Building a Milk Glass Collection

Identifying Antique Milk Glass | Guidelines & Tips

If your just wanting white glass for decor it doesn’t need to be real milk glass.  There is lots of lovely faux vintage glass out there with a pretty farmhouse style.  The issue for me is I didn’t want to pay for real milk glass, only to find out it was a reproduction that should be much cheaper.  Only one of these pieces is real milk glass, can you guess which one?

Vintage milk glass and modern white glass to illustrate the difference. milk glass, antique milk glass, milk glass collection, vintage milk glass, vintage glassware, 

It’s not easy to recognize authentic milk glass,  its one of those things you learn with practice and research.  I am still very much still learning how to recognize it, I don’t have a “trained eye” for it yet but that doesn’t stop me.  The platter in the back looks the most vintage,  but its new from Crate and Barrel.  The real milk glass is the compote bowl on the left.

A vintage Fenton hobnob milk glass bowl. milk glass, antique milk glass, milk glass collection, vintage milk glass, vintage glassware,

This compote dish was easy to identify as it hand a Fenton label and I found it at an antique store.  Not sure how old it is yet, but I read that Fenton did not label their glassware until after 1970.  Fenton is also known for the hobnail pattern, and the ruffled edging you see.

Purchasing Milk Glass

Milk glass is both beautiful and very collectible.   Because antique milk glass is so collectible you have to be careful when purchasing it.  Many vendors call white glass milk glass, I have even seen pyrex bowls and mugs tagged as milk glass in an antique store, so its best to know at least a little bit before you start garage saling.

A small milk glass vase. milk glass, antique milk glass, milk glass collection, vintage milk glass, vintage glassware,

If I am purchasing a vase at a garage sale for $5.00 that I like and will use, I don’t care if its real milk glass or not. I think the vase is real vintage milk glass, but I don’t know that it is.  Not all milk glass has labels to help identify it. But for $5 thinking its real works for me, its lovely as it is and for $5 its worth it.

A ruffled glass edge on typical vintage milk glass. milk glass, antique milk glass, milk glass collection, vintage milk glass, vintage glassware,

But if I am buying a tiny dish for $20 at an antique fair, I don’t buy it if I am unsure of its authenticity.   This little dish is a Fenton.

Ruffled edge on a vintage milk glass bowl. milk glass, antique milk glass, milk glass collection, vintage milk glass, vintage glassware, 

When shopping for milk glass,  look for pieces that “you” think may be milk glass.  Don’t make purchase choices from most dealers labels.  If I like a piece of glass, I see what I can find out about it researching on my iPhone, right then before I purchase it.

The last time I went antiquing, I was unhappily shocked to see pyrex coffee cups from the 1970s labeled as milk glass.  I am old and remembered them from childhood.  Besides that Pyrex glassware is not milk glass.  Pyrex is much more basic, less showy, and much less ornate than milk glass.  Milk glass does not go “from freezer to oven” like Pyrex advertises.  Milk glass is not heat resistant, it’s for display or serving, you don’t ever put milk glass in the oven.

How to Recognize Milk Glass

The best way to buy milk glass is from an authorized dealer you know and trust.  Milk glass is usually very decorative and detailed.  I was surprised to learn that not all milk glass is white.   Look for Fenton, Imperial, Fostoria and Westmoreland markings.

All about collecting milk glass and learning between real milk glass and faux milk glass.

Is all Milk Glass Old?

Companies made milk glass from the late 1800s until the 1980s. Even pieces from the 80s are getting to be collectible, but I personally buy what I like and will use.

Is Milk Glass Safe to Use?

Only after purchasing a couple of pieces of milk glass did I ask myself “Is vintage milk glass safe to use?” Yes it is. My milk glass is mostly used for decorating, but that large fruit bowl needs to be food safe. Good news it is food safe.

What is Milk Glass Worth?

Milk glass prices vary alot depending on age, size, quality, and vendor. I have never come across a piece of milk glass more than $100 and I would never pay that much for it even in Canada. Once you yourself have determined it is real milk glass, decide what your willing to pay for the piece in front of you. The big fenton bowl in the picture above was $75 and I got ripped off, I knew it when I bought it, but I wanted it and I know I overpay in gift shops as well. That said the pyrex cup full of stains that was $15 stayed where is was. Little milk glass vases are the hardest to for me to recognize, you see them All The Time, and the florist variety is worth 25 cents. Knowing what I know I’d never pay more than $5 for one.

Want to Learn More?

The internet has all kinds of information on milk glass.  After some research, I found the following informative references that I use.

Glass Bottle Mark | Collectible Milk Glass

20th Century Glass | Milk Glass Identification Guide

Here are some links to books if your interested in learning more (These are not affiliate links.

