorian pieces, the handles are the right size for the jug, whereas today the handle could be too small or too big. Also, some shapes made today just would not have been produced by the Victorians. But elaborate and complex shapes are more likely to denote age because the necessary skills to produce such intricate items are not around any longer.


Look out for signs on the base, such as marks that suggest wear and tear or that the piece has been moved around on a shelf. Steve suggests: "Once you become familiar with these, they are distinctive and hard to fake." By contrast, pontil marks are not signs of age, but merely that the piece has been hand blown - this technique is still used today. "In the end, it is all about handling as much glass as possible and then trusting your instinct.

The Range of Cranberry

The variety of shapes available is extraordinary - from simple vases to elaborate epergnes, from wine suites to all manner of table items, including celery vases, preserve dishes and carafes. Among' the more unusual shapes are pipes, swan mounted dishes and wine flagons. The characteristic Cranberry style is the elaborate frilly edge but plainer pieces were frequently made.

Cranberry fans build up the collections in various ways - some stick to a specific shape,
others to the more austere styles while many enthusiasts prefer the exuberant forms. There's also a real choice in colour, from a deep pink to the most delicate hue and collectors often restrict their purchases to one specific shade.Cranberry coloured glass is used by modern glass designers.



Handle as much glass as possible.
Quality, age and condition are factors that determine the value of Mary Gregory Glass, so it's important to examine each piece closely to try to work out when it was manufactured.
Buy perfect pieces if at all possible - cracks and chips are fine if it is an important or rare piece, but the price should reflect condition.
Always go with your heart and then you'll never be disappointed.
Whether a piece is repro or old, if you like it and it is a fair price then go for it.
If in doubt, don't buy it!
If you buy on eBay then it is very much a case of let the buyer beware.


  1. Great information, I'm new to the cranberry glass world. I picked up a nice bowl. Do you provide info on pieces?

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  4. I have some family cranberry glass that is not in good shape. It's faded or scratched. I'm not sure what to do with it -- should I just throw it away?

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