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The Unmistakable Quality of Vintage Gold Filled Glasses

If you wear glasses for vision correction or even are a regular sunglasses wearer, your glasses can take a lot of daily wear and it is not unusual for people who wear glasses to go through a pair of glasses every few years.

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But there is an idea that things made in the past were often made better and antique wire rimmed glasses are one product where this often holds true. Unlike many of the classic frames of today that are imported and designed to get you through a year or two before styles change, vintage gold filled glasses were built to last for decades, if not a lifetime. Even more than 100 years later, these original vintage glasses are still some of the highest quality you can find.

Why Gold Filled Glasses Offer Dependable Quality?


Glasses in the 19th century were not designed to be stylish. In fact, styles stayed largely the same across the decades, and most people expected to use their eyeglasses year over year, only changing out the lenses when greater vision correction became necessary. 

With glasses at the time, this was also often possible. The most common materials in the late 1800s and early 1900s for glasses were metals. Those that were available at the time included steel, nickel, and, most often, gold. The development of plastics was not yet at a point where they could be used to make a dependable pair of glasses.

This meant vintage frames already had the benefit of being made of durable metals. Gold filled frames in particular were often of exceptional quality. For gold filling, the manufacturers use several incredibly thin sheets of gold and wrap one around another, continuing the process until they have created a wire of the desired width. They form these wires into the shape of the rims and temples. With gold filled glasses, the wire is solid gold so that the metal will not rub away as it would with gold plating. 

As glasses moved into the 20th century and manufacturers started to begin competing to create a better looking and more functional pairs of glasses, they added features like decorative carving into the rims and nose pads. The earliest nose pads were made of the same metal as the rest of the glasses before the shorter wearing Bakelight and later cellulose acetate plastics became standard for nose pads.

By this point, glasses were no longer being individually made either and had been moved into mass production, including by several American companies, such as:

The result of these antique glasses designs was a pair of beautifully made vintage frames, ranching from plain to slightly more ornamental, and constructed of layers of precious metal. This is not to say that vintage gold wire rimmed glasses should not still be handled with care. Gold is a soft material that can bend or scratch, and the hardware can weaken over time as well. 

But when you look at the innate quality with which these vintage glasses are made, it is easy to see the benefits they can have over more modern spectacles in addition to their fantastic vintage style.

The gold filled rimmed glasses in our inventory at Eyeglasses Warehouse, including many of which are already over 100 years old, are of such quality that they are still wearable as your daily spectacles or sunglasses simply by updating the lenses to your prescription. Find your perfect pair of vintage glasses in our online glasses store or browse from the many other high quality vintage frame styles we have available.