The Milk Glass Book by Frank Chiarenza

Milk Glass – Imperial Glass Corporation by Myrna and Bob Garrison

The Big Book of Fenton Milk Glass, by John Walk

Vintage glassware (depression glass, Jadeite, Fireking) always makes me reminisce about the women I loved, respected and learned from.  Do you have any type of vintage glassware that your fond of?  Let me know in the comments if you do.

How to tell if milk glass is real.

Posts with the Milk Glass in Arrangements

A white DIY wood table riser with white bead edging, holding milk glass, a small flower plant and booklet with a horse cover. Surrounded by a snowball garland and white barn sign backdrop.

Farmhouse Table Riser

My little milk glass dish sits nicely on this DIY farmhouse table riser. It stands out in the light and is so pretty.

A valentine decor arrangement with a DIY farmhouse wood bead garland with tassels and extra bling.

Farmhouse Beads with Bling

Here a pretty milk glass pedestal bowl holds a set of natural farmhouse beads. The bowl makes it look much more formal than say a dough bowl would.

I hoped I help build your confidence in purchasing milk glass, and at least gave you enough simple information to protect your from greedy vendors, or to recognize a steal of a deal at a thrift store. Happy hunting.


  1. Sasha Anderson says:

    This just came up for me, as I researched milk glass. This last week, I was volunteering in my local thrift store(as every Friday- masked and sanitized)-
    And I discovered milk glass. A box of beautiful opaque, ornate glass pieces came into the store, and I fell for them, and bought them. They were dishes with animal covers- as it turns out marked Imperial and Westmoreland pieces. My daughter and I love old things, so we were and are thrilled. After the fact Researching also helped me learn quite a bit. And now your lovely blog, thank you!!

  2. Oh, I love milk glass! It’s so classic and timeless. It goes with just about everything; it’s the little black dress of glassware. I would love to collect if I had the space. Instead I buy and sell to collectors. I still get the thrill of owning it for a little while, haha!

  3. I love your milk glass pieces, Leanna. It can be hard to spot authentic pieces since many of the manufactures chose not to include labels of any kind. I have a number of those in my collection. A couple of weeks ago, a close friend of mine was clearing out his mother’s house to sell. He sent a photo of a milk glass compote to me and asked it I wanted it. Yes! I’ve researched it and found that it’s Indiana Glass. He says he knows it had been in his mother’s house since the 50s. I agree with you that serving any food in a pretty milk glass dish just makes it special.

  4. How interesting. I thought all white glass went under the generic term milk glass, so I’ve learnt something. Thank you.

    1. LeannaForsythe says:

      Thank you Julie. Milk glass is becoming collectible so the prices are going up and like I explained vendors are using the term milk glass for all sorts of stuff that just doesn’t have the monetary value. I am glad you liked it.

  5. You have some beautiful pieces.. I’m totally clueless when it comes to what’s real or not. Thanks for the info!

    1. LeannaForsythe says:

      Thank you Stephanie. I don’t think most of us know exactly, like everything else you learn by doing.

  6. This is such a great post Leanna. I am still learning about milk glass too. Thanks for the great tips. I love the compote dish you bought!

    1. LeannaForsythe says:

      Thank you Michelle, it was way in the back of the display and I had to move a bunch of other stuff to get to it. Worth the persistence.

  7. My daughter loves and collects milk glass. I’m not sure if she has the authentic stuff or just look alikes.

    1. LeannaForsythe says:

      I don’t believe that it really matters if its real or not. As long as she loves it and did pay milk glass prices for glass. Milk glass is so easy and pretty to use.

  8. Great post and tips!! Will be making sure I put into practice what you have said when looking for Milk Glass! I have total milk glass envy!! So hard to find here in Australia!

    1. LeannaForsythe says:

      Thank you Sam. I was a little bit offended when seeing stuff from the 70s that I remember being sold as antiques lol. I recently saw the miniature ironing board I played on while I was 4 in an antique store but at least that is the 1960s, so I felt better about it.

  9. Great post filled with so much information and I love the pieces you have in your collection.

    1. LeannaForsythe says:

      Thank you Denise. I really enjoy milk glass, my collection is small but I really love it. Especially the large compote bowl.

    1. LeannaForsythe says:

      Hi Debra. I have so many things to spend my spare coin on I don’t get to collect as much vintage glass as I would like. The stuff is gorgeous and I feel sentimental about it, its always exciting when you find a gorgeous piece at a good price. I know for you its the same thing with furniture.

    1. LeannaForsythe says:

      This blog hop is so pretty. Anything you want to serve looks much more appealing on pretty dishware, and your heirlooms are gorgeous. Lucky you!!!!

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