Everything About Paperweights


Paperweights have been around since the 1800’s. They were first introduced by the French, and then later used in the United States and the United Kingdom. A paperweight is a small, heavy object that is used to place on top of papers to keep them from blowing. This was a great advantage to painters and scripters before paper clicks and board clips were introduced.
Decorative glass paperweights became widely appreciated and collected because of their creative designs. They became so popular that the finest designs were even exhibited at museums.
Paperweights are manufactured by sole artisans and in factories where many artists and technicians collaborate.

How rare the paperweight is, workmanship, design, quality of glass, and condition determine the value of the paperweight. Scratches, glass bubbles and striations depreciated the value of the paperweight as they were visible flaws of the item. Generally, larger weights and weights with more defined detail would be more expensive. Modern day collectors look for distinguishing factors such as artists’ marks, signatures, country of origin and dates. The more significant, the higher the value.
There are in fact different types of paperweights. They are as follows:
• Lampwork paperweights – these paperweights had objects such as animals, flowers, fruit and insects (butterflies specifically), shaped onto them using coloured glass melted into the paperweight. These were produced by studio artists and were highly realistic.

• Millefiori paperweights – This, directly translated means Italian-thousand flowers. It contains thin cylindrical canes that are cross-sectioned. These resembled flowers. These were produced in a factory setting.

• Sulfide paperweights – these paperweights had a medallion or portrait plaque in a cameo-like style made from ceramic that has been reproduced in very fine detail. They often commemorate a special event or person.

• Crown weight paperweights – The crown weight has twisted ribbons, one always a lace white, which radiate from the crown of the centre, down to the base. This paperweight is still one of the most popular till present days.

• California-style paperweights – These are made with painting the surface of the paperweight with molten coloured glass and manipulated with picks or similar shaping tools. This process is called torchwork.

• Victorian portrait paperweights – These are dome glass produced paperweights and contained the pictures of ordinary people produced on a milk glass disk and encased in the paperweight.

• Swirl paperweights – these have two or three colours of opaque rods, radiating in a pinwheel manner from the centre of the milleflori floret. A style similar to this is the marbrie.

Shades of Ngwenya specializes in paperweight manufacturing as well as trophy manufacturing. Visit our website to learn more.

The Importance of Recycling

Shades of ngwenya recycling

The Importance of Recycling

By simple definition, recycling is converting or reprocessing waste products or material into reusable material. The concept of recycling has been around for most of human history. In the year 1031, Japanese shops first sold re-pulped paper, and that was the first recorded instance of recycled paper. During the 1750 and 1850, bronze and other metal scraps were collected by the Europeans so they could melt it and use it perpetually.

When industrialization happened, it incited a demand for cheap materials so mass manufacturing could be possible.

It was later discovered that recycling has many more advantages than just being cost effective. They are as follows:

  • Recycling helps preserve the environment –

The amount of energy needed to melt recycled glass is significantly less than the amount of energy needed to melt raw materials and get the right consistency of mixed materials to make new bottles and jars. Recycling one bottle can save enough energy to power a television set for one and a half hours. This shows that material as well as energy is saved while recycling.


  • Recycling reduces greenhouse gas emissions

When our waste is disposed of and burnt in an incinerator, it releases CO2 (Carbon Dioxide) and N2O (Nitrous Oxide) emissions. These emissions are part of a group of greenhouse gases.  If there is less waste to burn in landfills, then there’ll be less greenhouse gases emitted.


  • Recycling reduces landfill spaces

If waste is disposed of properly, meaning if materials go directly for recycling instead of being incinerated, then landfills would take up less space.


  • Recycling cuts waste disposal costs

If waste is ordered, and more people know how to dispose of certain waste materials, then less money will be spent on disposal. This will then in essence help the country economically.


  • Recycling empowers the public to feel like they’re apart of saving the world from the global warming epidemic. If every individual can play an active part in conservation by simply supporting a recycling course, this will be the first step to becoming an environmentally active community. We’ll also start to learn the value of each material and savor it.

Many companies like Shades of Ngwenya use recycled material to recreate beautiful and innovative artworks. Contact them for recycled trophies or glassworks today!

How to Reuse Glass Bottles

How to Reuse Glass Bottles

Have you lost count of all the glass bottles in your home?

We all know the feeling, buying that one expensive bottle of wine or whiskey or maybe any special drink, eventually finishing it, and then not wanting to get rid of the bottle. Because it was just that expensive! And we all fall victim to collecting that one shape or colour bottle that we hate throwing away, because we could use it for something.

And then end up using it as a water bottle…


Here are some super amazing creative and innovative ideas for your compulsive bottle hoarding!

  1. Glass bottle chandelier… wait what? A Chandelier??? YES! A chandelier!

This one is only for people with a peculiar taste in home décor. It’s immensely interesting to see what you could come up with. Don’t be afraid to play around with different shades of paint, or colours of canned spray. However, make sure that you choose tones and patterns that match the rest of the desired room, so that your new chandelier complements the rest of the room.

  1. Vase Centrepiece

Whether it’s for your dining table, or for your kitchen counter, at some point you will need something personalized that makes your house, your home. There are many fun ideas you could play around with! Make sure that when choosing a design, that it complements you as the home owner, and your home.

  1. Candle Wind Chime

It’s a candle holder and a wind chime! Making these chimes does require a bit of DIY knowledge, so if you don’t regularly craft, then it would probably be insightful for you to do some research beforehand. They are beautiful for an outside porch, or for lighting up your garden.

Glass crafting companies like Shades of Ngwenya, reuse and recycle glass and make the most beautifully crafted glass ornaments. If you still have no idea on what you could do with your old glass bottles, and maybe need more inspiration, view Shades of Ngwenya’s showroom!