The Color Purple or Amethyst in Antique Glass


T H E   C O L O R   P U R P L E


Purple, Amethyst, Plum, Violet, Lilac, Grape, Bishop’s Purple, Aubergine, Eggplant, Royal Purple


The Color Purple or Amethyst in Antique Glass

18 February 2013

Apple-Touch-IconANot too long ago I did a post on the color Puce. Probably the most misunderstood color in bottle collecting. Not far behind is the color Purple. Rarely are antique bottles and glass in purple, but when you do see a nice rich piece, it is breathtaking.

Read More: What is Puce or ‘Pooce’ as some call it?


Wikipedia defines Purple as a range of hues of color occurring between red and blue. The Oxford English Dictionary describes purple as a deep, rich shade between crimson and violet. In the ancient world, purple was the color worn by Roman Emperors and magistrates, and later by Roman Catholic bishops. Since that time, purple has been commonly associated with royalty, piety, magic and mystery.

Purple is the color of good judgment. It is the color of people seeking spiritual fulfillment. It is said that if you surround yourself with purple you will have peace of mind. Purple is a good color to use in meditation. Being the combination of red and blue, the warmest and coolest colors, purple is believed to be the ideal color. Most children love the color purple. Purple is the color most favored by artists. Thursday’s color is purple.

Purple was the color worn by Roman Emperors and magistrates, and later by Roman Catholic Bishops


imagesPurple or as you will hear often, ‘Amethyst’ glass, was given its color by adding manganese oxide to a molten glass mixture of sand, potash and lime.

Purple or Amethyst glass should not be confused with clear antique glass that has changed color due to sun exposure (see picture to left). This type of glass color has actually been enhanced by sitting in the sun and has a different hue, almost violet in nature, when compared to the rich plum color of glass made with manganese oxide.

Just a FEW altered insulators pictured

Just a FEW altered insulators pictured – Dwayne Anthony

It’s also wise to note that “sun colored amethyst” glass has been artificially produced by some unscrupulous sellers who expose antique clear glass pieces to ultraviolet light in order to change the color. You see this often on ebay with Coke bottles and insulators.

Read More: Color-Altered Glass – Presented by Dwayne Anthony @ FOHBC 2012 Reno Expo


A true Purple Drakes – Danny Catherino

With Bitters bottles, you almost never see the color purple. The very closest you will come might be this Drakes Plantation Bitters pictured above when held up to a light.

P U R P L E   G L A S S   G A L L E R Y

Eagle Masonic - Sandor Fuss

Purple Masonic Flask – Fuss Collection


R. & G.A. WRIGHT / PHILADA. from the 2011 Norman C. Heckler – ex Thomas McCandless Collection Auctions 95 & 96 – Jane & Charles Aprill Collection

Umbrella Inkwell in a deep amethyst -

Umbrella inkwell in a deep amethyst –

20 Vertical Ribs

20 Vertical Rib Patterned Flask in purple

HAYWARD'S / HAND FIRE / GRENADE - PATENTED / AUG / 8 / 1871 - S.F. HAYWARD / 407 / BROADWAY - NEW YORK - photo Great Antique

HAYWARD’S / HAND FIRE / GRENADE – PATENTED / AUG / 8 / 1871 – S.F. HAYWARD / 407 / BROADWAY – NEW YORK in purple – photo


“DODGE BROTHERS – MELANINE – HAIR TONIC”, bright purple amethyst, tombstone-shaped rectangle, early smooth base, 7 1/2″H, applied double collar, mint. American, 1865-1875, rare. This pristine hair bottle is not only sparkling attic perfect but also quite crude and best of all, the color is even better than normal. – Jeff and Holly Noordsy


Purple cone ink reading Brilliant Red Ink Prepared By Thaddeus Davids & Co., New York

Photo courtesy

Purple Decanter – photo courtesy

Unlike hanging friendship balls or witch balls that have a loop, gazing balls have a stem so they can securely sit in a stand. Larger sizes can be made, but may be difficult due to the weight of the blown glass.

Puplish Witch Ball


Dark Amethyst Barber Bottle with Cherubs – Wilbur Collection


Purple BTC 102 MONTREAL – Meyer Collection


Purple Hair Bottle


Amethyst Apothecary Jars


Purple Glass Fishing Float


Purple Johnston target ball selling for $12,880 – American Bottle Auctions

National Bitters

The legendary coffin shaped NATIONAL BITTERS in amethyst – Fuss Collection

About Ferdinand Meyer V

Ferdinand Meyer V is a native of Baltimore, Maryland and has a BFA in Fine Art and Graphic Design from the Kansas City Art Institute and School of Design. Ferdinand is the founding Principal of FMG Design, a nationally recognized design consultation firm. Ferdinand is a passionate collector of American historical glass specializing in bitters bottles, color runs and related classic figural bottles. He is married to Elizabeth Jane Meyer and lives in Houston, Texas with their daughter and three wonderful grandchildren. The Meyers are also very involved in Quarter Horses, antiques and early United States postage stamps. Ferdinand is the past 6-year President of the Federation of Historical Bottle Collectors and is one of the founding members of the FOHBC Virtual Museum.
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