Favrile glass

Favrile glass specimens from 1896-1902

Favrile glass is a type of iridescent art glass designed by Louis Comfort Tiffany. It was patented in 1894 and first produced in 1896. It differs from most iridescent glasses because the color is ingrained in the glass itself, as well as having distinctive coloring. Favrile glass was used in Tiffany's stained-glass windows.


Tiffany founded his first glassmaking firm in 1892,[1] which he called the Tiffany Glass and Decorating Company.[2] The factory, Tiffany Furnaces, was located in Corona, Queens, New York[3] and managed by the skilled English immigrant Arthur J. Nash. It was here that Tiffany established his unique method of glassmaking: treating molten glass with metallic oxides that absorbed into the glass and created a luxurious iridescent surface effect.

Tiffany received the patent for Favrile glass in 1894.[4] The first Favrile objects were made in 1896.[5]

In 1865, Tiffany traveled to Europe, and in London he visited The South Kensington Museum, later renamed the Victoria and Albert Museum, whose extensive collection of Roman and Syrian glass made a deep impression on him. He admired the coloration of medieval glass and was convinced that the quality of contemporary glass could be improved upon.

At the 1900 Paris Exposition, Favrile glass won the grand prize in the exposition.[6]


Favrile is different from other iridescent glasses because its color is not just on the surface, but embedded in the glass.[7] The original trade name Fabrile was derived from an Old English word, fabrile, meaning "hand-wrought" or handcrafted.[8] Tiffany later changed the word to Favrile "since this sounded better".[9]

Some of the distinguishing colors in Favrile glass include "Gold Lustre," Samian Red," Mazarin Blue," "Tel-al-amana" (or Turquoise Blue), and Aquamarine.[10]


Favrile was the first art glass to be used in stained-glass windows, as Tiffany first thought of the idea of making patterns in windows based shapes and colors.[5] Favrile glass also backs a large ornamental clock in Detroit's Guardian Building.[11]


  1. Pevsner 2005, p. 98
  2. Craven 2003, p. 325
  3. Lehmann 1918, p. 115
  4. Duncan 2003, p.19
  5. 1 2 Tutag & Hamilton 1987, p. 152
  6. Burlingham 2002, p. 89
  7. Von Drachenfels 2000, p. 275
  8. Hesse 2007, p. 100
  9. Warmus 2001, p.68
  10. Lehmann 1918, pp. 117-118
  11. Tutag & Hamilton 1987, p. 137


Wikimedia Commons has media related to Favrile glass.
  • Burlingham, Michael John (2002), Behind Glass: A Biography of Dorothy Tiffany Burlingham, Other Press, p. 364, ISBN 1-59051-010-0 
  • Craven, Wayne (2003), American Art: History and Culture, McGraw-Hill Professional, p. 687, ISBN 0-07-141524-6 
  • Hesse, Rayner W. (2007), Jewelrymaking Through History: An Encyclopedia, Greenwood Publishing Group, p. 220, ISBN 0-313-33507-9 
  • Lehmann, Helen Mary (1918), The Glassware Department, Ronald Press, p. 161 
  • Pevsner, Nikolaus (2005), Pioneers of Modern Design: From William Morris to Walter Gropius (4th ed.), Yale University Press, p. 192, ISBN 0-300-10571-1 
  • Tutag, Nola Huse; Hamilton, Lucy (1987), Discovering Stained Glass in Detroit, Wayne State University Press, p. 166, ISBN 0-8143-1875-4 
  • Von Drachenfels, Suzanne (2000), The Art of the Table: a Complete Guide to Table Setting, Table Manners, and Tableware, Simon & Schuster, p. 592, ISBN 0-684-84732-9 
  • Warmus, William (2001), Louis Comfort Tiffany, New York: Wonderland Press ; H.N. Abrams, ISBN 978-0-8109-5828-9 
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