I'm a collector of many things and I suppose I always will be. I believe that everyone should collect something, no matter what it is, as long as it's something you have a passion for.
My largest collection is probably my collection of antique American Brilliant Period Cut Glass, which was made between 1875 and 1915.
I received my first piece of American Brilliant Period Cut Glass from my mother when I married, who had inherited the piece from her mother. At 25, I wasn't impressed. However, at age 45 I rediscovered the beauty of ABP when I inherited a number of pieces from my mother-in-law, and I've been collecting it ever since. ABP was highly popular among the wealthy, as it wasn't something the common man could afford. Brilliant Period pieces were hand blown and hand cut, but toward the end of this era, labor-saving steps and the onset of WWII resulted in the death of this incredible art. Basically, the owners of the glass houses (where cut glass was made) discovered that they could eliminate the person who did the hand-polishing, with a machine that did the same thing. However, the glass came out a bit more blurry than it would have, had it been hand-polished, and ultimately, it became too expensive & time consuming. There is no way these could be produced today, to be exactly the same.
Baby-Boomers have rediscovered cut glass with the ultimate realization that not only is it part of our own parents heritage, but it could never be made in these times at the prices we pay for these exquisite pieces of art. Since our parents' generation is slowly leaving us, it seems we are striving to preserve some of the beauty produced during their - and their parents' lifetimes.
The cost to make cut glass comparable to ABP would be astronomical in this day and age. The hundreds of patterns made were intricately detailed with the finest craftsmanship available and a high content of lead, unlike pieces made today. It only takes a quick turn of an ABP piece under a light or the sun, to experience the bedazzling qualities each piece possesses. The American Brilliant Period is a moment in our history that can never be repeated, only appreciated by collectors, new and old.
Unfortunately, most people cannot tell the difference between cheap pattern glass and ABP cut glass without a fair amount of study. Personally, I collect specific pieces to several different patterns. So, when I come across pieces in other patterns I offer them to my customers at reasonable and affordable prices.
Often, it takes months of research to finally determine a pattern, while other patterns are quickly identified. If you want to know more about collecting ABP cut glass, then you'll need to do your homework. In my opinion, 'Evers' Standard Cut Glass Guide', Warman's 'American Cut Glass', and 'Collecting American Brilliant Cut Glass' by Bill and Louise Boggess are several of the best guides, because they have precise, clear drawings or pictures of various patterns shown in numerous different pieces, as well as detailed explanations about how it was made. However, there are dozens of other very good guides as well.
So, if you don't collect anything, I suggest you give it a try. It's a wonderful way to preserve the past and make yourself feel good, at the same time. I'll tell you about the other things I collect at a later date. So, what do you collect? If your answer is "nothing", then get out there & start collecting!