Sunday, September 16, 2012

Crowning Achievement

Yesterday was so much fun as daughter and I spent the day thrift / antique shopping. Yes, she has inherited the bug from me... :)

On the drive to the first thrift store, we were chatting about what we were on the hunt for (her: a few small tables and old frames, me: some goodies for my studio, natch). I don't really know why, but I specifically mentioned that if she saw any Crown mason jars, to snag them for me. I have been searching for any in the local shops without success - it seems mason jars are getting harder and harder to find as many people are using them in decorating and they're all the rage for wedding table decor. If I didn't find any soon, I was going to eBay as a last resort. But they weren't cheap there: averaging around $ 15 (plus shipping) each.

Here are some facts I've learned about Crown jars from various searches online:

Crown Jars were only manufactured in Canada -- from the late 1800's to the mid 1960's. Early jars are not dated on the bottom and have bubbles in the glass. Prior to World War I, manganese dioxide was used to clarify glass (to turn it from blue or green to clear). However, this chemical turns the glass a purple hue in the sunlight. In 1914 when the War broke out, manganese dioxide was cut off from suppliers in Russia to Canada by German blockades. This forced them to use selenium instead to clarify glass which does not turn purple in sunlight. So purple jars are pre-1914. Purple, green, blue and amber glass colours are the most valuable. Old jars were also hand-blown and had the tops broken off and ground smooth. A ground lip is flat and rough to the touch. Newer Crown jars have smooth, rounded (machined) lips. The design of jar varies as well over the years; the shape of the crown and style of "pearls", as well as the placement of the text: "Crown", "Made In Canada" and the inclusion or exclusion of "Imperial Qt" could be above or below the crown image. And of course there are a variety of sizes.

Yep, I could see this might be a dangerous / addictive item to start collecting. But I just wanted at least ONE Crown jar for my Victorian Studio... perfect to store some buttons or other embellishments in royal style!

So back to our shopping spree yesterday... we hit a few thrift stores, a garage sale, the mall, had a yummy lunch and decided to visit a local antique store before heading home. With EVERYTHING in the shop at 50% off, we were sure to find something!

And to my joy.... I discovered not one, not two... but SEVEN Crown jars; all different and all

$ 2 EACH!

Well holy crap.

They all have the official glass Crown glass lids, with one jar needing a replacement zinc ring:

Here are better photos of each of my new babies treasures:

Pre-1918 Green Crown Jar - 8" tall "Imperial Quart"
Pre-1914 Purple Crown Jar - 8" tall "Imperial Quart"
1952 Crown Jar - 7" tall
1954 Crown Jar - 7" tall
1943 Crown Jar - 7" tall
1951 Crown Jar - 7" tall An incorrect (non-zinc) lid I will replace
1952 Crown Jar - 9" tall

The purple jar is hard to see using flash photography... but in the sunlight it is definitely purple! Yahoo! I love the old green one too. Aw, heck.


And most of all, I love the time I get to spend with my daughter, sharing the thrill of "The Hunt" together!

I will be posting about all the other goodies (there are quite a few!) we each brought home in the next few days!

Sharing with:

Boogieboard Cottage


  1. Ohhh I have a store that sells one for 3$ and theyre ALL green and blue!!! Im super happy because here usually they can cost about $15 - 25!
    Looks like where you live its a heaven! Thank you for the info, Im SO checking out all mine to see AND Im going to run over and get more! :D
    Nice to hear you two gals had a good time!


  2. More great finds and thank you for the mason jar lesson. The brand down here most used is Ball.

    When I took the Seattle underground tour the tourguide told us how the manganese in the glass 'skylights' embedded in the pavement above turned the glass the rich purple you see now. Most people just walk over them on the sidewalks above and not even realize just how old they are and why they are purple.

  3. Wow, what a score! Sometimes it can be so hard to find exactly what you're looking for, but you did it! Love those jars. I found a few at a thrift store in Ontario, Canada a few years ago...unfortunately only one survived the trip back home:-(

  4. I'm in shock that you found those jars so cheap! (and so many of them!) I LOVE them! I've only seen a couple, (and they weren't a bargain) then resold them on Etsy. Very fun find!


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