The Basics of Carnival Glass Collecting

The Basics of Carnival Glass Collecting
This section is primarily for those just starting a carnival glass collection but may also be of help to the intermediate collector
as well.
First comes color. To tell the true color of a piece of carnival glass, hold the piece to a strong light; the base color you see
is the color of the piece. The colors given off by the iridescence have little or nothing to do with the true color of the glass.
Many have asked me to provide a color chart to aid beginners, but capturing glass colors on paper is nearly impossible. The
best advice I can offer on color is to handle as much of this glass as you can, holding it to the light and observing; soon, colors
will come naturally, at least the basic colors.
Next, perhaps I should discuss shapes. Bowls and plates are usually easy to understand, as are pitchers, tumblers, and vases; but
even these have variations: bowls can be ruffled, unruffled (shallow unruffled bowls are called ice cream shape), deep, or shallow. Pitchers can be standard, smaller (milk pitcher), taller (tankard), or squat. Tumblers can be standard size, tall (lemonade),
or small (juice), even as small as shot glasses. Vases can range from tiny 4" bud vases to monster 22" sizes called funeral vases.
Vases may be straight topped, flared, or JIP (jack-in-the-pulpit) shaped with one side down and one side up. In addition there
are table sets, consisting of a creamer, a sugar, a covered butter dish, and a spooner (this piece has no lid). There are decanters and stemmed goblets of several sizes; there are rose bowls, evident by the lips being pulled in equally around the top of the
piece; candy dishes that have the rims flared out; and nut bowls that have the rim standing straight up. There are banana bowls
that are pulled up on two sides, baskets that have handles, bonbons that have handles on opposite sides, and nappies with only
one handle. In addition we have berry sets (small and large bowls that are deep and usually come with one large bowl and six
small ones), orange bowls (large footed bowls that held fruit), handled mugs, and plates (these are shallow without any bowl
effect, coming straight out from the base and no higher from base to rim than 2"). Specialized shapes include candlesticks, hatpins, hatpin holders (footed pieces with the rim turned in to hold hatpins), epergnes (pieces that hold flower lilies), card trays
(flattened bonbons or nappies), toothpick holders, cracker and cookie jars with lids, stemmed compotes (or comports as they
were originally called), hair receivers, powder jars with lids, as well as many novelties that include paperweights, animal novelties, and wall pocket vases. Finally we have punch sets, which consist of a punch bowl, standard or base, and matching cups.
These are all the general shapes of carnival glass. In addition we have many specialty shapes that include light shades, beads,
beaded purses, odd whimsey shapes of all sorts that have been fashioned from standard pieces, pintrays, dresser trays, pickle
casters in metal frames, and bride’s baskets likewise. The list of shapes is almost endless and the beginner should study these
and ask other collectors about odd pieces they can’t identify.
Now, let’s talk briefly about the iridescence itself. By far the major portion of carnival glass items will be found with a satiny
finish that has many colored highlights across the surface, like oil on water, but another very popular finish was developed by
the Millersburg Company and used by all other makers in limited amounts. This is called “radium” finish and can be recognized by its shiny, mirror-like lustre on the surface. Often, with radium finish, the exterior of the piece has no iridization and
the piece has a light, watery shine. Beyond that, some colors, especially pastels such as white, ice blue, and ice green, have a
frosty look. This treatment is always satin, never radium. Finally, there is the addition of milky edge treatments that are called
opalescent. Added to the marigold finish, this is called “peach opalescent” and with an aqua base color, it becomes “aqua opalescent.” Other opalescent treatments with carnival glass are blue opalescent, amethyst opalescent, lime green opalescent, ice
green opalescent, vaseline opalescent, and red opalescent.
Also of consideration are the many new color labels that have come about over the last few years. These are mostly shadings
of primary or secondary colors; they are often hard to understand and even harder to describe. Here are a few: moonstone
(opaque glass, not as dense as milk glass); clambroth (pale ginger ale color); black amethyst (nearly black glass iridized); horehound (a shade darker than amber); Persian blue (opaque, like moonstone but blue); smoke (grayish, with blue and gold highlights); teal (a mixture of blue and green); vaseline (a yellow/green); lavender (a pale amethyst); and lime (green with a yellow
mix). Lastly, there are a handful of colors, now in vogue, that nobody seems to agree on a definition: colors such as Renniger
blue, a smoky/teal/sapphirish blue, according to some! Have we carried all this too far? Of course, but it isn’t in my hands
to stop this proliferation of colors. I can only hope the above information proves helpful in some way. Remember, we are all
learning and knowledge comes in time and with patience. The trip is worth the effort.
