To our delight, cut glass and crystal has been manufactured for several centuries throughout Europe. Of all of the places in this region, the English were both renowned and revered by competing countries for their high-quality crystal production because they employed the best skills provided by these artisans.
Needless to say, each country felt that they had superior artisans in comparison and boasted of its quality production. However, the truth of the matter is that each of these European countries produced great glass and crystal of superior quality.
This exceptional craftsmanship was due to the fact that they equally had great chemists, modellers and designers who were constantly trying to discover new innovations in the production. Each county produced better glass as the decades and centuries passed, and over time, we were the fortunate recipients of their talent and artistry.
In addition to the renowned glass artisans in England, glass houses elsewhere in Europe thrived throughout the 1800s. Baccarat in France, Val St. Lambert of Belgium, Egermann in Bohemia, Orrefors in Sweden, Swarovski in Austria and Waterford in Ireland also became leading lead crystal manufacturers.
Regardless of its quality or nationality, it was common practice for whoever was specializing in a specific type of glass to claim that their products were the best ever produced. As you might guess, competition was fierce amongst the top glass houses because they were all trying to capture the attention of their prospective markets.
As with any manufactured goods, there were different grades and quality of glass produced in each country. The quality could vary dramatically from producing very poor to very high quality by the same factory. Naturally, the high-quality crystal was produced for the very wealthy who could afford the best money could buy. Alternatively, the lower quality crystal was produced for the masses who couldn’t afford the top notch pieces.
However, not all was well all of the time because during depressions, recessions, and wars, many factories were forced to produce inferior grades of glass just for their survival.
Fortunately for us, regardless of the circumstance or country of origin, we still have a passion for quality cut crystal and glass. These beautiful pieces of art will always be treasured and avidly sought by people worldwide as well as collectors.