I picked up an interesting object a little while ago at an antiques fair just outside Oslo
and thought I'd mention it. I debated with myself wether to post it here or in glass,
given the similarity to paperweights I decided to post in paperweights.
At first glance it appears to be a rather flat glass paperweight, 9 cm or approx. 3.5" wide, 2.5 cm or 1" high.
Solid color, so dense it appears black.
A pontil mark to the base.
All the trappings of a glass paperweight.
It is actually bottle green in color and was probably made in Norway.
When it was made is hard to tell, the University of Tromsø's (UiT)Archelogical department
mentions "late merovingian time to end of 18th century ".
A find dated to the 6th century suggest these were first imported from the roman empire.Mangekulturen(Norwegian text)
They were in the last quarter of the 18th century made at the Aas and Hurdal huts
and some of that production was exported to Denmark according to "Antikvitets Leksikon" by
Ellen Ørnes ISBN82-7201-367-3. Hurdal was a white-glass glassworks though so that
would seem to rule out colored versions. Aas was a bottle-glass glassworks.
It is believed that earlier samples were imported from abroad as there was little
larg scale glass production in Norway prior to Nøstetangen glassworks,
set up by King Christian VI in 1741.
They were not intended to be used as paperweights, they were originally
used to smooth seams on clothes, ironing in a sense, but without the heat.
Usually these pieces are found with every part of the surface heavily scratched
by use throught the years, this piece
in the UiT collection shows heavy damage
from use over the ages.
In reasearching this I found several articles suggesting some older specimens have been confused for rocks,
which may explain why they in Norway are called "Glattestein" or "Gniestein" - meaning "Smoothing stone" or "Rubbing stone".
I mentioned above that I believe my specimen to be made in Norway, this is solely due to the
lack of heavy wear, my piece has very little wear compared to the other pieces I have seen and
has no knicks or bullseyes. It also appears to lack internal bubbles, a trait associated with older samples.
Edit : any color other than the green on the pontil is caused by reflections from nearby objects, yours truly included.