|All Swarovski crystal (in |
other words, lead glass)
and sterling silver suncatcher
First things first - how is it that a 'wine glass' can be 'crystal'? Didn't I say previously that crystal had an ordered structure and glass did not? Yes. Crystal wine glasses aren't crystal. They are made of glass. They are made of a specific kind of glass that has had lead added to it to make it more reflective and prismatic. The use of 'crystal' to describe this substance is historic, coming from Murano glass manufacturing in Venice. In those days the manufacturers were trying to imitate some of the properties of natural quartz crystal. This idiom, or convention, has remained. 'Lead glass' is the same as 'lead crystal' is the same as 'the stuff my crystal wine glass is made of.'
This confusion of terms has translated to the bead market, where both glass, lead glass, and synthetic and natural crystal are all used side by side.
So what is it about high quality, expensive 'crystal', like say Waterford, that makes it so desirable? Regular water glasses, even if nicely etched and cut, do not have the flash and brilliance of, say, Waterford crystal faceted wine glasses. As I said before, lead has been added to regular 'glass' to make it 'lead crystal'. Lead increases the index of refraction of regular glass, which means that light going through the material is reflected around more, and also split like a prism. 'Fine cut lead crystal' is a phrase that means a sparkling, fiery wine glass that will look impressive on the dinner table.
|Gorgeous trio of designer glass|
earrings. Even the Swarovski crystal
accents are of course glass.
I'll talk more about why I choose to use various glass and crystal materials in a later post!
Images: Suncatcher and earrings are our designs, and available in our Etsy store. Stop by to see these and similar items!