To identify antique glass patterns, learn more about the various glass categories by browsing through relevant books and websites, note salient details, print the patterns and pictures, visit exhibits and museums, and get in touch with collectors and antique dealers. Get to know the inherent and distinctive features of different glass patterns, and examine each piece closely.
Glass is commonly categorized as Vaseline, Depression, Milk, Cranberry, Fenton and Carnival, with each category comprising of several patterns. Go through books such as "Antique Glass and Glass Collecting," and "Elegant Glassware of the Depression Era: Identification and Value Guide Book," and browse websites such as that of the National Imperial Glass Collectors' Society to learn more about the patterns under each category.
Use the book "Glassware Pattern Identification Guide" to learn how to examine glass of different categories. Also, use these resources to know the type of glass items, such as plates, glasses and pitchers, made under each glass category. These resources can also help to identify manufacturer marks and the distinctive features of different glass patterns.
Note the details of patterns in a notebook under heads such as color, manufacturer, size manufactured, type, pieces available and specific terminology related to it. Also, take print outs of the pictures, and read pertinent articles available on the websites.
If possible, attend the conventions or subscribe newsletters provided by collector societies. When visiting dealers of antiques, take the pattern details and pictures along to gather more information.
When examining a glassware, note its size and color, look for the distinctive features of a pattern and the manufacturer's mark, and compare the ware with pictures given in relevant books or websites.