In 1964, Fenton introduced Vasa Murrhina glass. The term Vasa Murrhina means “Vessels of Gems”, which includes the sparkling effects of green aventurine glass with other colors. The company had been inspired by a piece that Frank Fenton picked up in an antique shop, and set about recreating the formula. Chemist Charles Goe spent quite a while working on the process. In the end, it involved gathering a ball of opal glass, rolling it in a ‘frit’ – small pieces of crushed glass that contains flecks of copper or copper salts or mica – and then gathering a layer of crystal glass over the top of it. This then is stretched out and heated.
In 1964, the colors included Blue Mist(BM) and Rose Mist (RM) which did not include the opal core but rather a crystal core, and opal-base Aventurine Green with Blue (GB) and Rose with Aventurine Green(RG). A year later, Autumn Orange(AO) was added. Blue Mist remains the rarest of these colors, having been produced only during 1964. Autumn Orange and Rose Mist only lasted a couple of years, but the Aventurine colors were produced through 1968.
Once in a great while you’ll see this in a satin finish or find experimental pieces in different colors than were available in the line. Experimental versions include milk-glass with silvery mica flecks, and Blue Mist over opal. In 1967, cranberry mist crest was sold at Sears as part of the Vincent Price National Treasures collection. The cranberry mist crest does not have the opal interior and has a clear crest.
Between 1983 and 1990, Fenton offered the Connoisseur Collection with over sixty pieces, and it included a smattering of revitalized early wares such as Plated Amerina and Vasa Murrhina.
The first year, in 1983, two items were offered in Vasa Murrhina – 6432-IM, a 9” basket, and 6462 –IM, a 7-1/2” cruet, each in a limited production of 1,000. In 1987, the offering was a basket, 3132-OT, combining a teal interior with vasa murrhina and an iridescent treatment. Only 1200 of these were produced and it’s extremely difficult to find any photographs of this item, let alone find the item itself. In 1989, there was the 6453-RG, an 8” pinch vase, limited to 2000. This piece was offered at the FAGCA convention that year.
In addition, vasa murrhina was sometimes used, along with spatter glass which does not have the glittery flecks although it’s made in a similar way, for various hand-formed animals by David Fetty and Delmer Stowasser during the late eighties, and occasionally you can find some vasa murrhina pieces made for the FAGC conventions – in 1979, they offered a Cobalt Vasa Murrhina vase, in 1985 a melon vase in Dusty Rose overlay with mica flecks and Cobalt Blue overlay with mica flecks. To be strictly accurate, the 1985 vases might be considered spangle glass rather than vasa murrhina, although the process is similar.