Collecting & The Windfall: Glass Grapes

Collecting & The Windfall: Glass Grapes

Tess Wilson
Sep 10, 2010

It can take years and years to build a thoughtful, harmonious, and satisfying collection. Or one day you walk into your neighborhood thrift store and there's a fully-realized collection just waiting for you!

When my friend Crystal was little, her grandma collected grapes. ("Grapes and dolls!", she laughed.) Sadly, her grandma passed away and her collections were dispersed and sold. Crystal decided years later that she would like to start building her own grape collection, so she put the word out to friends to Please Call Her if they came across any awesome ones.

Soon after, she found the gold glass grapes with all the tendrils for only $3 at a thrift store. (Similar bunches often sell for $60-$75.) There were no new additions for awhile, until she happened upon someone's impressive collection on a routine trip to Thrift Town . I like to think of Crystal delightedly carrying 25 pounds of glass grapes home to her apartment!

  • The unusual bronze grapes are acrylic, and the green ones are another especially large glass example. The blue & green bunch is homemade, from an acrylic grape-making kit! I could not for the life of me find any make-your-own-grapes kits to link to, but please let us know if you find one. Crystal could tell these are homemade because one grape has glitter, one has air-bubbles, and one has green and blue acrylic mixed together.
  • The small blue grapes are the oldest — she doesn't know exactly when they were made, but they remind me of some of my grandma's perfume bottles and such from the 1940s. Any experts out there? The grapes themselves are shaped rather like doorknobs, as if the maker had never actually seen grapes before but was doing their best. The little clear glass leaf is particularly lovely.
  • The prize of Crystal's grape collection is, of course, the little bunch of raspberries. She's never seen another example online or in real-life. Not are they incredibly rare, they're adorable, like giant gummies.

And so the search continues. If Casanova on Valencia ever closes, those giant glass grape lights will have a good home. Any unbelievable collecting jackpots you've hit?

Images: Tess Wilson

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