What Is Fine Crystal?

What is fine crystal? Fine crystal is made with minimal amounts of lead. Fine crystal is considered high quality glass. In order for the product to be classified as crystal rather than glass, at least 10%...

Fine crystal is considered high quality glass. In order for the product to be classified as crystal rather than glass, at least 10% lead oxide has to be present.

"The definition of crystal is essentially clear glass," says Glenn DeStefano, the marketing director at Lenox. He has been with the company for five years. "Most people, when they say crystal, are referring to something that has lead in it."

Lead is what gives crystal the brilliance. When crystal is fired, lead helps bring out the extraordinary quality of brilliance, sound and texture in the crystal.

"When you see a crystal vase and the light hits it and it sparkles, that is because of lead," says DeStefano. With vases and bowls, the lead content isn't high enough to be harmful. Most of crystal stemware has 24 percent lead content, and most high-end glasses are lead or have lead content in them. "Companies do make higher-end glasses that are lead free, but the harm level within it is not something that could really affect or hurt any human," says DeStefano.

Fine crystal is also related to the level of craftsmanship that goes into each piece. If a piece is made exceptionally well, then it is referred as fine crystal. According to jewelrysupplier.com, some of the finest crystal ever made is from Baccarat in France and Waterford in Ireland. When the crystal production expanded its scope at Baccarat, the company built a reputation for having the best stemware, chandeliers, barware and perfume bottles.

Proper care and usage of fine crystal can help an owner maintain it in top condition and make it last forever. When taking care of crystal stemware, the items can be placed in the dishwasher if they specify they are safe for dishwashers.

"For very fine crystal, we typically recommend hand washing," says DeStefano. With fine crystal, the top part of glasses where a person drinks has a tendency to get hit on the sides of the dishwasher. The glass can crack this way very easily. Also, if one is not careful, the dishwasher can get so hot that it heats up the glass. The glass can become weaker when it is hot, causing it to be more prone to breakage. If one opens their dishwasher right after it has finished the cycle, the crystal could crack.

"For the everyday use of moderate crystal, the dishwasher is safe," says DeStefano. When using a dishwasher, load it so that two pieces of crystal do not touch, chip or crack.

According to robmcintoshchina.com, one should use the gentle cycle on a dishwasher with a smaller amount of detergent. Let the china cool before unloading. Do not use a heated drying cycle and do not use highly abrasive detergents. When storing fine china, place something between each plate to avoid scratches. Do not place items in extreme temperatures and do not place gold-rimmed items in microwave. Crystal stemware is not recommended for the dishwasher if it is considered fine crystal. Very fine products that one wants to have for a long time should be hand washed and dried carefully with a soft cloth.

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