Where does bohemian crystal comes from ?
Glass and antique Bohemian crystal has been a tradition for over 800 years. It was, and still is, made in what is today the Bohemian region of the Czech Republic. Early versions of the glass were called forest glass because of its green color and the predominance of woods in this region. Bohemian glass is considered by some to be the best glass in the world because of its beautiful jewel tones and brilliant cuts. The combination of high lead content and the raw materials used to create the glass - potash and quartz sand - make Bohemian glass a highly prized addition to the antique cut glass collection. Bohemian makers today still use the same designs that have been in production for hundreds of years, and there are no identifying marks to determine the age of a piece, so spotting a true antique is a bit difficult. Bohemian crystal is most commonly used for crystal glasses, stemware, pendants, earrings, chandeliers or necklaces.
Recognizing Bohemian Crystal
Bohemian crystal can be used to make different objects like vases, candlesticks, flasks, or to adorn jewelry sparkle. To recognize if you are in possession of a Bohemian crystal, follow the indications below:
Check the purity. Strike a piece of glass with your fingernail. The richer the tone, the higher the lead content.Bohemian lead crystal has a high lead content of 24%. In addition to the tone, a high lead content causes more refraction of light once the glass is cut, creating more sparkle.
Check the color. Since the 1850s, Bohemian glass has been available in transparent pink, red, cobalt and light blue, amber and green, but the earliest Bohemian glass was forest green, often with a gold band or enamel border.
- Examine the cuts made in the glass with a magnifying glass. Fine Bohemian glass looks like lace. The high lead content allows for exceptional cut execution, but the cuts should not be completely uniform, as they were made by hand.
- Look for signs of wear. The wear should be in random places, not uniform. Look for wear in places where your fingers naturally circle the glass, or where two sections meet. Use a magnifying glass to see scratches. Scratches that are uniform in width or that all run in the same direction have probably been added to a new glass to mimic the signs of wear.
Difference between glass and crystal
The meaning of crystal differs from country to country. In the western world, however, crystal is most often called glass with lead. If you come across the term lead-free crystal, it is simply not crystal. What we are talking about when we say Bohemian crystal, is glass made in the traditional Bohemian region with a lead content of at least 24%.
How to clean Bohemian crystal?
Crystal glasses, ornaments and pieces should not be washed in the dishwasher, as they may be damaged by high heat and harsh detergents and lose their luster. Here's how to wash them by hand to keep them in perfect condition:
- Line the bottom of a container completely with a tea towel or two, then fill it with warm water and ivory dishwashing liquid (or your favorite mild detergent). Wash one crystal piece at a time.
- Rinse with a solution of 3 parts warm water and 1 part white vinegar.
- Dry with a soft cotton cloth and return it to its place.
This process produces a sparkling
result. If the crystal is very dirty, you can rub it gently with a soft cotton cloth or a very soft toothbrush.