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Set of two opaline cups made in Belgium, in the 1970s

Set of two opaline cups made in Belgium, in the 1970s

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Set of two beautiful ice cream (or sherbet) cups made of glass and opaline and produced in Belgium, in the 1970s. Colored in bright vivid orange, this cups features the Atomic Age aesthetics. The cups are in very good vintage shape.

Atomic Age in design refers to the period roughly corresponding to 1940–1960 and extending in the 1970s, when concerns about nuclear war dominated Western society during the Cold War. The discovery and development of the Electron microscope had also a huge impact. Architecture, industrial design, commercial design (including advertising), interior design, and fine arts were all influenced by the themes of atomic science, as well as the Space Age, which coincided with that period. Atomic Age design became popular and instantly recognizable, with a use of atomic motifs and space age symbols. Retrofuturism is a current resurgence of interest in Atomic Age design.

Free-form organic shapes also appear as a recurring theme in Atomic Age design, reflecting x-ray technology that was becoming more widespread and familiar in pop culture. These botanic designs influenced later Atomic Age patterns that included repeating organic shapes similar to cells and organisms viewed through a microscope. Vital forms, or abstract organic forms, were identified as a core motif.

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Additional information

Design Period


Country of Origin


Very Good. This vintage item has no defects, but it may show slight traces of use





485 g each


14 cm diameter, H = 13 cm

Duties Notice

If your delivery address is not in the European Union, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, or Switzerland, please be advised that import duty is not included in the prices you see online

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About Mid-Century

The term “opaline” in current times refers to many forms of opaque and colored glass. In France the term is used to refer to multiple types of glass and not specifically antique colored crystal or semi-crystal. The idea that the term is strictly antique French crystal is incorrect. For instance when shopping in France you may see a piece of American slag glass for sale labeled in reference to the color of glass and not the age, origin or content of the glass.

Opaline glass is also a decorative style of glass made in France from 1800 to the 1890s, though it reached its peak of popularity during the reign of Napoleon III in the 1850s and 1860s. The glass is opaque or slightly translucent, and can appear either white or brightly colored in shades of green, blue, pink, black, lavender and yellow. The glass has a high lead content which defined it as “demi-crystal” or semi-crystal. The primary influences on this style of glass were 16th century Venetian milk glass, and English white glass produced in 18th century Bristol.

Many different pieces were produced in opaline glass, including vases, bowls, cups, coupes, decanters, perfume bottles, boxes, clocks and other implements. The popularity of  glass began during the reign of Napoleon. Cities involved in the production included Le Creusot, Baccarat, and Saint-Louis, Réunion, as well as various locations in England.

All  glass is hand-blown and has a rough or polished pontil on the bottom. There are no seams and no machine engraving. Many pieces of opaline glass are decorated with gilding. Some with handpainted flowers or birds. Several have bronze ormolu mounts, rims, hinges or holders. Real opaline glass was produced only in France. In the 20th century Italy produced a similar glass and called it opaline veritable.

Most all opaline glass is not branded or signed.

Portieux Vallerysthal made lots of robin’s egg blue glass they call . This was produced later and in much greater quantity and is not nearly as rare or valuable.

The two best references for French Opaline Glass are Les  by Christine Vincendeau and L’Opaline française au XIXe siècle by Yolande Amic. Both are in French.

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