We use it every day, but how much do we really know about it? On special occasions it is our custom to drink champagne, wine or other spirits. Toasts in honour of the birthday person, jubilarians or newlyweds have become an inseparable element of the parties. But what is essential in such moments? The right glasses! For the average person the difference between glass and crystal may be difficult to notice. In fact, many people claim that they are identical. However, it is worth paying attention to a few details.
Crystal is, in technical language, lead glass. However, it is worth remembering that we do not need to have very extensive knowledge to be sure that a product is in fact crystal.
Crystals can be slightly thinner than glass and have more decorative elements. This is because the presence of lead lowers the working temperature and allows easier processing. Crystal is more liable to be carved and shaped. However, this is time-consuming work.
Standard glass is heated to high temperatures and the working time for blowing and shaping it is short.
Glass – especially soda-lime glass – is cloudy. On the other hand, crystal is known for its clarity, and therefore it is used to make jewellery, glasses or chandeliers. Due to the lead content, it gives greater clarity.
The quality of refraction, or light refraction, has a lot in common with lead content. Products with a lead content of between 36 and 70% shine more in the sun. Optically clear crystal is one step further than glass, it is polished to a smooth surface without any imperfections or distortions.
The crystal is cut and polished in a precise manner. This makes it smooth to the touch. Unlike glass, which tends to be fragile and sharp.
This is another key difference. By lightly striking a piece of cutlery against crystal and tapping a traditional glass product the difference is also noticeable, in fact audible. Crystal is more “sonorous”. Glass, on the other hand, emits a low, massive and hollow sound.
The difference between crystal and standard glass is also related to the weight of both materials. Crystal is definitely heavier than standard glass. For comparison, a set of 6 whisky glasses weighs 2.3 kg, while a glass set weighs 1.7 kg.