Never Buy a Tiffany Lamp


I confess. I have a weakness for online auctions. I used to become caught up in auction fever and stay up all night in order to bid at the final moment. I am happy to report that I no longer lose sleep or bid on items I don’t actually need to buy. However, did you know that not everything on an auction is an auction item? Some things have a set price, especially better things that have to bring a fixed price in order for the seller to make a profit.

What this all is leading up to is my latest addiction. Last week I decided I really needed a Tiffany Lamp. Now in case you don’t know what I’m talking about, these are lamps made of hundreds of small bits of stained glass, soldered together with lead. The glass of the lamp shade is hand-crafted into gorgeous patterns of flowers, dragon flies, or other patterns, similar to a stained glass window.

They are called Tiffany lamps because they were created by a fellow named Louis Tiffany in 1895. These lamps usually have a heavy metal base to prevent tipping and the glass shades are bowl shaped. When the light is turned on, the transparent glass creates a glowing work of art. Tiffany lamps were popular in the art-nouveau age and go well with period style furniture. In other words, they are not suited to the taste of people who prefer a more modern style. I am not one of those people. When I see a Tiffany lamp, my heart does a flip and I am drawn to it like a moth to a flame.

Now, there are authentic Tiffany lamps and there are imitation lamps called Tiffany-type lamps. The real McCoy is very expensive, so naturally I go for the knock-offs which are much cheaper. They are still quite lovely and unless you are an expert, you probably would not notice the difference.

This is where the problem begins. I have long wanted to replace the somewhat shabby lamps in my living room. One was broken when my kids were small, so I glued it back together and painted it. A similar lamp was purchased on sale – on sale because it was bright orange and no one else wanted it. I painted it too.

I’m not certain my living room is Tiffany-worthy, but I wanted… I mean needed… a pretty lamp. It was an easy matter to find and select one as I liked all of them. When it arrived, I carefully put it together and turned it on. It was gorgeous – so gorgeous that it made my other lamp look worse than ever. So, I bought another one. Naturally, it was even prettier than the first. So, I did it again. First thing you know, I had purchased four new lamps.

Ironically, when my fourth and final purchase arrived, the base of the lamp was cracked. I wanted to return it, but apparently I did not read the description carefully enough and the hostile seller refused to give me a refund. Now I am stuck with another broken lamp. I will glue it together and paint over the repair — some things never change. I would like to buy a replacement, but I’ve spent so much already that my Pay-Pal account is on life support.

One lamp is good, two is twice as good, three is better, but four is one too many. Maybe I can check second-hand stores and look for a lamp without a shade. But if it doesn’t work out, I’ve always got my glue and paint to fall back on.

2016 Sheila Moss

Do you shop on eBay?  What is your experience, good or bad? If you happen to see a nice vintage Tiffany light base for dirt cheap, please let me know. The lamp is extra large, so it has to be tall and have two lights with a pull chain… not that I’m particular.

About Sheila Moss

My stories are about daily life and the funny things that happen to all of us. My columns have been published in numerous newspapers, magazines, anthologies, and websites.
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4 Responses to Never Buy a Tiffany Lamp

  1. energywriter says:

    What an adventure! I hope you find a replacement that you like. I’d love to replace my lamps too, but they are way down on the to-do list. $$$$ – always the fly in the ointment. sd

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sheila Moss says:

      Fortunately, I’m experienced in fixing up junk. There were also washers missing and a piece of glass cracked in the shade in addition to the obvious broken base. Apparently, it was used or a return item of some sort. I’m done with eBay. Sooner or later you get burned.


  2. Have you tried candles ?

    Liked by 1 person

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