Collectible Spun Glass Figurines: A Complete Guide

Updated May 13, 2022
Two glass angels

Collectible spun glass figurines are delicate little treasures that are created from hot molten glass. Often called lace glass or lace crystal figurines, spun glass pieces are intricate and elegant works that are prized by collectors all over the world. Generally made from fine crystal, spun glass figurines are an exquisite sight to behold.

How Spun Glass Figurines Are Made

Spun glass has been around for centuries, but figurines became especially popular during the 19th and 20th centuries. The basic process for making spun glass is fascinating to watch; here's how it works:

Glassmaker finishing horse ornament
  1. The glass artisan uses two rods and a source of heat. As the glass becomes molten, the artisan transfers it between the two rods.
  2. As the artisan transfers molten glass from one rod to the other, they spin the rod. This is where the name "spun glass" comes from.
  3. The glass that comes off the rods begins to take shape and harden, creating a three-dimensional lacy filigree design.
  4. The artisan then adds touches and details to the glass.

Types of Spun Glass

Collectible spun glass figurines range in size from very tiny, such as a little hummingbird, to a large centerpiece, such as a ship. Figurines are made in just about any shape that you can imagine. These shapes include:

Spun glass deer figurine
  • Angels
  • Dragons
  • Fairies
  • Animals
  • Birds
  • Trains
  • Ships
  • Dolphins
  • Fish
  • Vehicles

Gold-Trimmed Spun Glass Figurines

Although spun glass figurines are usually clear in color, they often have details of different colored glass accents. Excellent examples of this are clear and colored animal figurines with gold details, clear glass flowers with gold stems, and clear glass baskets that feature beautiful gold colored trim.

Spun Glass Elephant With 13K Gold Accents

Colored Spun Glass Figurines

Spun glass figurines can be made of tinted colored glass. Several excellent examples of this type of spun glass figurines include flowers with colored petals and leaves, animals with details of colored glass, vehicle figurines with vibrant colors, and many other designs.

Where to Find Spun Glass Figurines

There are many places to find spun glass figurines, both on and off-line. Gift stores, collectible shops, and flea markets are several of the brick-and-mortar type stores where spun glass figurines are sold. Online sites to find these works of beauty also include many vintage options. Try one of the following:

  • Etsy - A great resource for handmade and vintage collectible figurines, you can find lots of gorgeous spun glass examples on Etsy. Some sellers will even make custom figurines to your specifications.
  • The Glass Blowing Shop - Offering everything from dragons to hummingbirds, The Glass Blowing Shop is a good place to find unique figurines made by artisans.
  • Glass Lilies - With a great selection of spun and blown glass flowers, animals, insects, and other figurines, this is a great place to look for something unique and lovely.

How to Display Your Collectible Spun Glass Figurines

There are many ways to beautifully display a spun glass figurine, or a figurine collection. Choose a display method that best shows off the beauty of your treasures:

Spun Glass Sailboat
  • On a mirror base - Collectors often place a small oval or round mirror under the figurine to highlight the elegance of the intricate glass.
  • With great lighting - A light source, such as sunlight streaming through a window, adds to the beauty of a spun glass piece as the sunlight highlights and reflects in the glass adding to its sparkle.
  • As a centerpiece -A large spun glass figurine such as a sailing ship makes a spectacular centerpiece on a table or coffee table. If you have a fireplace, the effect of the flickering flames on the ship will be stunning as the spun glass shimmers in the firelight.
  • In a cabinet - Small spun glass figurines, such as animals or fairies, look beautiful when they are displayed in a lighted curio cabinet. Some collectors prefer to arrange their figurines in groups to display them, while others enjoy featuring a special figurine by displaying it alone.

Caring for Your Spun Glass Figurine

Spun glass figurines are extremely delicate and break very easily. Because they are very appealing to both adults and children, people often want to examine the figurines more closely to find out how they are made. Since they are extremely fragile, it is best to keep them in a place where they will not be handled very much. Many collectors like to keep their spun glass figurines in enclosed curio cabinets or display cases.

Lightly dusting your spun glass figurines on a regular basis will keep the sparkle in your special treasures for years to come, but if you find that a spun glass piece needs deeper cleaning, this process is best:

  1. Place a soft towel into a sink or dishpan and fill it with warm water.
  2. Add a few drops of mild dish soap and carefully place the spun glass figurine into the water.
  3. Allow it to soak for a few minutes and then rinse the figurine with warm running water.
  4. If it still needs further cleaning, gently wipe the figurine with a soft cloth.

Affordable and Beautiful Glass Figurines

Collectible spun glass figurines are not only beautiful to own, they also make wonderful gifts for people of all ages. Among some of the most affordable collectible figurines, these treasures are within reach. You can build a collection with a theme or simply choose the pieces you like best, mixing vintage and antique spun glass with modern examples. There's no wrong answer, as long as you choose figurines that make you happy.

Collectible Spun Glass Figurines: A Complete Guide