Glossary of Paperweight Related Terms

Aventurine: Glass containing crystals or flakes of metals, such as gold or copper, which give it a sparkling appearance. 

Basal rim: A flat ring at the bottom of a paperweight upon which it rests. 

Base: The bottom of a paperweight.  Antique bases are normally concave shaped but may be flat as a result of restoration. 

Basket: A stave-like configuration of flattened tubes that encloses the side of the main decorative feature(s) in a paperweight. Also, a latticinio ground pulled down in the center, so as to appear to be a support for the major elements of the paperweight. 

Blown paperweight: A hollow weight containing a large space of entrapped air. 

Bouquet: An arrangement of two or more flowers with leaves and sometimes with millefiori canes. 

Cane: A fused bundle of glass rods displaying one or many individual designs, pulled out to a small diameter (typically 1/8 inch to 1/4 inch), and cut to reveal a cross-section which may be simple or complex, depending upon the type and number of specific elements. 

Carpet ground: A pattern of identical design canes often inset with contrasting canes, sometimes serving as a background for some other decorative feature. Also, any paperweight utilizing this design feature. 

Clear ground: A clear glass background against which the decorative element in a paperweight is set. Also, any paperweight of this construction. 

Closepack millefiori: A random pattern of closely spaced millefiori canes of varying design. Also, a paperweight of this design. 

Clover cut: A surface cutting of intersecting printies; a common faceting on New England Glass Company paperweights. 

Cog: A cane with a serrated edge. 

Color ground: A background of opaque or translucent colored glass upon which the main element(s) of a paperweight are set. Also, any paperweight containing such a background. 

Concentric: A design in which adjacent millefiori canes are arranged in concentric circles. These rings of canes may either (1) have spaces between them, in which case the design is called an open concentric, or (2) be adjacent to each other in a closed concentric design. A design which has separated canes set in a ring-like pattern is called a spaced concentric. A spoke concentric is an offshoot of the open design and typically has four or more rows of canes radiating out from a central cane in the form of spokes on a wheel. Also, any paperweight of these design motifs. 

Cookie base: The thick glass pad which serves as a base for the blown fruit paperweights made by the New England Glass Company. May be circular or square. 

Crimped cane: A cane with a ribbed or corrugated edge. 

Crown: The clear glass or dome above the motif in a paperweight. 

Crown weight: A paperweight comprised of colored or white twisted bands of glass, which radiate from a central cane near the top and flow in a gentle arc along the side to a convergence point at the base. 

Cullet: Bits and pieces of broken glass added as filler to a new batch. 

Cushion: Another term for ground. 

Cutting: A ground ornamental pattern on the surface of the paperweight. 

Facet: A plane surface formed by grinding the exterior of a paperweight. Part of a cutting. 

Faceting: The act of surface cutting a paperweight, done usually in an attempt to enhance the interior design. 

Filigree: A clear glass rod which contains straight or twisted opaque white or colored threads. 

Floret: A large cane resembling a single flower blossom. 

Flute: A deep, narrow groove whose ends taper to a point, typically cut vertically on the outside of a paperweight. 

Gaffer: A highly skilled glassworker in charge of a shop or a group of other, less-skilled workers. 

Garland: A pattern of canes which form separate or intertwining loops. 

Gather: The molten glass collected at the end of a pontil rod. 

Gauze: A ground in which filigree strands are laid parallel or in a random pattern. Also known as lace or muslin. 

Goldstone: Another term for aventurine. 

Ground: The cushion which serves as a base for the motif of the paperweight. The design may be placed above, on, or within the ground. 

Honeycomb: A cane with a cross section resembling a bee's honeycomb or a waffle. 

Intaglio: A method of decoration where the design is pressed into the glass base of the weight. 

Jasper Ground: A background consisting of a random pattern of very small particles of glass, usually in two colors. 

Lace: See gauze. 

Lampwork: A method in which a torch is used to manipulate or form glass into specific designs. 

Latticinio: White or colored threads or narrow tapes of glass arranged in a swirling, latticework, or spiral pattern. Used as a ground. 

Magnum: Any paperweight with a diameter equal to or exceeding 3 1/4 inches. 

Marbrie: An overlay or encased overlay paperweight featuring randomly trailing loops of colored glass. 

Metal: A term for glass, especially when molten. 

Millefiori: An Italian term meaning "thousand flowers."  Used to denote paperweights containing canes of various sizes and cross-sectional designs, and typically those of a closepack motif, which to the imaginative eye resembles a garden of a thousand flowers. Also, a cane comprised of many design elements to form a complex pattern. 

Miniature: Any paperweight with a diameter of 2 inches or less. 

Murrine: Venetian term for millefiori, silhouette, and portrait canes. 

Mushroom: A tuft of millefiori canes configured so as to resemble a mushroom. Any paperweight containing this internal design element. 

Muslin: See gauze. 

Nosegay: A flat floral bouquet which utilizes millefiori canes for blossoms.  Also known as a posy. 

Overlay: One or two thin layers of colored glass applied to the exterior of a paperweight that are later cut with windows and other decorative faceting to reveal the motif within. The term double overlay is applied to a piece exhibiting two coats of glass in different colors. 

Paneled: A motif comprising divided sections of either identical or multiple-design canes. 

Pontil mark: A rough mark on the bottom of the paperweight left when it was separated from the pontil rod. 

Pontil rod: A long, solid metal rod (usually iron) which is used to gather the hot glass from the furnace and support it during the paperweight manufacturing process. 

Printy: A surface window-like cutting, either circular or oval. 

Punty: An American term for printy.

Quatrefoil: A four-leaf pattern of cutting popular with the New England Glass Company. 

Ribbon: A flat, often twisted, band of colored glass. 

Rod: A cylindrical length of solid glass, sometimes containing a simple molded design. The basic design element used in the creation of a complex millefiori cane. 

Scrambled: A design motif incorporating randomly placed scrap or leftover pieces (often broken) of cane, ribbon, and filigree. Typically made by the glassworker at the end of his shift as a takehome gift. Also known as an end-of-day paperweight. In addition, any weight of this design. 

Set-up: The design motif of a paperweight. 

Silhouette: A representational cane with a human, animal, bird, insect, or flower as its design motif. 

Stave: See basket. 

Striae (or Striations): Streaks or imperfections in the glass, causing a wavy or sugary appearance. 

Sulphide: A three-dimensional relief in medallion form, typically of a well-known person, enclosed in a paperweight. Made from china clay and supersilicate of potash. 

Tube: A cylindrical clear glass cane with a colored glass exterior. 

Upright bouquet: A three-dimensional arrangement of lampwork and sometimes cane flowers, all placed on a bed of lampwork leaves. 

Whorl: A cane with a spiral cross section.

Window: A plane surface, typically round or oval, cut through an overlay to give a concave view of the motif within a paperweight.