Stevens and Williams Jades
By Beth Shaut and Lenora Howard
I have asked two knowledgeable people to write an article on Stevens and Williams Jade Glass. This glass is often mistakenly identified as Steuben. Hopefully this article will clear up some of that confusion between the two. Beth Shaut is the manager of Robert Rockwellís Carder Steuben Shop in Corning, NY, and has been working with this glass for many years. Much of her training has come from Bob Rockwell himself. Lenora Howard became interested and started actively collecting Stevens and Williams jade glass several years ago. She has gleaned her knowledge from the scant printed information available on this glass, as well as also being trained by Bob Rockwell.
Stevens and Williams made many different types of glass among which the jades
are only a very small portion of their production. Their most highly recognized
and best known type is their English Cut Cameo pieces.
There seems to be a great deal of confusion as to when Stevens and Williams produced these jade pieces. Often, these pieces are identified as having been produced by Frederick Carder before he left England to form Steuben with Hawkes. There is further confusion as to some of the colors produced by S&W because several are very similar to Steuben. We include a photo of the eight known S&W colors.
As you will notice, both green and blue are represented by a dark shade and a light shade. Left to right, back row: Yellow jade, dark green jade, dark blue jade, light green jade. Left to right, front row: Amethyst jade, light blue jade, apricot jade, and rose jade. The yellow jade is not a true yellow, but has a slight green cast. The apricot jade is unique to S&W. Carder did not produce this shade at Steuben. Also, there should be no confusion between S&Wís amethyst jade and Steubenís wonderful plum jade.
Even though there is confusion, the colors of S&Wís jades and of Steubenís jades are not the same. S&Wís colors are "softer", more pastel-like in nature, where Steubenís colors are generally brighter and more vibrant. This is due to the fact that S&W jades have a thin casing of opal glass which produces the softer effect. Further, the S&W "alabaster" is generally more gray in color than Steubenís alabaster. In fact, it is often referred to in England and on the continent as a "clambroth" color.
Some of the shapes are attributed to Steuben, but were produced solely by Stevens and Williams. This is particularly true of the cordial, which is often misidentified as Steuben. This is a photo of the cordial shape produced by S&W. It came in all eight colors. The same is true of the martini shape, which has exactly the same stem, but a wider and shallower profile on the bowl. It is easy to understand how an untrained eye would be confused. These various stems came in all the colors. To view a larger image of this photo, simply click on the photo.
A further source of confusion is found in the powder boxes and other covered shapes. One of the defining characteristics of S&W is the ground, flat-topped finial found on these pieces. Steuben did not use this type of finial. It is found on most covered Stevens and Williams jade pieces. If a ground, flat-topped finial is seen, the first thought for identification should be Stevens and Williams, not Steuben. Again, the colors are the same as those shown in the first photo in this article. To view a larger image of this photo, simply click on the photo.
It is also difficult for many people to differentiate the sherbets of these two glass manufacturers. The sherbet pictured here is done in S&W rose jade. Note the short stem, which defines a S&W piece. Unfortunately, identification is made even more difficult by the fact that the Gardner book shows short-stemmed shapes in Steuben. However, when one comes across a sherbet with the short stem, the first reaction should be Stevens & Williams. We then must go back to color identification, including the opal casing on the glass for S&W. Most short-stemmed sherbets found today are Stevens & Williams. These sherbets also came in all eight colors. To view a larger image of this photo, simply click on the photo.
Now as to time frame: Most knowledgeable people today very strongly believe that these Stevens & Williams jades were NOT done by Carder before he left England. It is now the feeling that they were produced no earlier than the mid-teens, probably the 1920ís. There may have even been a few produced in the early 1930ís. Certainly these jades were most likely based on experimentation and formulas worked on by Carder before he left S&W. Steuben produced their jades from the early 1920ís on. It is felt that it is highly unlikely that Stevens & Williams jades pre-dated the production and success of Steuben jades.
We hope that this article will clear up many of the common misconceptions and mis-identifications between S&W and Steuben jades. We realize that some unusual pieces will still be open to debate. In a short article like this, not everything can be covered, nor was that attempt made. If you have further questions, please email them to this site. They will be forwarded to us.
As with all price guides, this is simply a guide. Prices may vary by regions, etc.
Most of the above are actual, realized sale prices. That is not necessarily true of the vases, covered jars, covered powders, and perfumes as it would be impossible to have handled all the variations in size, color, and shape. As a general rule, the larger the piece and the more unusual and rare the shape, the higher the value.
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