Crown Crystal, Australia
Only one glassmaker produced Carnival Glass in Australia – Crown Crystal Glass Company (previously Crystal Glass Works and Crown Glass Works) in Sydney, New South Wales.
What comes into your mind when you think of Australian Carnival? Do you think of the rich dark iridescence that was often used? Or perhaps the stately shapes of the elegant comports and float bowls? Maybe. But most likely the images that will first come into your mind are the delightful Australian flora and fauna - the kookaburra, kingfisher and kangaroo - the waratah blooms and the dainty Christmas bells. Crown Crystal patterns are unique in the way they feature the flora and fauna of the Australian continent.
The first patterns used for Carnival Glass made in Australia were produced by Crown Crystal from 1919, and they subsequently registered their designs from 1923. On some patterns the registered number is actually incorporated into the face of the design, such as on the Kangaroo bowl (right).
Two main Carnival colours were used, marigold and purple (or black amethyst), the latter often referred to, descriptively, as “dark”. In a Crown Crystal catalogue from 1929, their Carnival items are divided into two categories: Iridescent and De Lustre - quite possibly equating with marigold and "dark". Rare examples of aqua base glass with marigold iridescence are also known - see below. It is thought that iridizing probably began at Crown Crystal in 1919 and continued until the early 1930s.
The shapes most often seen are bowls (masters, berries and float bowls) and comports; other shapes seen less frequently are vases, water sets and table sets (sugars and creamers).
Fake Kangaroo and fake Kingfisher bowls began to appear on the market in 2006, probably coming from the Far East, possibly China. We have worked with Cathy Bannister and Julie Hynes to identify these items and pass information onto collectors. It seems that the fakes have used copies of the original patterns, but not the original moulds. Thus there are many differences in the patterns that can be detected fairly easily.
Two contemporary designs came on the collector market in 2007. They were made in China for Colourful Dragon Imports in Australia, and they feature either a koala or a platypus. The exterior pattern is a repro of the Fern & Wattle original. On the base of the bowls is the word SUMMERLAND. Colours made so far were blue, purple and white and we understand 500 of each colour in both patterns were produced (making 3000 items in total).
Read and see more about Crown Crystal - click on any image.