wikiHow to Differentiate Pressed from Cut Glass

Wondering how you can tell the difference between cut and pressed glass? Press your nose to the screen and keep reading for the answers.


  1. Image titled Differentiate Pressed from Cut Glass Step 1
    Check for seams. Glass from a mould often has seams, which show as lines in the finished product. The number of lines depends upon the shape of the finished article & construction of the mould. Depending upon the age of the mould (they wear with use) the pattern may be more or less sharp. In a faceted drop such as a 'crystal', the seam will run all the way around the edge like a ring for poured glass. Although there is nothing to stop pressed glass being cut subsequently the issue is usually: is this design cut or moulded?
  2. Image titled Differentiate Pressed from Cut Glass Step 2
    Inspect the interior. In poured or pressed glass, the interior of the glass might have have slight dimples that mirror the exterior.
  3. Image titled Differentiate Pressed from Cut Glass Step 3
    Examine the design. Hold the glass so that it reflects the light & look, particularly on facets, for fine striations from the tools used on cut glass. These are more obvious on older glass, where polishing was undertaken by hand. However, modern cut glass is chemically smoothed to remove all traces of cutting. This can leave as smooth a finish as good pressed glass. Also, on older cut glass there are often variations in the shape & spacing of the pattern. Not so in pressed glass, where the mould was an expensive item, usually made by craftsmen who perfected the design before it was used.
  4. Image titled Differentiate Pressed from Cut Glass Step 4
    If you have a pocket UV light, shine it on the glass. If the tint you see is bluish purple, then the glass is lead glass & more likely to be cut. If it is dull green, then it is soda glass, the cheaper type of glass, & more likely to be moulded. Whether a glass design is cut or pressed is not always easy to tell!


  • Don't think that your piece lacks value if it is pressed or poured! This technique has been around a long time and most Depression-era glass is actually pressed, not cut.
  • If your piece is pressed, and you want to determine value, consult Kovels ( Antique guide, or a reputable antique dealer in your area. You can also check eBay for an idea what an authentic piece might sell for.


  • Many depression-era styles are recreated today, so your piece will need a trained eye to be absolutely certain of authenticity.

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Categories: Glass and Stained Glass Projects