by Sabino Crystal Company
World Distributor of Sabino " Art deco " Opalescent Crystal Figurines

Opalescent glass of the 20's and 30's

More than half a century has passed since the production of this style of glass was at its peak. During the twenties and thirties there had been a large group of artificers of glass, among them Rene Lalique, Sabino, Etling, Hunebelle, D'Avesn, Verlys and Jobling. Of these, two emerged as the most prolific and best- Lalique and Sabino.   

With the onset of the second world war, there were great changes in the techniques of glass production. As the costs of hand produced work escalated, this beautiful glass became a rare part of history and the preserve of collectors. 

Painting by Marius Ernest Sabino circa 1920
(Private Collection - Houston Texas USA)

Marius Ernest Sabino 1878 - 1961

Portrait of Marius Sabino taken March 12, 1925
(Private collection - Houston Texas USA)

Marius Sabino was born in Sicily in 1878, and with his family moved to France while he was still a young boy. His father, a sculptor of wood, trained him to follow in his steps.   

He would go on to study at L'Ecole Nationale des Arts Decoratifs  and the Beaux Arts de Paris, where he became particularly interested in the challenges that the advent of electricity would have on glass manufacture. It was through electric lights that Sabino came to the production of glass. In fact, on his return from the first World War (where he had joined as a volunteer), he founded a factory which manufactured traditional lights fittings of wood or bronze and then quickly changed to glass.

He realized the enormous potential of the new techniques which made it possible to create the perfect molds for a unique translucent material. By pouring this material into the molds, he created beautiful relief in very precise and exciting designs. The glass of the chandelier was no longer part of the design-it was the principal component. His chandeliers, which were often monumental in size, were made to compliment the architecture of the day.

In 1925, Sabino created an opalescent glass with a blue hue and iridescent impressions of either clouds in a blue sky, light striking a soap bubble or a reflection from water surface.

He designed and made special lighting for luxury liner the isle de france in 1927, and a lighted fountain column for the Grand Salon of Normandy in 1935.

Apart from the chandeliers, he created a multitude of vases and decorative objects, making great use of his expertise as a sculptor. In particular, busts and statues of women, and an exceptionally large range of animals with stylized features-sometimes in extraordinary large sizes. For example, in 1931 he created a large fish in a limited edition, two of which were bought by Josephine Baker and Maurice Chevalier.

For his vases and plates he used natural themes, often with animals (particulaly aquatic creatures) along with friezes of women and some geometric designs.

Vase La Danse-Gaite
14" x 7" - 36 cm x 18 cm

Group of Panthers
8" x 6" - 20 cm x 15 cm

Using the same motifs, he made many different pieces which could be used alternatively as paperweights, book ends, plates, and even lamp shades when mounted on stand.

For Sabino it was possible to create anything in glass! In 1936, he was commissioned to produce all the electric lights fittings and chandeliers for the shah of Persia.

During these years, he also exhibited at all the major Salons. For the 1937 Exposition Universelle, he designed an illuminated column. A Maharaja had even asked him to make a throne of glass, but the outbreak of World War 11 prevented the completion of that commission. Sabino recommended production in 1941 but did not design any new pieces.