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Australian Holly (Crystal)
It is a privilege to show this very scarce Australian pattern from the Crown Crystal Glass
Company, seen only on marigold to date. Please notice how thick the glass is. The bowl
is 7¹⁄₂" in diameter and sits on three slender feet. The exterior pattern is one called Panels and Diamonds. Australian Holly and Fenton’s
Holly show a very close similarity.
Australian Kookaburra (Lettered)
It is believed this very rare bowl is the first of this design and it was then altered
for production. This one has lettering that reads “AUSTRALIAN KOOKABURRA.” The bowl is marigold and only the center has any pattern with the
lettering in an outer ring. Only marigold has been reported and I
thank Wayne Delahoy for sharing the photo.
Austral Jug
Since Austral is a university in Argentina, it seems to place this 7¹⁄₄"
jug in aqua glass with amber iridescence as a product of South
America. Nothing definite is known about the maker and
I’d certainly like to hear from anyone who can pin down
this jug.
Autumn Acorns
Fenton’s Autumn Acorns is similar to their Acorn pattern. This version,
though, has a grape leaf rather than the oak leaves on the Acorn. Although
found mostly on bowls, there are rare plates such as the one shown here. The
pattern is a good one and colors for bowls include marigold, blue, green,
amethyst, vaseline, and red.
While McKee didn’t make much carnival glass, the few existing pieces are treasures and certainly the Aztec pattern is one. Known only in a creamer, sugar,
rose bowl, tumblers, and pitcher, the coloring ranges from a good strong
marigold to a clambroth with fiery pink and blue
highlights. Each shape in Aztec is rare and important.
Aztec Headdress
This vase is a real beauty with a row of stairs leading up to a center band
of circled medallions, then topped off by a group of plumes surrounding
the top. Marigold is the only reported color so far. It is likely a product of
Argentina. Thanks to the Raths for providing it.
This advertising piece has the basketweave exterior pattern so you can safely say that Northwood
is the established maker. The lettering says “Ballard, Merced, Cal.” Bowls and plates are found in
amethyst only. It is nice advertising piece to choose from out of the many available.
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Beaded Basket
This Diamond pattern was made at Indiana, Pennsylvania, after the Dugans departed. It is
well known in the two-handled basket shape. Colors are marigold, amethyst, cobalt blue,
lime green with marigold luster, white, aqua, and pink with marigold luster. Production
began about 1914 or 1915 and lasted until at least 1928, the date of pink production.
Green examples have been reported but not confirmed.
Beaded Bull’s Eye
This well-designed Imperial item comes in the vase shape only (6" – 15" tall). Colors include
marigold, purple, green, smoke, amber, lime green, cobalt blue, and the beautiful teal. Some
of these vases, especially the squat ones, have the tops stretched out to outrageous sizes, like
the one shown.
Beaded Cable
This popular Northwood rose bowl was made in carnival glass
in 1913 after a run in both Mosaic glass and opalescent glass.
It stands about 4¹⁄₂" tall on three feet. The example shown has
a broad gilt stripe around the top and gilding on the cable as
an added effect. Thanks to Mickey Reichel.
Beaded Daisy Panels
This daisy design with borders of beading is often
found on European glass, so chances are this glass is from there. The flared compote has a marigold bowl but the stem and base are clear. I welcome any information about this pattern. The compote is 3¹⁄₂" tall
with a 5" diameter.
Beaded Floral Band
The tumbler in this enameled set, which was found by the author
and named by John Britt, was shown in earlier editions. Here is
the matching pitcher. The design features iridized bands above
and below, edged by dots. The center has enameled leaves, flowers, and rows of blue dots.
