YOU ARE HERE: REAL or FAKE>>Fake ancient glass>>Fake core formed glass (2)


But that's not the end of our misery!


In the collection of the Eretz Israel Museum in Tel Aviv there are these dark cobalt blue glass specimens


Alas, I can only find this black and white photo


  • They are blown not core formed : all have a pointil mark on them.
  • The glass trails well marvered in and two of these are artifically weathered
  • They are said to come from a Spanish glass maker near Gerona



This is what this type of forgery looks like.

The seller of this said it was Greek and 3rd century BC. He also said that he thought it wa blown glass! (He is correct; but glass blowing was not invented until about 50 BC!)





While on the subject of misattribution of blown glass, this seller on eBay says with great confidence that this is Hellenitic and partly blown!


You are bidding on an extremely attractive iridescent and patinated light green glass flask dating to the Greek Hellenistic period, some 200BC. The glass is manufactured by a combination of moulding and blowing. Its body is globular and constricted where the neck originates, its lips are double folded upon themselves.

Such vessels would have been used for storing cosmetics and medicines in antiquity by the ancient Greeks.

Intact and untouched. This beautiful vessel is displayed and sold on a custom made wooden plynth.

Height: 5 inches.

Provenance: Old English collection acquired through Bonham's UK.

Appraisal: US$2150.

Good Luck with this bargain no reserve auction!



Oh no, no no...

If this were really 200 BC and even partly blown, then the Corning Museum  would want it!

There is  no evidence of glass blowing before about 50 BC.


By portland


Authenticating Ancient Glass


From my experience of collecting ancient glass, over a twenty year period, there are four main pointers I would give to new collectors to help them to gain confidence and knowledge in authenticating ancient glass.

  • Visit as many museums as possible, that have sizeable collections of ancient glass from archaeological sites. Study all the pieces very carefully and thoroughly, make notes and photograph them.

Such museums include the British Museum and the V&A in London. The Ashmolean in Oxford, The Fitzwilliam in Cambridge and the Bristol Museum and Art Gallery (Bomford collection).

In the USA they have the greatest and finest collections of ancient glass and these can be seen at the Corning Museum of Glass, Yale Museum of Art at New Haven, Newark Museum of Art , The Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Toledo Museum of Art.

In Germany you can see an outstanding collection of Western Roman Glass in the Romisch Germanischen Museum Koln. In France the Louvre Museum has a nice collection plus there are many other provincial museums. In Israel The Israel Museum in Jerusalem and the Ha'aretz Museum Tel Aviv. There are many museums in Italy with fine ancient glass.

  • Get yourself the best descriptive and pictorial library you can of books on ancient glass. A good basic starting library would be the following books:


WHITEHOUSE -Roman Glass in the Corning Museum in 3 volumes 1997/2001/2003 (also includes section on fakes)

GOLDSTEIN - Pre-Roman and Early Roman Glass at Corning. (Contains section on fakes)

HAYES - Roman and Pre-Roman glass at the Royal Ontario Museum

MATHESON - Ancient Glass in Yale

SOTHEBY'S - Constable Maxwell Collection of Ancient Glass

GOLDSTEIN - Ancient Glass Miho Museum

YAEL ISRAELI - Wonders of Ancient Glass in the Israel Museum

AUTH - Ancient Glass in the Newark Museum

EISEN - Glass, in two volumes

STERN - Roman Mould Blown Glass

KUNINA - Ancient Glass in the Hermitage Museum

CHRISTIES- The Kofler Truniger Museum Ancient Glass

HARDEN - Glass of the Caesars

STERN - Early Ancient Glass in the Ancient World

GROSE - Early Ancient Glass in the Toledo Museum

CARBONI - Glass of the Sultans

CARBONI - Glass from Islamic Lands


  • Try to buy glass that has a history or provenance. For example from old collections or that has an auction house history. Christies and Bonhams have regular sales of ancient glass with some of old provenance but not all of it. you have to read the lot descriptions carefully.

  • Buy from a respected and reputable dealer who you can trust and who will guarantee the piece unconditionally. Dealers often have access to old collections or you may find direct access to established collections.

  • If you practice these four directives you can build up a collection with a high degree of confidence and knowledge.

