LARGO — If you're on the prowl for a beautiful piece of glass or seeking to learn more about the charm and history of yesteryear's table settings, slip away to the Sparkling Clearwater Depression Glass Club's 33rd annual show and sale this weekend.
About 20 vendors from around the nation will offer thousands of pieces of American-made Depression glass, iridescent carnival glass, milk glass, pattern glass and elegant glass. China, pottery, and other kitchenware created as early as the 1880s will also be featured in the show.
Tom Campbell, the show's organizer, said dealers have been seeing a shift in the types of buyers and what they want over the past decade.
The fervor over Depression glass — often given away in cereal boxes or as a premium for an oil change at a gas station — has given way to a passion for elegant glass, he said.
Elegant glass was created between the 1920s and 1950s and was sold in department and jewelry stores, often for wedding gifts. It cost more than its counterpart, Depression glass, because it was stronger, clearer, polished and available in more vibrant colors.
"The younger buyers are coming in and rather than buying 12-piece dinnerware sets in Depression glass, they are going for the elegant, special occasion pieces and decorative items like swan bowls, stemware, candelabras, vases, that kind of thing," Campbell said. "Depression glass is soft. You can't wash it in a dishwasher because it will etch and it's hard to replace if you break it.
"But," he added, "it's still fun to see grandmothers bringing their grandchildren in to start their own collections."
Don't leave your broken or chipped glassware at home. A glass repair artist will be on hand both days. And if you have some glass at home you'd like identified, bring along a sample piece or pictures.
Terri Bryce Reeves can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.