Beaded Mirrors (Jain)
Beaded Panels is similar to so many designs from the Jain Glass Works of India with its overall crosshatching except for two large ovals, which are left perfectly plain and look just like a mirror with the
heavy iridescence. Around the rim is the typical band that is unpatterned and lighter in color. A variant of this pattern exists with rose-like flowers in the ovals.
Beaded Panels (Dugan)
Beaded Panels is called Opal Open by opalescent glass collectors. The carnival pieces
were made by the Dugan Company from the Northwood moulds. Only the compote
shape is known in carnival glass in marigold, amethyst, peach opalescent, and cobalt
blue (quite rare). Be aware, however, this pattern was reproduced in opalescent glass
for L.G. Wright and like the current peach opal Twigs vases that are being reproduced, peach opalescent is a strong reproduction possibility down the road.
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Cane and Panels
This is a tumble-up (the saucer is missing) in a Cristalerias Papini pattern from Argentina. There is also a
short tumbler.
Cane and Scroll (Sea Thistle)
It is a pleasure to show both the creamer and the open
ruffled sugar bowl in this pattern that was only seen on
the creamer shape for so long. In addition, I am told
there are other bowl shapes as well, including a rose
bowl in cobalt blue. All other shapes are reported in
only marigold at this time.
Cane and Wedge
This small, 4⁷⁄₈" vase, from Finland is a rich amber and has a most unusual pattern. I welcome any information about this pattern, including the name.
Cane Open Edge Basket
Yes, even in 2007 there are still “one of a kind” pieces out there to
find and this is one of them. This rare find is made by Imperial, shown
in old catalogs as their #7455, and is shown here in marigold on milk
glass. Several shapes are shown in the catalog in this particular pattern
but this is the first example discovered to date with an iridized carnival
treatment. Thanks to the Remmens for sharing the photo.
Cannonball Variant
This marigold water set has the same shape as the Cherry and Blossom set usually
found in cobalt, but has a different enameled design. The tumblers have an interior
wide panel design. I’m sure this is quite a scarce item.
Captive Rose
Fenton’s Captive Rose is a very familiar decorative pattern found in bowls, bonbons,
compotes, and occasional plates in marigold, cobalt blue, green, amethyst, amber,
and smoke. The design is a combination of embroidery circles, scales, and diamond
stitches, and is a tribute to the mould maker’s art. The roses are like finely stitched
quilt work.
Carnation Wreath
Carnation Wreath was made in the early 1900s in crystal and in goofus glass, but this is
the first piece of iridized glass I’ve seen. The 9" bowl is shown (a 5" marigold bowl is
also reported). The pattern is all exterior and a bit hard to see but there are eight stems
of leaves and flowers up the sides of the bowl and a full-blown flower on the base.
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Drapery Rose
This 6¹⁄₂" vase from India is very interesting and also has great color to add to the mix. The
base is unusual for Indian products because of its shape.
Drapery Variant (Finland)
Not to be confused with the Drapery Variant pattern
credited to the Northwood Company, this pattern was
made at the Riihimaki Glass plant of Finland, at least
the tumbler was. (Other pieces are uncertain as to the
maker.) Only a pitcher, tumbler, and a 1¹⁄₂" tall shot glass
has come to my attention, but certainly other shapes may
exist. The only color reported is marigold but this factory also made blue iridized glass so that is a possibility.
Shown are the tumbler and the shot glass.
Drapery Variant (Northwood)
A close comparison of this variant vase and the regular Northwood
one will show this has a plain banded top and the vertical ribs or pillars
do not extend to the base. These variants are found in marigold, amethyst, green, lavender, and cobalt blue, and generally stand 8" – 12"
tall. The base has a 2³⁄₄" diameter.
Dreibus Parfait Sweets
This Northwood advertising plate (it is also known in bowls and handgrip plates) was
offered by a company in Omaha, Nebraska. All pieces are in amethyst and the exterior has the basketweave pattern.
Dresser Bottle Set
Sherman Hand first showed two bottles in this set about three
decades ago, but here is the complete set in its original holder.
The bottles are 2¹⁄₂" square and stand 4" tall. They are labeled
“cotton,” “toilet water,” “alcohol,” “astringent,” “hair oil,”
and “witch hazel.”
