Tri-Cities Voice Newspaper - What's Happening - Fremont, Union City, Newark California

May 11, 2004 > A Niles Treasure

A Niles Treasure

by Diane La Mountaine

Antique Treasures offers a wide variety of quality design accents including an extensive collection of Heritage Lace, Franz Porcelain and Fenton Glass. A review of these major lines follows, but to fully appreciate the large selection and excellent quality of merchandise, visit owners Al and Susan Cunha who will be happy to help you discover the world of Antique Treasures!

Heritage Lace

Have you recently looked at all of the beautiful lace products available today?
For centuries, this fine art intrigued nobles, enchanted young maidens, and adorned brides. From the 1500's until the late 1800's, lace was considered more precious than gold or gems. In fact, it was required for Court Wear and aristocrats were governed by "Sumptuary Laws" that regulated who could wear it, how much could be worn and the placement on a garment. Now the beauty and tradition, romance and refinement of lace is available to everyone in lovely patterns and styles.

Antique Treasures carries the largest inventory of Heritage Lace in the area. Decorate your entire home with elegant window treatments, tablecloths, placemats, table runners, doilies, mantel scarves and table toppers. Lace is truly a year around accessory!
Among the great selection of lace curtains and finery you will find popular patterns to choose from such as Lighthouse Heritage Lace curtains, Pinecone, Homespun, Birdhouse, and Rooster.

Franz Porcelain

Franz Porcelain is created by using the finest Chinese clay and glazes and with a little touch of magic from the Chinese Spirit of Fire and Earth.

The beautiful colors of Franz Porcelain are achieved by an underglaze decorating
techniques. The sculptured accents of delicate butterflies, fragile flowers and other motifs superbly illustrate Franz Porcelain creator's intricate skills.

Franz Porcelain is notable for its successful combination of traditional Chinese character with styling inspired by classic Art Nouveau designs. Franz Porcelain's continued investment in production techniques and highly skilled artisans will ensure that these unique designs can be re-created in fine detail to meet the market demand for home decor.

Franz Porcelain is therefore not only a new and exciting way of producing fine home decor, but is part of living history. Chinese pottery has always been an important part of Oriental culture - and with Franz Porcelain it is evident that this story will continue to develop in the 21st century.

"This company has very unique designs," says Al. Franz fine porcelain is flawless and the unique shapes are integrated into vases, teapots, creamers and saucers. Raised hummingbirds, leaves and a wide variety of natural plants and creatures form spouts, handles and decorative accents on non-traditional contours. As an example, Al describes a saucer that appears as a curled leaf with a ladybug sitting on top. The accompanying cup has a leaf-shaped handle with a ladybug on top as well. According to Al, some of the figures created by Franz, such as a frog sitting on a shelf in Antique Treasures are so lifelike, that "you would think you have a real frog sitting there!"

He says, "There is nothing else like this out on the market today. Franz will be sought after by collectors twenty or thirty years from now because they are done so well and such unique items that they will fit into the antique and collector world very well." Al cautions collectors that although Franz does not limit their production, they do alter color combinations of existing pieces and have "retired" items with no notice.

Fenton Glass - Hand Crafted American Glass Artistry

Antique Treasure is also proud to represent Fenton Glass. Owners, Al and Susan carry a great selection of art glass and lamps. The story of Fenton Glass is as fascinating as the beautiful pieces found at Antique Treasures.

Located in Williamstown, West Virginia, Fenton Art Glass (founded in 1905) is among the world's foremost producers of handmade art glass. Fenton Glass has become renowned for innovative colors and decorative treatments on pressed and blown glassware. The glass is produced the old-fashioned way using many techniques and tools that are essentially unchanged from those of a century ago."

During the 1930's and 1940's, Fenton produced practical items, such as mixing bowls and tableware to get through the depression and WWII shortages. They continued working on developing a wide array of new colors. In the late 1940's, the top three members of the Fenton management team died, leaving Frank M. Fenton, age 33, and Wilmer C. (Bill) Fenton, age 25, to step in and take over as President and Vice President. In spite of other glass factories closing at a rapid rate, Frank and Bill led the Fenton factory through significant American growth for the next 30 years.

In 1986, the leadership of the company passed on to the third generation, with George W. Fenton, Frank M's son, taking over as President. Today nine Fenton family members work together along with over 400 employees to create handmade glass artistry that is loved by collectors around the world. Fenton is known for its beautiful colors and patterns. Each piece of glass is an artistic creation by skilled glassworkers and decorators.

Al says that Fenton "retires" pieces two to three times a year, occasional reviving an older piece, but usually creating new pieces that are highly collectible. He adds that Fenton owns many "Iridescent," commonly called "carnival glass" molds and is recreating these pieces to this day. Many collectors are interested in Fenton glass since the company has preserved molds from the late1800's and early 1900's.

Fenton Burmese glass "fairy lamps," designed in the Victorian period between 1840's and 1905 are popular items too. A simple definition of fairy lamps is a lamp that uses a candle, not oil, (with a few exceptions) for illumination. Candle-burning fairy lamps were soon widely accepted because they proved to be safer and did not demand the continuous vigil required with oil-burning lamps. When illuminated, the lamps satiny blush and brilliant colors captivate collectors, dealers and laymen alike. It is generally agreed that the Clarke family of London, England introduced the "improved" candle light to the world. Fairy lamps were commonly referred to as night lights and also vigil lights. Although none of these lamps was offered as a "votive light," many people used them on home alters before holy pictures.

Each year, Fenton family members release signed pieces and limited editions. Al says that Antique Treasures is able to stock these items and since October, has been designated as a "showcase store." The store has hosted two "Rep Events" when a company representative comes to Antique Treasures with signed pieces that are only available at this event. At the end of the event, a drawing rewards a lucky attendee with a signed piece. Additional Fenton Glass events are in the works and since this is advertised through a mailing list, Al urges anyone interested to come by the store and make sure they are on the list.

Christmas in May? No, not yet but Antique Treasures has new and interesting items for special occasions all year long. However, before you know it the winter holiday season will be back. Al comments that Antique Treasures will be ready with their Christmas Grand Opening on October 16th!

Antique Treasures
37725 Niles Boulevard, Fremont
(Historic Niles District)
(510) 742-0664

Open 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.
(closed Tuesdays)

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