When we think of crystal chandeliers, most of us think of chandeliers that are draped with various clear crystal configurations that sparkle in the light. But not many know that there are several ways to make the crystals themselves. Three common processes to get to the finished crystals is by machine, by hand, and molded with a fire-polished finish.
Making crystal shapes by machine does allow for several machine cut crystal grades that determine price and appearance. High grade machine cut crystal will have a lead content of 30% or better, a clear and flawless appearance, and one that is characterized by razor-sharp machine cutting of facets to give a brilliant rainbow of colored appearance.
Hand cut crystal is made just like the name says by hand and not by machine. The first part is done on an iron and then on a sandstone wheel. The crystal is then hand-polished on a wood wheel by marble dust. The mark of authenticity is the faint traces of the woodwheel on the edges of the crystal.
A crystal can also be made by being molded and fire-polished. This Venetian crystal comes from the glass-making region in and around Venice. This molded crystal is not as brilliant as a machine cut crystal but has a softer luminosity to it which may appeal to some looking for that antique look.
Each of these processes can bring your new or existing chandelier it’s own look and unique history. Next time you’re looking at a crystal chandelier, determine the way in which it was made and appreciate the uniqueness of the crystal.