Glass, crystal, what’s the difference?
From a distance, wine glasses made with either material look the same, but they are more different than you realise. Both materials are similar in composition. They start as melted sand that becomes a firm, translucent material we call glass.
Crystal is unique because it has a high proportion of minerals (traditionally lead) in it, which makes it stronger and clearer, amongst other advantages. Crystal wine glasses are the standard for quality restaurants and wine lovers alike, and with the development of lead-free crystal, the pristine crystal glassware is unmatched.
Here are a few reasons why.
Glass stemware has thick bowls and rims; the material needs a certain thickness not to break. Crystal is a much harder material, so it's used to create thin, elegant, ultra-thin wine glasses. There’s nothing more pleasurable than picking up a delicate crystal wine glass and feel the thin rim kissing your lips as you sip your favorite wine. You’ll never get that feeling with a glass vessel.
Crystal is a noble material. It has refracting properties like a prism, decomposing the light coming through in the form of a rainbow. Crystal wine glasses are glossier and more transparent than glass; they have a sparkly personality and an incredible brightness. If you’re into tasting wine, you know that the sense of sight plays a big part in enjoying it. The wine colors are better appreciated in a crystal glass, whether they’re ruby-red, garnet, pale, straw, or golden-hued.
Of course, today, both crystal and glass stemware is made in factories, but the best producers emulate the blown stemware made by artisans in the old days. With thin rims and smooth joins from base to stem to bowl. The best machine blown crystal wine glasses have an undescriptive noble essence and are incredibly precise; consistent shapes and identical measures, every time. You can feel their noble character as you pick them up, they’re beautiful — authentic pieces of art.
For a time, a huge advantage of glass stemware over crystal was the fact that, since glass is inert and non-porous, it’s dishwasher safe. Traditional lead crystal is porous and not suitable for washing in the appliance. This is not the case anymore, most crystal stemware is dishwasher safe now, so sip your wine and relax without having to clean afterwards.
Although crystal glasses are thinner than your average glass stemware, crystal is a stronger material, and it lasts longer. Of course, they should be handled with care (watch out for the kids!) but your collection of wine glasses will never lose its shiny personality, and they’ll hardly ever scratch. If you love wine, consider investing in fine crystal glasses, they’ll take your wine tasting experience to another level, and for that, you can thank us later.
Coming from a glassware company, of course we would say more the better! But in reality it comes down to how much you value the drinking experience.
The industry is moving away from varietal glasses (aka different glass shapes for different wines or alcohol) to universal shapes that work for many wines. For example the latest trending sommelier endorsed crystal wine glass is $100 per glass.
Rule of thumb: Spend as much on a wine glass as you would your average bottle of wine
Now that you have a beautiful set of crystal wine glasses learn to take proper care of them.
Enjoy wine like it’s meant to be enjoyed, in a good, shiny crystal wine glass. It’s not just the colour that it’s enhanced; it’s the aromas and flavours too. Bring out the best of your wine and share it with the ones you love.