Ultraviolet Light and Black Light: a beginner's guide

1) Introduction

2) What is ultraviolet light?

3) The different kinds of UV light

4) Your tool for this guide: a black light

5) Where does ultraviolet light come from? How was it discovered? Why can't we see it?

6) How are black lights made?

7) Practical and interesting uses for your black light

8) Examining art and collectibles: Introduction

9) Identifying modern fakes of antique paper memorabilia

10) Identifying counterfeit US currency

11) Identifying alterations to art, collectibles

12) Examining cloth

13) Examining art glass

14) Making glow in the dark art and crafts

15) Protecting yourself from the Sun's UV

16) UV light in science and industry

17) Miscelanious facts and notes

Art Glass

Black light is a useful tool in judging the identity and age art glass vases, figurines and more. Different types and ages of glass can fluoresce different colors, and the color of fluorescence can be helpful in identification. As there are variations and exceptions, the fluorescent colors should be used only as a general guide. The expert collector and dealer also look at the color, physical nature, style, visible stamps, provenance, etc.

The following are a few examples of glass and fluoresce:



Lalique art glass
The Frenchman Rene Lalique produced some of the finest glassware. Lalique art glass from before 1945 typically fluoresces yellow and sometimes peach, but different colors after.


Many 1800s marbles fluoresce, some bright green and yellow. Many believe post WWII marbles to do fluoresce


Vaseline glass
Vaseline glass is a popular form of yellow-green glass. Under black light genuine vintage and modern. Vaseline glass fluoresces a bright green. Glass that resembles but is not Vaseline fluoresces differently, including peach, orange or less bright lime green.

Modern reproductions of Burmese Art Glass
Old Burmese art glass tends to fluoresces a bright yellow, while modern reproductions usually do not.


Dating American colorless pressed glass
American colorless pressed glass made from before 1925-30 fluoresces brightly. Modern reproductions do not.

Making glow in the dark art and crafts

(c) david rudd cycleback, all rights reserved