The Ultimate Crystal Buying Guide

When it comes to setting the perfect table, it is important to think beyond the plates, cutlery and even the napkins and tablecloth that you might use. The glass or crystal ware that you choose should be a carefully considered purchase that will enhance any setting so it is important to understand what you should be looking for.

What qualities to look for

What qualities to look for
When it comes to selecting the perfect crystal there are a few important indicators that you should look for, including:

  • Thickness – Good quality crystal stemware tends to be very fine, for both along the rim of the glass, and down the stem too.
  • Clarity – When held up to the light, quality crystal ware will display a rainbow prism effect – if it doesn’t then it is actually glass rather than real crystal. The better the clarity of the rainbow the higher the quality of the crystal.
  • Refraction – The lead content of crystal ware determines its index of refraction. This is the measure of the amount that light is bent by. Those materials with a higher index of refraction sparkle more because they are able to bend light more. Diamonds have one of the highest refraction indexes.
  • Cut – Crystal stemware often has patterns cut into it; this helps give it a beautiful look that refracts the light. Some crystal is cut by hand whilst some manufacturers offer hand cut crystal items.
  • Sound and weight – Good crystal will have a musical ring with a bit of an echo when tapped very gently. Weight wise, good quality crystal will be on the heavier side.
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The best way to ensure that you are getting is to purchase your special occasion crystal ware from a reputable company such as First Ireland who stock a wide variety of top brands and can help you make the best choice for your requirements.

Top Brands

When it comes to purchasing crystal, whether you are looking for stemware, decorative items for your home or even the perfect wedding gift for someone special, there are several different brands that are worth considering.

With a history of over 260 years working with crystal, Villeroy & Boch, who are known for the high quality of both their manufacturing techniques and the materials that they use, as well as their creative design, should certainly be on your list to look at.

Waterford Crystal is one of several top brands of crystal ware that is manufactured in Ireland. They produce a stunning range of prestigious tableware and gift products with some contemporary designs.

Different Types of Crystal

Different Types of Crystal
The term crystal is somewhat misleading; crystal glassware doesn’t in fact have a crystalline structure and is a form of glassware that is made from lead (sometimes referred to as mineral glass).

The more traditional lead crystal glass ware that you can purchase will have thin surfaces due to the ability of the material to be spun thinner, this makes it ideal for stemware offering you a thin edge or rim to your glasses but still retaining the necessary strength to withstand use. Lead crystal is very good at refracting light which is a very popular trait. Due to its fragility, this type of crystal should be treated with great care, washed by hand and stored away carefully.

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It is also possible to purchase lead-free crystal. Zinc and magnesium are used to create this type. It is a little more durable than lead crystal and some items are in fact dishwasher safe. However, putting glassware into the dishwasher is still something many people prefer not to do.

There are some regulations that cover the manufacturing of crystal glassware. In the UK a minimum mineral content of 24% is required. The higher the mineral content crystal ware has the better the strength of the items. Therefore, you should consider the items available from the leading crystal manufacturers as you can be assured that you are buying a good quality product.