Princess House Crystal: The Definitive Guide to Identification & Valuation

Princess House crystal has captured the hearts of collectors for generations with its scintillating beauty and tradition of handcrafted quality. As a collector and expert in glassware, I‘ve spent decades studying, appraising, and falling in love with these sparkling treasures. In this comprehensive guide, I‘ll share my knowledge to help you identify, appreciate, and value Princess House crystal.

The Legacy of Princess House

Since its founding in 1963 by Charles Collis, Princess House has become a beloved name in collectible crystal and glassware. What began as a modest direct sales company quickly blossomed into a booming business and a fixture in American homes.

Some key milestones in Princess House history:

  • 1960s:

    • Charles Collis establishes Princess House in Massachusetts
    • Early sales are driven by "Crystal Ladies" – women entrepreneurs who host home parties and demonstrations
    • Popular patterns like Pavillion and Coronation are introduced
  • 1970s:

    • Princess House expands product lines with new patterns like Heritage and Fantasia
    • Colored glass pieces in ruby, emerald, and sapphire are added
    • Sales exceed $1 million annually by mid-decade
  • 1980s:

    • Now-classic patterns like Highlights and Esprit debut to collector acclaim
    • Princess House is acquired by Colgate-Palmolive but maintains independent branding
    • Annual sales surpass $100 million by 1989
  • 1990s-2000s:

    • Princess House introduces updated patterns like Verona and Pavillion
    • Company expands into cookware, bakeware, and home decor
    • Vintage patterns become highly sought-after by collectors
  • Today:

    • Princess House celebrates 60 years in business
    • CEO Connie Tang leads a new era focused on healthy living
    • Vintage and contemporary pieces remain a thriving collectible market

Over its storied history, Princess House has empowered over 40,000 independent consultants and touched millions of homes with its glistening crystal creations. More than just a glassware company, Princess House represents entrepreneurship, artistry, and cherished memories passed down through generations.

The Art and Science of Princess House Crystal

What distinguishes Princess House pieces from ordinary glassware is the company‘s commitment to traditional crystal craftsmanship. Genuine crystal contains at least 24% lead oxide, which increases the material‘s refractive index and lends incomparable brilliance and clarity.

Princess House crystal is crafted from a proprietary blend of silica sand, potash, and lead oxide, melted at temperatures exceeding 2000°F. Skilled artisans blow, mold, cut, and polish each piece by hand using time-honored techniques. Princess House crystal contains around 30-35% lead, placing it well above minimum crystal standards.

Here‘s how Princess House crystal compares to other types of glassware:

Material Lead Content Refractive Index Density
Soda-lime glass 0% 1.52 2.5 g/cm³
Crystal glass ≥24% 1.545-1.555 2.9-3.0 g/cm³
Princess House crystal 30-35% ~1.56 ~3.1 g/cm³
Lead crystal ≥35% 1.56-1.58 3.2+ g/cm³

Princess House crystal‘s high lead content places it nearly on par with the very finest lead crystal in terms of brilliance and weight. These physical properties create the signature qualities collectors prize:

  • Unparalleled clarity and absence of imperfections
  • Preternaturally smooth surfaces and cut edges
  • Mesmerizing light refraction and prismatic effects
  • Satisfying weight and substantialness in the hand
  • Resonant bell-like ring when struck

From the mineral bath to the final polish, each Princess House piece embodies a perfect marriage of art and science, explaining the brand‘s enduring allure for crystal connoisseurs.

Identifying Princess House Crystal Patterns

One key to building a Princess House collection is learning to identify the brand‘s most notable patterns, spanning the company‘s 60-year history. While some patterns have been in continuous production for decades, others were produced for a limited time, making them especially sought-after today.

Here‘s a field guide to some of the most collectible Princess House patterns:

Pattern Years Produced Characteristics Rarity
Heritage 1974-Present Intricate floral cut designs, scrolling vines Moderate
Fantasia 1965-Present Ornate floral and starburst cuts, colored glass Moderate
Highlights 1988-Present Vertical and crisscross cuts radiating from stem Moderate
Esprit 1970s Deep vertical cuts in starburst pattern High
Regency 1970s-1980s Alternating vertical cuts and ovals High
Bordeaux 1988-1998 Abstract arched and fan cuts High
Pavillion 2000s Flared and fluted cuts Low
Whitehall 1990s Neo-classical columns and arches Moderate
Verona 1990s Scrolled florals with frosted accents Moderate

To identify a Princess House pattern, study the cut design closely, noting motifs like flowers, starbursts, fans, or geometric shapes. Consult collector‘s guides and pattern indexes to match your piece to known designs. Pieces with original packaging, labels, or catalog listings are easiest to identify definitively.