I’m sure that every carnival collector has seen at least one example of either
the scottie dog, poodle, or deer powder jars and now I can finally show a
photo of the duckie. This is probably the least seen
of the group, although none will demand very
much money. Thanks to Irene Tyler for sharing
this piece.
Dugan-Diamond’s Rainbow
Just as the Northwood Company had a line of iridized glass advertised as their Rainbow
Line, so did the Diamond Glass Company in the early 1920s. It consisted of stretch
items and some patterns like the one shown that were produced with or without a stretch
finish. Shown is a green covered bonbon on a short stem without stretch finish. It is 5¹⁄₂"
tall and 4³⁄₈" wide. The short stem has a twist. Other colors were marigold, celeste blue,
pink, white, and amethyst.
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Enameled Phlox
This beautiful pitcher is on Fenton’s #628 mould, which was used more
often for crystal, decorated crystal, or opalescent glass. Here it is in amethyst
carnival with enameling and it is terrific. Thanks to the Seecks for sharing it.
Enameled Prism Band
This beautiful Fenton tankard water set is a standout in the series of
enameled water sets. It can be found in marigold, blue, green (rarely), and a very impressive and scarce white. Also the floral work may
vary slightly from one item to another.
Enameled Punty Band (Heisey)
Found mostly in custard glass, crystal, or ruby stained glass, this Heisey pattern is
a rare, rare thing in iridized glass. It stands 3⁷⁄₈" tall and has a 24-point star on the
underside of the base. The banding at the base from which the pattern gets its name
has 24 small ovals and the band is sawtoothed at both edges. The color is outstanding, as are the enameled flower, leaves, blossoms, and stem.
Enameled Rose of Paradise
This very pretty tumbler stands 4" tall with a 2¹⁄₄" base. It has eight interior panels
and the top flares to 3". The unusual enameling is top-notch, with a large pink rose
that shades to mauve, and two buds and leaves. It covers only one side of the tumbler. The color of the glass is an unusual shade of green with a touch of blue, just
short of being teal. The iridescence is rich and lustrous. No matching pieces have
surfaced and to date the maker is unknown.
Enameled Stippled Petals
Enameled Stippled Petals is like the regular Dugan-Diamond pattern with the added enamel
work of forget-me-nots. This bowl is a very rich pumpkin color with a peach opalescent treatment on the exterior. The bowl measures 9¹⁄₂" in diameter and has a 10-ruffle edge. Stippled
Petal pieces are dome based and can be shaped in
several ways that include a banana bowl, a handled
basket, or even tricornered.
Enameled Stork
This water set has a tankard pitcher with ribbing above the base and below the neck. Its
inscription is in German and reads “BROTHERS DRINK TIL YOU SINK.” The
enameling shows storks and cattails. If you will look at the Late Enameled Bleeding
Hearts pattern shown elsewhere in this edition, you will see the tumblers are from the
same mould.
Enameled Swallow
Besides the tankard pitcher I showed in the eighth book, this Czechoslovakian pattern is also known in a tankard stein
and tumblers that match the pitcher (all shown here). Thanks to Don and Barb Chamberlain for sharing these pieces.
Enameled Wildflower
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Enameled Wildflower is another of the many, many
enameled designs. It is mostly found on stock size
tumblers and pitchers. The owner of this tumbler
believes it was called Enameled Wildflower so I’ve
acquiesced. Anyone knowing differently might let
me know.
2/28/08 9:27:40 AM
Heavy Shell
This unusual pattern seems to be reported only on candlesticks like those
shown and a matching 8¹⁄₂" console bowl. The glass is very thick and the
iridescence frosty. The only color reported at this time is white and the maker is
not confirmed.
Heavy Vine
This well-made Rindskopf design is found in several shapes including a tumble-up, cologne,
perfume, perfume atomizer, ring tree, puff box, pintray, miniature rose bowl, a covered bowl,
and a shot glass. Most pieces have rich marigold iridescence. The design is a center band of
vine set off from panels that are much like those of Jacobean Ranger.
