One of the oldest French manufacturers, the company can trace its origins back to 1764 when King Louis XV commanded a glass factory to be built in the village of Baccarat, Lorraine. The factory began to specialise in fine crystalware, and received its first royal commission from King Louis XVIII in 1823. The company was responsible for making paperweights fashionable rather than functional; yet despite their success, paperweights were only originally produced for a brief period between about 1845 and 1860 (production resumed in the mid-1950s). The company began to make jewellery as well in the 1990s, and is still a major global player in the manufacture of glassware.
Baccarat has a long and noble history in the manufacture of glassware, and there’s increased interest at the moment among collectors as the company is celebrating its 250 year anniversary. The company is known for its quality and workmanship, and although the earlier Baccarat glass works are the most sought after there’s still a market for more recent products in good condition. As with all glassware, the value of Baccarat pieces is largely dependent on age and condition. The company’s most iconic range is called Harcourt, named for an ancient French family, and originally designed for King Louis Philippe in 1823. These heavy crystal glasses are still made today. Original 19th century Baccarat paperweights are very desirable, and typically feature ‘millefiori’ (thousand flowers) coloured glass canes as decoration, with unusual or signed examples commanding a premium.
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