Princess House Crystal Value and the Collector‘s Market

As with all collectibles, the value of Princess House crystal is shaped by a confluence of factors, from a piece‘s age and rarity to its condition and desirability on the secondary market.

While valuations are always evolving, here are some key principles that tend to drive Princess House crystal values:

  • Age: Generally, pieces produced in the 1960s-1980s command higher values due to their relative scarcity and vintage appeal. Newer pieces can still be collectible but are usually more affordable.

  • Rarity: Patterns produced for a limited time or in smaller quantities, like Esprit and Regency, often fetch higher prices than long-running patterns like Heritage. Rare colored glass pieces and short-run specialty items are also especially sought-after.

  • Condition: As with all delicate collectibles, condition heavily impacts value for Princess House crystal. Pieces free of chips, cracks, scratches, or clouding will always command a premium. Having the original box and packaging can also increase an item‘s value.

  • Completeness: Individual pieces are collectible, but complete sets of stemware or matched serving pieces tend to be most valuable, especially in rarer patterns. Aim to collect or sell sets intact for best value.

To assess a piece‘s value, collectors turn to price guides, online valuation tools, and recent sales data from auction sites and marketplaces. Here are some representative Princess House crystal values based on recent eBay sales:

Item Pattern Year Condition Sold Price
4 Heritage highball glasses Heritage 1970s Excellent $120
Fantasia sugar and creamer set, emerald green Fantasia 1980s Excellent $90
Single Highlights wine glass Highlights 1990s Good $20
Esprit lidded candy dish Esprit 1970s Excellent $150
Regency 10" serving bowl Regency 1980s Excellent $200
Complete Pavillion 48-piece dinnerware set, 12 settings Pavillion 2000s New $1500

*Note: The above values are approximate and represent individual recent sales. Actual values can vary based on market conditions and other factors.

Of course, a piece‘s true value often transcends dollars and cents. The sentimental worth of a beloved heirloom, the thrill of the hunt for an elusive piece, and the satisfying sparkle of sunlight through crystal all add ineffable value to collecting Princess House.

Savvy Tips for Princess House Crystal Collectors

Whether you‘re a seasoned collector or just starting to fall in love with Princess House crystal, these expert tips will help you build a collection that‘s the envy of any glass menagerie.

Buying Princess House Crystal

  • Educate yourself on patterns, value factors, and the secondary market before buying. Consulting price guides, collector‘s forums, and expert appraisals can help you spot smart investments.

  • Buy the best condition you can afford. While mint condition pieces command a premium, don‘t overlook lightly worn items that can be restored to their former glory.

  • Examine pieces in person whenever possible, inspecting closely for damage. Hold stemware up to the light and run a finger along edges to feel for chips or roughness.

  • Don‘t forget about packaging! Pieces with original boxes and documentation are not only easier to identify, but more valuable and historically significant.

  • Comparison shop to find the best values, but factor in shipping costs and seller reputation, especially when buying online. Look for sellers who specialize in glassware and offer clear photos and detailed descriptions.

Selling Princess House Crystal

  • Research the collector‘s market to determine competitive prices for your pieces based on pattern, age, and condition. Check realized prices for similar items, not just asking prices.

  • Be transparent about any flaws or damage in item listings. Note any chips, cracks, scratches, or repairs, and provide detailed photos from all angles.

  • Leverage the power of storytelling. Including details about a piece‘s history, provenance, and sentimental value can help it stand out to buyers. Share what the piece has meant to you and your family over the years.

  • Choose the right sales venue for your needs. Specialty marketplaces like Replacements, Ltd. cater to serious collectors, while general auction sites like eBay reach a broader pool of buyers. Local antique shops, flea markets, and estate sales can also be fruitful.

  • Protect your crystal in transit with copious padding and sturdy boxing. Invest in foam or molded pulp inserts, packing peanuts, bubble wrap, and double boxing for especially fragile pieces.

Connecting with the Princess House Collector Community

One of the greatest joys of collecting is connecting with fellow enthusiasts who share your passion. Princess House collectors are a friendly and knowledgeable bunch, eager to swap stories, insights, and advice. Here‘s how to plug into the collector community:

Collecting Princess House crystal is more than a hobby – it‘s a portal to a rich history, a network of kindred spirits, and a lifetime of delightful discoveries. By arming yourself with knowledge, an eye for quality, and a spirit of adventure, you‘ll find yourself tumbling down the sparkling rabbit hole of Princess House collecting.

As you build and refine your collection, remember that the true value of these glistening gems lies not just in their monetary worth, but in the joy they bring and the memories they hold. May your collection sparkle as brightly as the smiles it inspires. Happy hunting, collectors!


  1. Princess House. Our Story.
  2. National Depression Glass Association.
  3. The American Cut Glass Association.
  4. Replacements, Ltd. Princess House Crystal.
  5. eBay. Princess House Crystal. Recent sales data.

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