Some General Observations on Ancient Glass

  • Ancient glass more often than not shows signs of the detrimental effects of moisture and chemical action from being buried in a grave over a long period of time. This causes the decomposition of the glass surface or under its surface. This often manifests itself in the form of iridescence in which the surface develops thin layers of opalescent or rainbow like colours. Such weathering or patina can vary from a very thin flaky layer to a very thick hard, almost enamel, surface. It is rarely evenly distributed. Often the weathering or patina occurs on one side of the vessel only, where it has been resting on its side in moisture or in soil. The surface on the adjacent side of the glass may well be very shiny and unblemished.

  • Forgers try to artificially create patina by the uses of acid and exposing the glass to metallic fumes.

  • Usually blown glass of the Roman period will be surprisingly light and thin due to loss of density over the years.

  • It is essential to study dimensions, technique, form and colour to compare objects with known archaeological examples in Museums or published material.

  • Ancient Core-glass can retain polished surfaces that look as if they were made yesterday. Some of the earliest glass ever made, the core-glass from the Egyptian 18th Dynasty, is some of the best preserved with beautiful fire polish. This is due to the dry atmosphere of the burial sites in Egypt. Most core-glass comes from the Eastern Mediterranean and in many cases retains good fairly unblemished surfaces due to the dry conditions in which they were buried.

  • Sometimes you will find iridescence quite often of a silver colour coating, or you will find that the surface has lost its gloss and is pitted with small holes. The dullness of the surface is not usually uniform and one should expect some variations or patchiness in the corrosion of the surface.

  • Because a lot of the core-glasses have relatively fresh surfaces we need to look carefully for other characteristics in determining authenticity. This is done by comparing carefully the colour matrix, precise shape, dimensions, proportions and technical construction of the handles with known examples in museums and published material.

  • If you study a fake you will almost always find some fine point in the technical manufacture that has been overlooked by the reproducer, in comparison with the real thing. For example I recently was offered a fake-core glass alabastron (See previously) that was a very good effort on the part of its producer but they had failed to understand or recognise the method by which the dolphin handles were formed. Whereas the loops on these are always folded inwards the reproducer had not spotted this and had folded them in an outward loop. So this is the sort of thing you will pick up quite quickly if you look at a lot of published examples. It is important to study every detail and get a feel for what is right or wrong.

  • After a while a fake stands out a mile. The Bible for this form of glass is the work by David Grose entitled Early Ancient Glass in the Toledo Museum of Art, which gives you examples of all the forms with fine pictures. Other books on this subject are Glass Vessels before Glass Blowing by Paul Fossing and Early Glass of the Ancient World by Marianne Stern.

  • Essentially core-glass tends to be in rather simple shapes and elegant. The trail decoration on the other hand can be very fine feather decoration. If you see objects of core-glass that have legs on them or with strange appendages then they are almost certainly fakes.
  • There were basically seven common types of core- glass made between 6th and 1st centuries BC.
  • Alabastra Amphoriskoi Oinochoai, Aryballoi, Stamnoi , Hydriskai and Unguentaria.


This chart showing the main shapes and the centuries in which they were mostly manufactured is courtesy of The Archaeologoical Journal, 125 (1968).


All serious collectors of ancient glass and indeed any collector wishng to acquire an example of early core formed glass really should have this book!


Click to go to "Recommended books"



There is another fake core formed glass in the Egyptian section



Another dreadful fake on eBay

You are bidding on an extremely rare Ancient Greek core formed glass mirafiori Amphora, dating to approximately 100 BC, of Black, White, Yellow, and Sky Blue colour glass circumferential bands.

A cylindrical body with a long cylindrical neck leading to a thick blue banded rim.

The skill required to manufacture a vessel of this beauty was absolutely exceptional. Modern artists have tried, and failed to emulate this extraordinary ancient technique.

Such vessels would have been used by the ancients to hold perfume.

Greek and early Roman glass is of a far superior style and is considerably rarer than its later Roman equivalents.

Height: 4 inches .

A couple of minute holes on the rim - otherwise intact and untouched.



Colours wrong, there is  no Greek blue like that!

The surface texture is wrong, it has been acid-treated, has no patination of age and the porosity of the glass is as is seen with fakes .



I would be really pleased to hear from anyone who has information about a producer of fake ancient glass from Syria who goes by the name of

Armin Nasser


email me






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