I have just had to clean some of my paperweights because I noticed some of them were looking 'cloudy', and I found when I opened the cabinet that they were in fact not just dusty as I had supposed, but were covered with a sort of film! I also noticed an unpleasant smell (which also got on my hands as I cleaned the weights, and is proving quite difficult to remove
I remembered the subject of 'oily glass' being discussed here previously, and I found this thread in the Archives: http://www.glassmessages.com/index.php/topic,395.msg1934.html#msg1934
What was interesting was the fact that it was only the Chinese weights which were affected! As well as all my 'dime-a-dozen' Chinese, I have in the cabinet a couple of Caithness flower weights, a Mtarfa, a Murano and a couple of Bohemian - none of these were cloudy at all!
And the horrible thing is, the surface of the Chinese weights is actually beginning to show damage in a couple of cases! There appear to be circular marks like the 'bruises' sometimes seen on paperweights which have been knocked or dropped, yet I know these weights have not been damaged in the time I have owned them, and definitely showed no such marks when I first bought them!
I was particularly interested to read the post in the previous thread on oily glass where Frank gave a reference to a site which talks about the conservation of glass and the causes and effects such damage can have, and it would appear some of these weights are actually suffering a degree of devitrification. I suspect this is as a result of being kept in a closed, albeit not completely airtight, cabinet. http://glassgallery.yobunny.org.uk/albums/userpics/10048/dime-a-dozen_cabinet.jpg
I was interested in the final comment in the thread, where Gareth says he found that proximity to Oak was a factor. However since my cabinet is a fairly cheap modern (Chinese, again!
) product, I think it more likely that humidity is to blame. I say this because I have other Chinese paperweights, particularly the ones on the top of the cabinet, which have not shown this problem.
I am posting this here rather than in the paperweight forum, because I feel it is a glass
issue specifically, as it could obviously affect any Chinese (or other cheap, soda-based) glass!
You have been warned!