Rare Elme Weidlich Three Graces, Swedish Crystal Vase, Art Deco Nude, Copper-Wheel Engraved 1930s

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This handblown crystal vase is from Elme, and it is almost certainly engraved by Emil Weidlich, 1895-1986. The motif is very similar to designs Weidlich engraved while working at the side of Simon Gate at Orrefors. It could pass for a Gate design, but the frosted trim at the rim and base are typical of Weidlich's work at Elme. The vase is unmarked, so I shared it with an Orrefors glass group on Facebook. The experts confirmed that it is a Weidlich piece from Elme. It is a medium-sized piece: 4.75" diameter at the rim and 6.5" high, and it weighs almost 2 pounds. It is in truly remarkable condition for its age.

I am fairly certain that the engraver is Emil Weidlich, judging from the style of the figures. Weidlich was educated as a glass "carver" at the Steinschönau Glass School (Kamenický Šenov), founded in the 16th century in the current Czech Republic. He was recruited by Simon Gate, in 1922, to work at the Orrefors glass mill. There he worked closely with Gate for almost a decade. In 1931 he joined Elme Glasbruk as a leader of an engraving workshop and remained there until 1942. He executed his own engravings on his own models, but also engravings of former designers, such as Edvin Ollers. In 1942, he started his own company, Värends Konstglas, at which he worked until the age of 85. The business was located in Älmhult, Sweden.

The Elme glassworks began in 1917 as a subsidiary of the Färe glassworks in Sibbhult. It was founded by the Swedish Nobel Laureate Gustuf Dahlen, the inventor of the gas powered lighthouse. It went bankrupt in 1920, reinventing itself as a manufacturer of glass homewares in 1923, and yet again as Elme Glasbruk in 1931. This happened a few more times in 1936, in 1940, and 1960, until it closed its doors for good in 1970. Over that time many important glass designers worked there, creating some great Art Deco designs. (Thanks to Nils Bergqvist)

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