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Vitro Buttermilks & Buttermilk Variations Article

 By: Kevin Roberts

they are stunning in hand and for lack of a better word STELLAR!! The standard Buttermilk is the most well known type to most collectors and others are considered variations, a lot of confusions surrounds what is a true Buttermilk so.. let's fix that and get started!!!

Most of the small Buttermilks are slightly oversize (larger than 5/8”) and the large ones usually range from 13/16” to about 7/8”. Buttermilks, unlike Superiors, vary a lot in design & color. This results in some difficulty in identification and likewise a lot of mis-identification.

The smaller 5/8 size almost always have your standard patch & ribbon configuration, the color bands can also vary as can the thickness or density which will determine the value . The buttery yellow is NOT opaque but rather a translucent yellow and can get heavy on some examples, these are the most sought after and most valuable. The thinner the colors the least appealing they are thus decreasing in value. Some folks call the weaker types Buttermilk Lites. A true Buttermilk is HTF but that does not mean the different Variations aren't just as pretty or valuable..

The larger Buttermilks will vary in coloring just like the smaller versions but the bigger ones can get VERY wild in pattern much like a Peltier Miller Swirl. The larger Buttermilks are VHTF...

Now comes the variations of Buttermilks, these can vary in colors and patterns, i liked the term Aquamilk for some and it is very fitting, i will be showing examples of different variations below. Some other types of variations have the buttery yellow but are NOT true Buttermilks but rather a variation and are thought to be made around the same time with the same method. Some of the variation types can be just as HTf as the standards but again they are NOT true Buttermilks.

Now enough of reading let's look at some pictures!!!

This is what Chuck B had to say about Buttermilks...
Buttermilks have a red band on one side, a parallel red/blue band on the other side and a translucent buttermilk yellow base, sometimes with white. Buttermilks vary considerably in color and design. The blue sometimes darkens towards indigo, especially on the shooters. The smaller buttermilks tend to have ribbons and many of the shooters swirl significantly.

That is what makes a Buttermilk a true Buttermilk, any type that doesn't fit that exact pattern is a variation which I will cover later on in this pictorial.


Standard 5/8 True Buttermilk.

Buttermilks 1



Standard 5/8 True Buttermilk. Notice how strong the Milk is on this mib.

Buttermilk 2



Standard 13/16 True Buttermilk Shooter.

Buttermilk 3


Standard True Buttermilk Shooter. Note the pattern is pretty wild. This mib belongs to Dani Kirk AKA Zaboo

Buttermilk 4



Now that we have discussed and seen what a true Buttermilk is and looks like, lets move on to the different variations. Next is what i like to call a Vitro Aquamilk. I took one of these to the Canton Show last year and brought them to Chuck. B, I asked him if they was a Buttermilk type and told him I had been calling them Aqua Milks, he agreed and said they was a Buttermilk variant and that I was the first person he had ever seen call these types Aquamilks other than himself.


The Aquamilk will have that same Buttery Yellow patch just like the standard Buttermilk but with some different coloring on the ribbons, they can range in shades just like the Buttermilks from translucent to semi opaque. Not sure if these come in shooter size as I’ve never seen one before over 5/8. That does not mean that they aren't out there. They will exhibit an Aqua color much like the Aqua Marines but they lack the rest of what makes up a true Aqua Marine and they have that Buttery Yellow patch just like the Buttermilks. They will have a red to brown patch on one side with an opposing ribbon of either red, purple or brown.

5/8 Aquamilk. Note the similarities in pattern and the Aqua patch with the buttery yellow.

Buttermilk 5


5/8 Aquamilk. Note the similarities in pattern and the Aqua patch with the buttery yellow.

Buttermilk 6



Now that we have covered the Aquamilks it's time to move on to the unnamed type of variations. There may be names for others but the two names I personally use are for the two different examples posted above. Below I will show some examples of a Weakmilk or Milk-Lite and another type or variant of the Buttermilks, they are both in the Buttermilk family but again the only types that are True Buttermilks are the standard examples I mentioned and photoed above.


First is a Weakmilk or Milk-lite. Notice how weak the buttery yellow is. These types are very nice but less valuable and less desirable than the regular Standard Buttermilks due to the lack of bold & strong coloring in the milk department. Also they are not a true Buttermilk due to pattern.

Buttermilk 7



Second is a Buttermilk Variation due the lack of the second opposing red ribbon being visible at the surface, same may still call this a True Buttermilk but it is mine so for now I will say this is a Variant due to the Red Ribbon not showing on the surface. Still has a nice amount of bold buttery yellow but is not a true Buttermilk in my again these types are less valuable but still a very pretty Vitro Buttermilk Variation and will demand a premium price, if it where a True Buttermilk it would demand an even higher premium price$$$$...

Buttermilk 8


Third is another type of Variation. Of course it lacks all the main things to be a real Buttermilk but it still has that Buttery Yellow. These types won't bring the $$ like a typical standard will bring but never the less they are in the Buttermilk family making it a Variant.

Buttermilk 9



Well that about does it for this article on Buttermilks and different variations, I’m sure there are more different types out there than what I show here but are they a True Buttermilk? You now know what to look for, happy hunting everyone!!


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