In Appreciation of Cobalt Blue Royal Lace

by Cheryl Kevish
Volume 21 No. 1 - July/August 1994

I've always bad trouble picking a favorite color, but my younger sister never had any doubts. From earliest childhood, her preference has been blue. Many people share her opinion, and after seeing a Royal Lace platter display of cobalt blue Royal Lace in a sunny window of an antique shop, it is easy for me to understand the reason why. This vivid hue, combined with the grace of the Royal Lace design, creates a gorgeous effect.

The Hazel Atlas Glass Company created the Royal Lace pattern in 1934, beginning with pink, green and crystal pieces. Cobalt blue was not added until 1936. (I recommend reading Mrs. Weatherman's story about why Hazel Atlas made that decision.) A few pieces of amethyst, another striking shade, were also made. The mold-etched design is extremely detailed, with a distinctive central motif of a star burst with four points decorated with flowers and leaves, Additional visual interest is created by elongated triangles whose points are stretched out to touch the rims of the pieces. Almost all the remaining surface area is covered by scrolls, flowers and leaves. The overall impression is busy, but the eye is drawn by the bold lines, In my opinion, the darker shades present the design more impressively. The traditional round shapes of the plates are enhanced with delicate scalloped edges. I regret that a footed tumbler was not designed to add an extra touch of elegance to a formal dinner table.

The price for a basic eight-piece place setting of Royal Lace has increased almost 195% over the last fifteen years. There have been no reissues or reproductions.

Cobalt Blue Royal Lace
PIECE 1979 PRICE 1994 PRICE
Berry Bowl, 5" 12.50 46.00
Cup 12.00 32.00
Saucer 4.00 12.50
Sherbet Plate, 6" 4.50 12.00
Luncheon Plate, 8½" 10.50 30.00
Dinner Plate, 9 7/8" 13.50 32.00
Sherbet, Ftd. 15.00 38.00
Tumbler, 5 3/8" 12 oz. 22.50 75.00
PLACE SETTING TOTAL 94.50 277.50

Because Royal Lace production continued until 1941, there is an abundance of accessory pieces available. Hazel Atlas was able to offer three different styles of candlesticks, five different styles of pitchers and a wide variety of serving pieces. My favorite item is the Toddy Set, a delightful grouping consisting of the Cookie Jar with a special metal lid, eight roly-poly cups, a metal tray and a ladle. An expensive oddity is the Nut Bowl, which is the straight-sided Candlestick with the candle holder removed from the center; this piece was not listed in 1979 by Mr. Florence, but now commands a one thousand dollar price. Overall, the selected accessory pieces have appreciated slightly over 200%.

Cobalt Blue Royal Lace
PIECE 1979 PRICE 1994 PRICE
Cookie Jar & Cover 117.50 350.00
Creamer, Ftd. 15.00 35.00
Sugar & Lid 44.00 150.00
Butter Dish & Cover 245.00 550.00
Candlesticks, Ruffled Edge Pr. 45.00 195.00
Bowl 10", 3 Legged, Ruffled Edge 35.00 425.00
Pitcher, 8½", 96 oz. w/Ice Lip 102.50 250.00
Salt & Pepper Shakers 117.50 250.00
Toddy Set 75.00 195.00
ACCESSORY PIECES TOTAL 796.50 2420.00

Hazel Atlas used metal accents on various pieces of Royal Lace and Moderntone, a pattern with concurrent production years (1934-1942). I find the effect to be very attractive and distinctive. In addition to the Toddy Set, the Royal Lace sherbet is available with a footed metal holder. The Moderntone pattern has metal lids for the Butter Dish, the Cheese Dish and the Sugar, as well as the Custard (to create a Mustard) Mr. Florence reports that another, unidentified company made the lids for Hazel Atlas. Some of these lids have plastic knobs in red, black and blue. Metal accents also appear in a few other DG patterns, such as American Sweetheart, Cameo, Doric, Horseshoe and Moondrops. It would be very interesting to research the production techniques, composition and use of metal in Depression Glass design.

The appeal of cobalt blue glassware continues. Recently I received a catalog from a mail-order company which features glassware of this beautiful color on the cover. Many pieces are available at reasonable prices, including a pair of salt and pepper shakers which the catalog calls "depression glass," although they are specifically described as reproduction and do not resemble any pattern that I recognize. In addition, a set of dinnerware is offered, reminiscent of the Moderntone pattern and consisting of dinner and dessert plates, small bowls and mugs.

My next article will feature Cameo, a pattern produced by the Hocking Glass Company.


Bibliography
Florence, Gene, Collector's Encyclopedia of Depression Glass, Fourth Edition, Paducah, KY, Collector Books, 1979
Florence, Gene, Collector's Encyclopedia of Depression Glass, Eleventh Edition, Paducah, KY, Collector Books, 1994
Weatherman, Hazel Marie, Colored Glassware of the Depression Era, Ozark, MO, Weatherman GLASSBOOKS, 1970.
Klamkin, Marian, The Collector's Guide to Depression Glass, New York, NY, Hawthorne Books Inc., 1973.