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The Candlestick Corner BLOG

...from candle-lit dinners to candle safety-first. A blog by Claire - Unique Candleholders

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What is the difference between glass and crystal?

.. Lets make this perfectly clear?

Posting date: 21st March 2007 00:00

The answer to this depends on where you live in the world!

Technically, glass is an organic mixture that hardens without crystallization. It can be made from quartz sand, lime, soda, potash and lead oxide in varying proportions. The proportion of lead oxide is what determines whether it is "crystal" or not.

In Europe:
Glass contains less than 4% lead oxide.

Fine crystal - also known as crystalline - is made from a glass mixture that includes less than 10% lead oxide

Lead crystal has a glass mixture that contains at least 24% lead oxide. This is the top quality crystal. Hand cut glass needs to have 24% + lead oxide or it would break when cut or engraved.

In the USA:
Any glass that is "crystal clear" ie you can see through it perfectly, is crystal. This can contain as little as 1% lead oxide.

The difference between glass and crystal is evident to the natural eye. Crystal chandeliers, for example, will cast a colour spectrum throughout the roon. The higher the lead content, the more dazzling the chandelier.

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