Heavy Web
Heavy Web is a very interesting Dugan pattern found primarily on large, thick bowls in peach
opalescent. It has been found with two distinct exterior patterns — a beautifully realistic grape
and leaf design covering most of the surface and an equally attractive morning glory pattern. I’ve seen various shapes including round, ruffled, square, and elongated ones. A vivid purple or green bowl in this pattern would certainly
be a treasure.
Heinz Tomato Juice
This juice glass with white enameled lettering is obviously late carnival glass, made after the 1920s, but nonetheless is an interesting example of iridized advertising. It is shown in a soft pastel marigold. It is the first I’ve seen
but was probably widely available at the time of production.
Heisey #473 (Narrow Flute with Rim)
Called a breakfast set by some collectors, this two-piece grouping consists of an individual creamer and a two-handled tray. Each is marked with the H-in-a-diamond
mark. In addition the tray is marked “Pat. 6/20/16.” The coloring is a soft pastel like
other iridized Heisey, and the lustre strong. The creamer measures 2⁷⁄₈" tall and 3³⁄₄"
across while the tray is 8" across. It has been suggested the tray held
lump sugar.
Heisey Colonial
Besides a compote, dresser tray, hair receiver, juice tumbler, perfume and cologne bottles, and a puff box, this
Heisey pattern is known in this marked vase on a stem. It has the soft, yellowish iridescence often seen with
Heisey glass (they did no iridizing but had it done for customers). The vase is marked “SUPERIOR BATH
HOUSE.” This is one of the bathhouses in the Hot Springs, Arkansas, area.
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Little Barrel
Most collectors believe these little containers were made by Imperial as a special order item, probably
for someone with a liquid product to sell. They are about 4" tall and can be found in marigold, amber,
green, and smoke.
Little Beads (Westmoreland)
With a minimum of pattern and size, this nice stemmed piece
still manages to make a statement, especially in color. It measures
2" tall, has a 2¹⁄₂" base, and measures 5¹⁄₂" across. Colors are
mostly peach opalescent but aqua, blue opalescent, marigold, and
amethyst are known. Little Beads was made by Westmoreland.
Little Daisies
This rare collar-based bowl from Fenton is known in marigold and cobalt blue. The
bowls measure 9" – 10", with the daisies bursting like fireworks from a stylized center
of beading.
Little Fishes
Production of Fenton’s #1607 began in 1914
and continued for several years. Little Fishes
can be found in 5¹⁄₂" bowls, 10" footed bowls,
and 11" plates. Colors include marigold, green,
cobalt blue, aqua, amethyst, vaseline, amber, ice
green, and a rare white, but not all sizes or moulds are found in all colors. The
pattern closely resembles Fenton’s Coral. Photo courtesy of Samantha Prince.
Little Flowers
Here’s another pattern once felt to be Millersburg but is now known to be a Fenton
product. Little Flowers is found in berry sets and two sizes of rare plates in marigold,
green, blue, amethyst, amber, aqua, vaseline,
and red. Bowls include square, tri-cornered, or ice
cream shapes.
Little Stars (Millersburg)
This Millersburg bowl pattern can be found in 7", 8", 9", and 10"
bowls as well as rare 6" sauces. Colors are marigold, amethyst, green,
blue, clambroth, and a very rare vaseline.
Loganberry (Imperial)
From old company catalogs I know this was Imperial’s #477 vase pattern. It stands 10" tall and can be
found in marigold, purple, green, amber, and smoke, with teal reported. There are a few with the top
whimsied (flared or ball shaped) but these are rare. In addition this vase was reproduced in the 1960s
and 1970s in several colors including marigold, smoke, green, and white but they are marked with the
IG logo. Photo courtesy of the Remmens.
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Patrician was named by its owner, Lance Hilkene. In general shape, it resembles Finland’s Moth candlestick as
well as several from Brockwitz, but I haven’t been able to identify the maker.
Peace Lamp
This rarity was named by the owner. It is the only reported example.
When assembled it is 16" tall and has an English burner. The design
is similar to Riverside’s Florentine pattern. I thank Alan Sedgwick for
sharing this beautiful lamp with me.
Peach (Northwood)
I am happy to show this spooner in marigold since only it and the
tumbler shape have been found in this color at this time. Other shapes include a berry set (cobalt blue
or white), table set (white, with the spooner and creamer also known in cobalt blue), and the water set
(cobalt blue or white). The white pieces often have a fired-on gilt decoration and some of the blue items
are electric in appearance.
