Personalised Crystal

Crystal is used widely as a gift and even more so as an award in business and in sport. Some of the most attractive prizes given are made of crystal and these are in the hands of some of the most successful entrepreneurs and sports people. It’s certainly possible to hire someone to blow and cut the glass and end up with a unique piece, however it can be a costly process. For most of us who want to present someone with a gift we have a halfway option between off the shelf products and something personalised to the individual.

personalised crystal

For many people, the idea of a piece of crystal with the recipient’s name engraved is just too pedestrian for many occasions. With prizes in sports and business awards, the piece of crystal is representative, the prize isn’t as important as was being honoured by the body giving the award. Although the piece of crystal will sit on their desk, it represents far more than an interesting piece of design. With personal gifts this may not be enough. Personal gifts are all about showing to the recipient that you understand their ideals, their dreams and their loves. Although some don’t realise this is possible with personalised crystal.

There are various methods of engraving glass, some people use little grinders, others use sandblasting and there are many more methods from craft, traditional methods to high tech, high precision methods. The vast majority of methods are individual to the engraver and it is their skill that will determine what can be achieved. A skilled engraver can do far more than put someone’s name on a piece of crystal, they can very much personalise the crystal. If the recipient is a gardener a quality engraver will be able to create a meadow or a single, delicate rose on the glass. If the recipient is a musician then a finely crafted violin can be embedded in the crystal.

An accomplished engraver can turn a piece of crystal into far more than a simple bowl or vase. Many people have an idea that crystal is all about the piece of glass but it is much more than this. For an engraver, a quality piece of crystal is a canvas. It will let them transfer images and ideas onto a crafted crystal piece. Personalised crystal is exactly that, personalised. It can be personalised to truly reflect the recipient’s way of life while showing that theperson gifting the crystal has a love and understanding of the recipient.

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A short history of crystal glass

The history of lead crystal glass tells the story of one of man’s longest relationships with a beautiful material. The Irish have made glass for many centuries, but the industry only really started to win its worldwide reputation with a British decision on taxes in the 18th century.

A short history of crystal glass

Ever since man has known how to make glass, he’s been entranced by its beauty and practicality. Glass has been the province of the very rich and the day-to-day material from which we all drink our water.

Lead was found to improve the appearance of glass and its use has been perfected over centuries of use. Today, true lead glass is rare because of the dangers of using that material. Glass shouldn’t really be called crystal, because it isn’t a crystal, but the name, which was first used by Venetian glassmakers, has stuck to this day.

The earliest lead glass is found in Mesopotamia, (modern day Iraq) where the first glass was made. The oldest piece of lead glass can be dated to 1400 BC, but recipes for adding lead oxide to glass go back some 300 years earlier. Like many great discoveries, it was probably an accident.

Soon though the practice of adding oxides to colour glass and improve its working properties was commonplace. Medieval European glassmakers used lead to make glass look like precious stones.

By the 17th century, the Florentine priest Antonio Neri, could write a whole volume on lead glass, the first great printed work of the industry.

Neri’s work was translated into English and became the foundation work of the modern lead crystal industry thanks to its adoption by George Ravenscroft.

Ravenscroft’s family traded with the great seat of the European glass industry in Venice, and his factory was soon the world’s leading glass works as he discovered that local flint powder could be used in his glass, making it much cheaper.

Almost concurrently, Louis XIV of France stopped tolerating the worship of his protestant subjects and a wave of Huguenot refugees brought their glassmaking expertise to the British Isles.

The next part of the story of glass is one of tax.

Glass was sold, and assessed for tax, by its weight. As the industry flourished, so the British Government sought to cash in. With lead adding hugely to the weight as well as the quality of their work, glassmakers couldn’t simply ditch it. Instead, they innovated in design, producing wonderfully ornate and hollowed out pieces that were still strong but weighed less.

A short history of crystal glass

Tax reform then sent the industry to Ireland when, in 1780, the government declared the country a tax free zone for glass – makers, designers and investors simply upped sticks en-masse for Ireland, with cut glass makers finding their home in Waterford and Cork.

