As with man types of pottery, jewelry and other antiques, there was not just one grade of depression glass made in America during the years 1929 to 1939. Apart from the mass produced glassware that we know and love as depression glass, there was another finer quality type made that is known as Elegant Depression Glass or just Elegant Glass.
Although it was produced in the same time period as normal depression glass, the elegant glass was a completely different style and type of glassware. It was very expensive and was hand finished, polished and decorated as compared to the mass production pressed glass that was being given away. Also, pieces of elegant glass were not usually physically used and were purchased as items for show or decoration. This is totally opposite to depression glass which was designed to be cheap (or even free) and to be used as normal everyday pieces.
This type of glassware was produced by only a handful of manufacturers during this time. Companies such as the Fenton Art Glass company, Heisley Glass Company and the Cambridge Glass Company were some of the few who made the glass and continued to make it after the great depression period had ended. No elegant glass was made after around 1950 as people began to purchase products such as crystal due to higher incomes and changing fashions.
Elegant depression glass was sold through department stores and jewelry shops and was considered to be a valid alternative to bone china or porcelain. The quality of the elegant glass was so good that it was also exported to other countries where it was considered to be very valuable. The glassware was still colored the same as the other, cheaper type of depression glass in colors such as Blue, Ruby Red and Pink and also had a range of detailed and intricate patterns too. Normal, mass produced pressed depression glass pieces would usually be plates, cups and everyday items where as the elegant glass would be vases, wine glasses or items of a finer style and nature.