Crystal Advice


What is the difference between crystal and glass?

Crystal is a mixture of lead oxide and glass. The addition of lead oxide makes crystal more reflective than glass, heavier than glass, and allows intricate engraving. If you have two glasses, one made of crystal and the other of glass, the difference is very apparent. The crystal glass will look brighter and more reflective, it will be much heavier, and it will make a pure and prolonged ringing sound when struck. 

Within Europe there are also technical definitions which determine what is glass and what is crystal. Glass contains less than 4% lead oxide. Fine crystal, or crystalline, contains less than 10% lead oxide. Lead crystal has a mixture that contains at least 24% lead oxide.

Lead crystal with at least 24% lead oxide is the highest quality crystal and hand-cut glass needs to have this type of mixture otherwise it would easily shatter when engraved or cut. The majority of our products are made from this highest quality 24% lead crystal.


How can I tell if I am buying crystal or glass?

Almost all of our products are made from the highest quality 24% lead crystal. We also offer a limited range of products that are made from other types of glass because their particular style of decoration (typically embedded colours), or their size, is not possible to manufacture in crystal.

This is clearly indicated in the material section of the product description. It will either indicate 24% crystal or glass. In some cases what we label as glass can technically be defined as fine crystal under EU definitions. However we find this definition can be confusing for customers and prefer the simple split between the highest quality crystal and everything else is glass.

Please note if you ever buy crystal from a country outside of Europe then the definitions can be different. For example in the USA glass with as little as 1% lead oxide can be labelled as crystal; though the difference in quality and beauty is obvious compared to 24% lead crystal.


Are all your products handmade?

Yes all are products are hand-blown and hand-cut or engraved. From the glassblower through to the engravers and cutters, each piece is individually made and passes through the hands of many different people during its creation. When you hold a piece of our crystal you know that it took the efforts of a team of artisans to create its beauty.


Where is your crystal made?

The majority of our crystal is made in the Bohemian region of the Czech Republic. This area has been making handmade crystal for over 600 years and the artisans in this region are justifiably regarded as the masters of cut glass and crystal. The name Bohemia Crystal refers specifically to the high quality crystal made in the region; in the same way Champagne and Parma ham refer to quality products from those regions. The reputation of crystal from Bohemia is well-known and respected throughout the world.


Why are there small variations between my pieces of crystal?

Because all our crystal is handmade then each piece is unique, even between glasses in the same set. The glassblower will always blow the glass slightly differently each time and the engraver will always make a slightly different cut. This means there will be small variations between pieces; it shows it was made by man and not by machine. 

In fact one of the simplest ways to tell if glass has been handmade is to weigh two pieces from the same set. If their weight is identical then they have been mass manufactured using glass moulds; something handmade can never be that accurate.



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