The first Irish crystal factory was already up and running, in County Tyrone, and was soon joined by the Penrose Glass factory in Waterford and the Cork Glass House. Ports were chosen so that the coal needed to make the glass could be imported to Ireland.

Such was the success of the Anglo-Irish industry that glassmakers in centres like Prague simply gave up trying to compete with their clear lead crystal and set about finding new specialities, like coloured glass, to carve out their own ground.

However, that tax advantage was soon wiped out, and the 1800 Act of Union included a ban on the export of any Irish glass. The Great Hunger hit the whole country, and many of the skilled glass craftsmen set sail as famine wreaked its terrible cost.

Waterford Crystal wasn’t back in business until the 1950s, but their success helped inspire a renaissance in the industry and the reigniting of a long gone tradition.

Makers like Tipperary Crystal and Galway Crystal have made traditional skills like glass blowing the heart of their operation and the great lineage of Irish art part of their design philosophy.

With higher costs and the recession setting in, unfortunately the majority of crystal manufacture is now done abroad, mostly on the continent. However, there are workshops in Ireland that use crystal products to create and personalise crystal gifts by hand.

Crystal Eire is proud to be a part of that historic association which has made Ireland the world’s centre for high quality crystal glass. A personalised crystal wedding gift is quite a popular present to exchange.

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Personalising Gifts

Personalising gifts

There’s no end of choice when you want to give a gift to someone special. One way to show that you really have given some thought to choosing your present is to make it unique by personalising it.

Crystal Eire crafts the finest designer products in a medium in which Ireland leads the world, crystal glass. And, they are perfect for engraving with a personal message or motto, family crest or special illustration to turn something beautiful into something unique.

Crystal Eire’s founder, Liam Caulfield, is a world-renowned designer who takes his inspiration from the millennia-old and always evolving traditions of Irish art.

Craftsmanship and attention to detail are at the heart of everything that Crystal Eire produces. Many of the products are handmade, using the skills that have made the Irish crystal glass industry an acknowledged world leader. These are lifelong gifts and more, made with a quality and skill that will make them family heirlooms for generations to come.

Just some of the items in the Crystal Eire range that can be personalised with the highest quality engraving, whether text or images, include:

Crystal book ends. Crystal christening mugs. Beautiful icebergs of finest Irish crystal glass can be set with a clock or simply engraved to your design. Standing stars are a striking, modern way to enjoy Irish crystal, and perfect for adding a special message to. Crystal cubes really display the flawless purity of this wonderful material and make wonderful trophies and personalised gifts. Tankards are a very traditional way to celebrate Irish crystal and enjoy a pint. Flutes are a more feminine and elegant way to raise a glass to your loved ones, made special with your personal message. Abstract square diamonds show the skills of the glasscutters at their best with angles that capture and reflect light. Tea lights and oil lamps are both a useful gift and a stunning way to highlight what makes this material so special as natural candlelight plays on and through your engraved message. Crystal raindrops are already unique – handmade so no two drops are alike – with wonderful colours encased in glass and your message engraved on its shining surface.

Crystal Eire also has a large range of sporting trophies, designed with both specific sports – rugby, football, GAA or basketball balls, and golf-themed designs – in mind and with beautiful abstracts – stars, wedges, shields – that can celebrate any achievement.

There are themed collections of Celtic and All American – Crystal Eire is a favourite of the NY Police and Fire Departments – designs. Family crests, Irish dancing motifs, religious, birthday and occasion messages can all help make a beautiful Irish crystal gift even more special.

There is a large collection of wedding gifts and favours for your and your friends’ special days. Corporate gifts and trophies can bring a personality to your company and show that your awards and rewards are thought out and genuine.

Crystal Eire has its own award-winning design department for whom no job is too small, the same care and attention to detail is brought to every project they tackle.

Many more of the products on our website can be personalised, just get in touch.

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