Ever purchase a “crystal” bowl, vase, or set of glasses and wonder if it’s just fancy looking glass? It just might be!
To be honest, there is no “official” definition separating the two. Marketing strategies by glassware companies include calling ordinary glassware “crystal” in order to charge higher prices for their goods. The only truly “crystal” glass is actually leaded glass that contains at least twenty-four percent of lead-oxide. The lead additive makes the glass heavier, more brilliant, and the ring sound associated with crystal. The softness of lead allows the glass to be hand cut, and also broken easier.
Due to the hazards of lead, its environmental impact and the toxic affect on our bodies, lead crystal is becoming less popular. Glass makers have yet to find a suitable substitute. To collectors, brilliance and color distinguish crystal from glass. In addition to lead, zinc, barium, titanium, potash, silica, soda-ash and soda-lime are all additives that glass manufacturers use and can affect brilliance and color. Green and aqua tints are from soda-lime and iron. Dark cola bottles have a lot of iron in them. Green glass is stronger than other glass hues.
Also distinguishing glass from crystal is that crystal has a crystalline structure upon close examination. Repeated across all three dimensions is a geometric pattern. The pattern increases sparkle and transparency. The more facets, the more brilliant the crystal is. Glass has a less organized structure and does not allow light to pass through as clearly.
Clear crystal is made from ingredients that are purer and is thus more transparent and is priced at higher values. This is what is commonly referred to as “fine” crystal.
When it comes to making glass choices for your residence or commercial building, Glass King has the expert knowledge of glass manufacturing and our educated installers and experts can help you make the right selection for your home. Whether it is decorative glass, mirrors, custom glass installation, or ordinary window glass repair, call us at 480-389-5656.