Peach and Pear
These large oval bowls were made by Diamond and are usually found
in amethyst or marigold. In the ninth edition of this book I showed the
first reported cobalt blue bowl, and here is shown the first reported green
example. These bowls are usually about 12" in diameter, and I understand
they date from about 1925.
Peacock (Millersburg)
Peacock is similar to Millersburg’s Peacock and Urn pattern, except it has no bee and
no beading on the urn. It is found in large and small berry bowls, large and small ice
cream shaped bowls, a small plate, a small proof sauce (missing one of the bird’s legs),
and whimsey shapes including a banana bowl and a rose bowl shape. Colors are the usual
marigold, amethyst, and green on most shapes but the small berry bowl is found in blue
and the banana bowl in vaseline. In addition, the large berry bowl is known in a beautiful
clambroth, a rare color for Millersburg.
Peacock and Dahlia
Typically Fenton, this pattern features both a peacock and the dahlia in stylized
panels, much like the more plentiful Peacock and Grape pattern.
It is found on both bowls (7" – 7¹⁄₂") and plates. Peacock
and Dahlia has the Berry and Leaf Circle on the exterior.
Colors include marigold, cobalt blue, vaseline, aqua,
and white. This was Fenton’s #1645 pattern, made
in 1912.
Peacock and Grape
Fenton’s #1646 pattern from 1911, found in both bowls and plates, is a sister pattern to
Peacock and Dahlia. Colors are marigold, blue, green, amethyst, aqua, vaseline, white,
red, lavender, and marigold-over-milk-glass. Shown is an odd smoky blue bowl. Thanks
to the Remmens for sharing it.
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Puritan (McKee)
Here is a very pretty rarity found in McKee’s Puritan pattern in a small plate (6" diameter).
It has the Pres Cut trademark. In crystal, this pattern, which is also known as Rock Crystal,
can be found in extended table service pieces including tumblers, candlesticks, ice cream
sherbets, a punch set, pickle dish, finger bowl, and cruet. Crystal pieces date from 1894
but this carnival plate was made after McKee left the National combine and reorganized
in 1904. A 4" bowl is also known in cobalt blue
carnival glass.
Dugan’s Puzzle is an appealing pattern found in stemmed bonbons and compotes.
The allover design is well balanced and the stippling adds interest. Colors known are
marigold, purple, green, blue, white, and peach opalescent.
Quarter Block
After seeing a jelly dish complete with a wire frame and spoon attached, I’m reasonably
certain this pattern is English. It is found primarily in table set pieces, and I’ve seen
the open sugar, creamer, covered butter, and the jelly piece. Color is usually a good
marigold. The creamer stands 3¹⁄₂" tall and measures 5" across from
lip to handle.
Quatrefoil Band
Obviously a late piece of carnival glass, this shot glass has good iridescence topped by
an enameled banding of quatrefoil design. The maker is unknown to me but I believe
it may date from the late 1920s.
Queen’s Jewel
Queen’s Jewel is also known as Queen’s Necklace by crystal collectors. It was made
by the Bellaire Glass Company in 1891, and thereafter by U.S. Glass. This pattern is
made in several shapes in crystal but only this stemmed vase seems to have appeared
in iridized glass. It is a pastel flashing.
Queen’s Lamp
Queen’s Lamp is found only in green in carnival glass (crystal examples are known). This rare lamp
stands 9" to the top of the font and has a base diameter of 7". The crystal ones sometimes have
matching shades but I’ve never seen one that matches the carnival lamp. Four of these are reported
with three more rumored to exist. The maker is unknown.
Question Marks
Production of this pattern spanned nearly a decade from about
1910 to 1920 and it is found in opalescent glass as well as carnival glass. Shapes are
a two-handled bonbon on a stem, a stemmed compote, and a plate from the same
mould. Exteriors are usually plain but the compote or plate may have the Georgia
Belle pattern and a third pattern called Puzzle appears on the pedestal base. Colors are
marigold, amethyst, blue, white, ice green, lavender, lime green (marigold overlay), and
peach opalescent.
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