Hi everyone - and a Happy New Year to all,
The same patterns were used for cut glass by different factories. The factories did not even necessarily have to be in the same country, since if a pattern was popular and commercially viable it would be picked up and used.
It may be that a pattern has been used for such a long period of time it has effectively become 'traditional'. Sometimes it can be identical, sometimes only part of an item re-uses the pattern (most probably to avoid litigation, even then). The colour of the crystal can be one means of narrowing down the field. For instance does it have a bluey tint? Or yellow? Or is it particularly clear/bright? etc., etc.
Shapes are something that generally relate to a particular factory, although as we all know this is by no means foolproof, since some shapes were used by pretty well everyone!!
Other variations can include the number of cuts on the star-cut base, which can be synonymous with a particular factory. More often than not though, it may be several factories, but it can still be used to narrow down the possibilities.
A short comment on the label in question, which only indicates the country of origin of the decanter. Anything like this can only be regarded as another indicator to aid narrowing down the options, since it is so general. I would say that, unless the label or acid-etched mark contains conclusive information about the manufacturer one should be wary. As yet there have been no cases that have come to my attention where labels have been used to upgrade unmarked items - but I am sure that it will only be a short time a coming :cry: - then we'll even have to be careful of labels, and being able to use characteristics and features of the glass will become even more important.
As you can see, it really is a matter of building up knowledge and recognising features that suggest a piece is by one factory or another. When I was working toward the Cut Glass exhibition that Jeanette Hayhurst and I collaborated on, I noticed that a combination of factors suggested one factory or another, such that it was/is possible to identify some pieces from several paces away, before picking them up. Unfortunately to impart this information would require a whole chapter of a book. Hopefully, what I have suggested will help to put people on the right course.