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Initially created as an item of practicality during the 19th century, paperweights have come to be decorative items over the years. The production of paperweights is divided into two periods, with 1845 to 1860 being the 'classical' period, and 1950 to today being the 'modern' period. Whilst many modern paperweights tend to be of little value, some antiques can be worth far more. In 1990, Sotheby's sold a 'millefiori' paperweight dating to the mid-19th century form the Clichy glass factory in France. Although paperweights have been and continue to be made in a variety of materials, the finest examples are considered to be those crafted from glass. Glass paperweights are commonly decorated with interior designs such as flowers, insects and animals, as well as colourful, geometric patterns. Paperweights formed from glass can also be decorated with paint on the surface.

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