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The Look Of Class: Crystal

Use exquisite crystalware to add a touch of shimmer and catch the light at your table. Nothing says elegance more than finely cut crystalware. But don't confuse crystal with ordinary glass. Crystal is a high quality glass produced with more lead oxide. This makes it harder so it can be more finely cut. It's also more clear, so it reflects light with more sparkle and fire.

When you buy from top brands, ask for use and care tips too. You'll learn that crystal stemware (or drinking glasses) come in four basic shapes: The round bowl is for water; the bucket shape is for juice; a flared bowl is for white wine; and a tulip-shaped bowl is for red wine.
You can also choose from hand-cut, machine-cut, frosted, etched and even colored crystal.

The surface of crystal may look smooth, but actually it has microscopic pores which can fill with cleaning soap. This can give your drink an unpleasant taste. Similarly if you store crystal glasses in a musty cupboard, they absorb odors. So wash crystal glasses before you use them. Some people say you should test a crystal glass by flicking your fingernail against it.

Actually, this is a bad idea as it causes vibrations which result in minute splits in the rim. These tiny flaws may be invisible, but they weaken the glass so it chips more easily. Though crystal can withstand very high or low temperatures, it hates sudden changes. Never place iced water into a warm decanter without first rinsing it in cool water - the decanter may crack instantly.

Caring For Crystal

To Clean

  • Rinse immediately after use to avoid stains and deposits.
  • Hand-wash in warm soapy water. Never wash gold- or platinum-banded crystal in the dishwasher.
  • Place a rubber mat in the sink and a rubber cover over taps to prevent accidental slips and chips. Remove rings and bracelets that can damage crystals.
  • Hand-dry crystals with a lint-free cloth.
  • Remove water spots with a damp cotton bud dipped in white vinegar.

To Store

  • Keep crystal stemware upright. Don't store crystal glasses upside down as this stresses the delicate rim.
  • Leave space between the rims of each glass. Our warm climate makes crystal expand, and the glasses can chip each other if they touch for too long.
  • Keep away from direct sunlight or icy air-conditioners as crystal may discolor, become brittle - and even break.

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