What You Need to Know About Waterford Crystal

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Crystal adds an elegant touch to any setting. Whether it’s a beautiful vase holding fresh flowers, sparkling champagne flutes at a wedding reception or a decadent decanter in your bar setup, crystal catches the light and draws the eye in. If you’re looking for quality and craftsmanship, Waterford Crystal is renowned for making some of the most stunning crystal pieces in the world.

For 200 years, Waterford Crystal has been drawing on the tradition of Irish glassmaking and innovative new designs to produce everything from tumblers to decorative bowls, jewelry holders and more. When it comes to luxury crystal items, Waterford is the world leader. 

New Waterford Crystal pieces can be pricey, but the good news is you can often find authentic items at online auctions, estate sales and other events and venues where you can find thrifted items. As long as you know what to look for, you can often obtain great deals on these iconic glassware pieces.

The History of Waterford Crystal

Waterford Crystal was born when brothers George and William Penrose decided to open a glass-making factory in Waterford, Ireland. Their goal was to produce only the finest quality glass items that could be used as drinking vessels and decorative items for the home. They called their factory Waterford Glassworks.

From the beginning, the beautiful items that Waterford Glassworks produced were highly regarded for their clarity, exquisite detail and exceptional beauty. The company thrived well into the mid-1800s. However, when the economic climate in Ireland took a downturn, the company was forced to close in 1853.

Over the next century, many people toyed with the idea of reviving Waterford Glassworks. Ireland has a long tradition of glassmaking and many people were keen to breathe new life into this artistic industry. In addition, Waterford Glassworks had such a strong reputation for producing quality crystal that many saw it as a solid business investment.

It took a collaboration between Dublin jeweler Bernard Fitzgerald and Czech glassmaker Kael Bacik to finally bring Waterford back to life. By 1947, the new factory was up and running. Its location was just minutes away from the old factory in Waterford, Ireland.

Bacik hired his former intern, Miroslav Havel, as the Chief Designer. Havel took the role very seriously, spending hours studying the traditional cutting patterns of previous Waterford pieces. He used these as inspiration for the Lismore line, which came out in 1957. Lismore went on to become the world’s best-selling crystal pattern.

Today Waterford Crystal is produced in various factories across Europe and the commitment to quality is maintained at every production center. The fine crystal products are still highly sought after by discerning collectors and lovers of fine craftsmanship. Westminster Abbey boasts Waterford chandeliers and the famous New York City crystal ball that drops on New Year’s Eve in Times Square is made of Waterford crystal.

Types of Waterford Crystal Pieces

Since its revival after WWII, the House of Waterford Crystal has been producing a mix of gorgeous traditional crystal pieces as well as dynamic new designs by some of the world’s top designers. The company produces everything from drinking vessels to decorative items and more. These are just a few of the items Waterford Crystal produces:

  • Champagne flutes
  • Wine glasses
  • Tumblers
  • Decanters
  • Vases
  • Punch bowls
  • Decorative serving bowls
  • Nut and candy bowls
  • Cake plates
  • Serving utensils
  • Ring holders
  • Picture frames
  • Clocks
  • Chandeliers

How To Identify Authentic Waterford Crystal Pieces

Waterford Crystal makes some of the most luxurious, highly sought-after crystal pieces in the world, so it should come as no surprise that there are many copycat designs out there. However, there are a few things you can look for that will tell you whether a piece is a true Waterford Crystal item.

All Waterford Crystal items should have an acid watermark with the company’s name or signature seahorse trademark. This mark is usually hidden away at the base of an item, within grooves or along the stem of a glass. You can often find it by holding the item up to the light and using a magnifying glass.

Another way to tell if an item is a true Waterford is the quality. Real crystal is much heavier than glass, so that should be your first indication. Crystal also acts as a prism when you hold it up to the light, so it should display rainbows within the glass. Finally, crystal produces a chime when you tap the rim, unlike glass which produces a solid thud.

Back of Waterford Paperweight
Irish Waterford Crystal Creamer

Where to Can You Find It?

It makes sense that the first place to look for Waterford Crystal is the company itself. When you buy directly from the company, you’re guaranteed authenticity. However, new pieces can be very expensive. In addition, some people prefer the older vintage styles and patterns. Buying thrifted Waterford Crystal can save you money and give you access to unique pieces.

If you’re looking for second-hand Waterford Crystal items, an online auction site like MaxSold is a great option. Online auctions offer a huge variety of items and you can score great deals. For example, all items at MaxSold start at a bidding price of $1. Other places to find second-hand Waterford Crystal pieces include antique shops, flea markets and other online marketplaces.

If you’re interested in buying beautiful Waterford Crystal pieces and other vintage items for the home, MaxSold is the place to start your search. MaxSold is a leading online auction company in North America where you can hunt for hidden gems and unique treasures by bidding on local auctions near you. Register today to start your search for stunning Waterford Crystal and other treasures! 

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Browse Waterford Crystal in an auction near you!

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