The 15 Best Glass Vases for Any Occasion
A glass vase is more than just a pretty container. While not on the official list, glass could be regarded as one of the world's seven natural wonders despite being created by man. In the first century A.D., ancient Syrian artisans developed the glassblowing technique by shaping molten silica dioxide—or, quartz (which exists in sand)— into decorative and useful everyday items. These creations helped evolve our way of life. Equally fascinating was the advent of vases in ancient Greek and Roman cultures, generally ceramics. They depicted events of the day or family histories. A vase, whether glass or ceramic carried life used to port drinking water and wine, also the essence of life as it was poured in water to improve the quality and taste of stagnant H2O.
Today, glass vases have been relegated to pretty, household objects that hold and display floral arrangements. Or not. Many glass vases are exquisite, colorful, and detailed enough on their own to stand as objets d'art. At Nest Casa, these pieces top the list for must-haves for decorating one's space. Below is a breakdown of the most distinctive styles to invest in today.
EDITORS' PICKS: THE BEST 15 GLASS VASES
As one of Italy's oldest and premier glass manufacturers, Nason Morretti is renowned for its rich use of colors. Founded in Venice in 1923 by the Nason brothers—Antonio, Giuseppe, Vincenzo, and Umberto—this family of glassmakers helped define contemporary Venetian glass. Today, the third generation of the Moretti family runs the distinguished company of handmade, signed, and numbered glassware, frequently collaborating with the design industry's brightest stars.
This intense aquamarine vase is part of the Antares collection, which borrows its name from one of the largest and brightest stars in the Scorpius constellation—a nod to its chromatic depth and brilliance. The further beauty of this collection is the variety of shapes (there are six in total) And an abundance of color choices. Thirteen shades are available, coming in solids or with contrasting interior and exterior colors, making this collection one of the most remarkable colored glass products today.
Carlo Moretti (not to be confused with Nason Moretti) is another top Murano glassmaker from Italy's glassmaking capital. Established in 1958 by brothers Carlo and Giovanni Moretti, the duo transformed the centuries-old, mouth-blown, glass-making technique into a modern signature style. The company is known for incorporating color in hand-brushed streaks, leaving pieces with both opaque and clear sections. The limited-edition Troncosfera 4S vase is one of just 111 pieces of its kind (that said, each one is truly unique given its handmade nature). It is beguiling as blue and white brushstrokes encircle this unique shape, which features a bulbous base with a cone-shaped body. The thick stripes play nicely against the greenery of flower stems when holding a bouquet.
To understand the beauty and provenance of Saint-Louis crystal is to understand the grandeur of the material, itself. The standard-bearer of crystal in France since its inception in 1586, the house was granted a Royal Glassworks warrant in 1767 by King Louis XV, which made them the official royal glassmaker. Today, the Hermès-owned Saint-Louis crystal is rivaled by none. The furnaces still burn in Saint-Louis-lès-Bitche as they did centuries ago, creating the most innovative and sought-after crystal around the globe. This slightly aquamarine En-Cage vase holds a votive candle on a swing that flickers, offering a dance within the curved edges and sharply cut lines of this piece. It is possible to remove the candle holder and use it as a floral vase, but we suggest letting this unique piece shine in its own light.
Baccarat is, perhaps, the only other French glassmaker that can hold a candle to Saint-Louis Crystal Established in 1764, Baccarat claims the highest number of award-winning craftsmen, each achieving 15 years of training before mastering the luxury house’s inventive crystal-sculpting techniques. This tiered, large Eye vase, which boasts both horizontal and vertical detail, is as captivating empty as it is when full.
Like France, the Czech Republic is also known for its intricate and beautiful crystal glass production. Czech glass making dates back to the 13th century, originating in the Lusatian Mountains, where it was used in monastery windows. Materials such as potash and chalk made their glass stronger than that of the Italians. It was notably free of lead, which generally distinguishes crystal from glass. To make fine cuts into the Bohemian crystal glass, a wheel technique developed by Caspar Lehmann was used, peaking during the Baroque period. Soon Bohemian glass factories were established across the globe.
Today, Czech artisans can proudly claim some of the world’s most modern cuts and styles. This smoke-colored, asymmetrical glass vase from Artel is stout and hefty while recalling the serene, pristine nature of a glacier.
Copenhagen-based designer Helle Mardahl has earned a cult following for her wildly creative and organically shaped glassware. The Central Saint Martins graduate, whose work encompasses several mediums (such as sculpture, painting, and fashion) creates billowy, cushion-shaped glass with a playful sense of irreverence. Her most iconic piece, the Bon Bon vase, features a lid and a dramatic expression of color. We believe that you’ll find Mardahl's work so irresistible that this piece will be the start of a collection displaying a range of shapes and entrancing colors.
Nason Moretti’s Samarcanda vase takes its name from the historic town of Samarkand in ancient Uzbekistan—where cultures met and co-mingled at this crucial stop along the Silk Road. In deep turquoise, transparent Murano glass, this round vase is an example of the Balloton method, which results in a diamond-shaped, relief pattern. The Balloton method involved the glass being blown into bronze molds with small points that create the pattern. This technique requires extreme skill and care as the precise motif is easily derailed.
While flowers tend to gather in a bunch, there are times when a solitary bloom is just as impactful. A glass vase to display just one bud is in order for any vase collection. The London-based LSA International is highly regarded for modern bar, table, and decorative glass. The studio leans toward the ornate, but the beauty of this striking vase is its luscious shade of violet. The color, alone, allows this vase to look good sans fleur.
Everyone loves a beautiful table bursting with blooms—but craning over a towering arrangement is not conducive to polite conversation. Behold the floral centerpiece, which sits lower to the table to solve such conundrums. Belgian design house Henry Dean has been handcrafting unique glass since 1972. The company uses a primitive technique of a wooden mold that burns off each time it is used. This changes the mold ever so slightly allowing for pieces to have a one-of-a-kind air about them such as the London Cylinder vase.
As the name suggests, milk glass is an opaque or translucent glass that was first made in Venice in the 16th century. It comes in an assortment of rainbow-colored hues and neutrals such as brown and black. Helle Mardahl's candy vase looks good enough to eat with its wavy edges that resemble taffy.
Henry Dean's wooden-mold vases are also handmade and mouth-blown. What truly makes the Primitive Free vase unique are the blue, green, and yellow brushstrokes that are splashed across the white base, allowing the hues to stand out against the stark backdrop.
Dutch designer Kiki Van Eijkwas plucked to create this unique Matrice or Matrix collection for
Saint-Louis Crystal. The exquisite pieces—which include everything from doorknobs to lighting fixtures and, of course, crystal glass vases—were culled from Saint-Louis' Crystal design past. Van Eijk, who studied at the prestigious Eindhoven Academy, explored the mold archives of the French house to rediscover this classical, faceted pattern, which has been updated for today's tastes by adding atypical and singular shapes to the mold. Van Eijk has also adorned her designs with hand cuts into the crystal.
During the 1950s, a very popular style of Murano glass featured the Incamiciato method. This glass consists of two superimposed layers of lattimo (or, milk) glass and colored transparent glass. Often, a gold or silver leaf is added to create the opaque effect.
Almost no one did it better than the Fratelli Toso glassmakers established in 1854. This is evident in the sought-after nature of these pieces from high-end vintage dealers and websites such as 1stDibs and Chairish, where this voluminous vase is found. During the Fifties, Arnoldo Toso was running the design and production and was, therefore, responsible for many of the most covetable pieces—including, this cornflower blue Incamiciato glass vase.