Signed "Alhambra" Sugar Sifter
We will not try to improve the description of Meriden's "Alhambra" design as set forth on page 149 of J. Michael Pearson's Encyclopedia of American Cut & Engraved Glass, Vol.I........
"The "Alhambra" pattern, popularly known as "Greek Key," was designed by Thomas A. Stanley, patented Jan. 17, 1911, #41091. It was assigned to the International Silver Co. and cut by its subsidiary, the Meriden Cut Glass Co., Meriden, CT. The pattern is incredibly brilliant, deep, and close cut. Its central motif of hobstars and cane is offset by a simple wide Greek Key border and a right angle serrated edge. It was sold in the appropriate company of fine diamonds and gems in jewelers' shops. The exquisite design could only be executed on the highest quality blank. Being one of the most expensive and sought after patterns, even a single piece is a prize. It was often made with embellishments of sterling silver."
In 1978, Pearson rated Meriden's "Alhambra" 3 for rarity (very rare) and 1 for quality/price range (highest category). Today, "Alhambra" is still considered a rare design and is one of the most desirable and collectible designs in American Brilliant Cut Glass.
Page 154 of the Meriden Cut Glass Co. catalog (an ACGA reprint) shows this exact "Alhambra" sugar sifter; it stands 5.5-inches tall and has a 2.75-inch base diameter. Meriden's trademark -- 'Wilcox' in block letters inside an oval border -- is acid-etched on the base; it is the only signed "Alhambra" piece that we have had. The lid is also signed with the sterling silver trademark shown in the catalog -- the word 'sterling' followed by the intertwined 'WSW.' The cutting is deep, precise and beautifully-polished to a mirror-like brilliance. The blank is clear, water-white and heavy to the hand. An exceptional piece, large for its type, that is very difficult to acquire.