Uranium Glass, Vaseline Glass, and Depression Glass: What’s the Difference?

On a recent trip to my local Goodwill, I stumbled across a small green glass juicer for $2.02! Normally, I might walk by without a thought, but this time I took a second glance and decided that for $2 it was worth finding out if it was possibly, Uranium Glass, Vaseline Glass, or simply Depression Glass. While they may share a lot of similarities, each of these glass types has its unique characteristics and historical significance. In this blog post, I’m sharing the differences between them.

Glassware holds a special place in my heart, I don’t know why. I’ve always struggled with tossing glass salsa or spaghetti sauce jars away. How about you? That’s why when I’m out thrifting I love to find unique pieces to add to my table settings and décor. Milk glass is one of my all-time favorites to collect!

Uranium Glass PIN

This blog post contains affiliate links. The opinions are wholly my own from my own experience. I may earn a small commission from clicks through to the websites that end in a purchase.

Among the various types of glassware, three distinct styles often capture the attention of collectors and enthusiasts: Uranium Glass, Vaseline Glass, and Depression Glass. While they may share some similarities, each of these glass types has its unique characteristics and historical significance.

What is Uranium Glass?

Uranium Glass, also known as Vaseline Glass, derives its distinct color from the addition of uranium oxide during the glass-making process. This type of glassware gained popularity in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Due to its radioactive properties, uranium Glass exhibits a vibrant green or yellow hue under natural or ultraviolet light. Collectors are often fascinated by the glowing effect known as “blacklight glow” or “uranium glow.” I’m one of them!

uranium glass juicer

What is Uranium Glass Worth?

Uranium glass values vary from piece to piece depending on how rare the item is. It is not a particularly valuable item; generally speaking, it is worth between $20 and $2000 depending on the size and condition of the piece.

Vaseline Glass vs. Uranium Glass

Vaseline Glass is another term used to describe Uranium Glass. The name “Vaseline Glass” originated from its resemblance to petroleum jelly, which was commonly referred to as Vaseline. This glassware can range in color from pale yellow to intense green, depending on the amount of uranium oxide used. Its translucent appearance and the ability to emit a radiant glow under UV light make Vaseline Glass highly sought after by collectors.

Vaseline Glass

What is Depression Glass?

Depression Glass, unlike Uranium and Vaseline Glass, does not contain uranium oxide. Depression glass is the term I like to give to green glass items that don’t glow under UV light–hence, the “depression” or disappointment I feel to discover it’s not uranium glass.

What it actually refers to is a type of mass-produced glassware that was manufactured during the Great Depression era in the 1920s and 1930s. Depression Glass comes in various colors and patterns, including pink, green, blue, and amber. Its affordability and wide availability make it a popular choice among collectors today.

mutli colored Depression Glasses

How to Identify Uranium Glass from Depression Glass

Uranium glass, Vaseline glass, and Depression glass are all amazing in their own right. Each has its own set of features to get excited about as shown in the chart below.

Uranium Glass and Vaseline GlassDepression Glass
Radioactive GlowExhibits characteristic glow under UV lightDoes not exhibit this feature
Uranium ContentHigher uranium content, resulting in a more intense colorDoes not contain uranium oxide
Patterns and DesignsMay feature simpler patterns or be solid in colorOften characterized by intricate patterns and designs
  • Uranium Glass and Vaseline Glass share the characteristic radioactive glow under UV light, while Depression Glass does not exhibit this feature.
  • Uranium Glass and Vaseline Glass have a higher uranium content, resulting in a more intense color than Depression Glass.
  • Depression Glass is often characterized by its intricate patterns and designs, while Uranium and Vaseline Glass may feature simpler patterns or be solid in color.
Uranium Glass PIN

Collecting and Caring for Uranium Glass:

If you’re interested in starting a collection of Uranium glass or adding to your existing glassware collection, consider the following tips:

  • Research and familiarize yourself with the various patterns, colors, and markings associated with each type of glassware. EBay is a great place to go to look up all kinds of glass items as well as see their current values.
  • Shop antique malls, auctions, thrift shops or specialized glassware shows to find unique pieces.
  • Bring a handy little UV light when you go shopping so that you can check for Uranium glass on the go.
  • Display your glassware collection in well-lit areas to enhance its beauty and showcase its distinctive features. I do this with my milk glass collection here in a China Hutch.

Uranium Glass, Vaseline Glass, and Depression Glass each have their own captivating qualities. From the radioactive glow of Uranium Glass to the affordability of Depression Glass, these glassware styles offer collectors and enthusiasts a wide range of options to explore.

Whether you’re drawn to the vibrant colors, unique patterns, or the stories behind these pieces, acquiring and appreciating glassware is a delightful hobby that brings a touch of vintage charm to any home.

If you like thrifting, you may like this recent Goodwill shopping trip I took where I share what I found vs. how I styled it!


  1. I’m not sure how old this post is, so you might already know this, and I will admit that I didn’t go through all of the previous comments, but Vaseline glass, uranium glass, and depression glass are overlaping categories. Pretty much anything that you can think of fits into multiple different categories. A kitchen knife is also a kitchen utensil, a piece of cutlary, a specific type of knife (pairing, carving, steak, etc), and more. This can be especially true of vintage and antique glass. Uranium glass is any glass piece that contains uranium, active or depleted. Vaseline glass is uranium glass where uranium is used to get that yellow color, but it has only been called Vaseline glass since the 1930’s. Uranium has been used to color glass for more than 1,500 years. The yellow variety was called “canary glass” in the late 1880’s and early 1900’s. Sometimes, “vaseline glasss” and “canary glass” are used as color names only and do not contain any uranium! The green uranium glass includes iron oxide, which changes the color. Depression glass broadly refers to any glass that was made during the Great Depression. More specifically it is a cheaply made pressed glass, usually in the translucent colors of pink, clear, yellow/apricot or uranium green. So, Vaseline glass is usually uranium glass, but not always. Uranium glass is any glass that includes uranium. A common, even prevelant, color in depression glass is green uranium. So that is the big old twisted mess that is depression glass, Vaseline glass, and uranium glass.

  2. Deb Saltwater says:

    Wast of time watching your video! It’s a UG site.. you never used a black light and showed nothing about looking for UG!

    1. I’m so sorry you feel this way. The video clearly states what it is about before you watch it. I haven’t had a chance to make a video when I’m on a hunt for uranium glass. Hopefully, I will this year and come back to add it.

  3. Sandy Curry says:

    I really enjoyed the thrift store finds. I love thrift stores though rarely get to go to them. We have a large one here called Saver’s and I have actually bought gifts there for people. That was fun, thanks!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *