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Crystal FAQ

Types of crystal
Crystal may be machine cut, hand cut or molded. Within each crystal type, Schonbek buys only the finest quality. A description of each crystal type used by Schonbek is as follows:

Swarovsky Strass Crystal
Finest crystal in the world, Strass is manufactured by Swarovsky AG in the Austrain Alps. Clear as spring water, totally free of flaws,unique in purity and brilliance, Strass crystal is characterized by razor sharp machine cutting of facets. Lead content is in excess of 30%. An invisible coating makes Strass easier to clean.

Swarovsky Spectra Crystal
A passion for perfection has made Swarovski the world leader in the production of cut crystal. This Swarovsky crystal grade offers a high degree of brilliance and an attractive price.

Heritage Handcut Crystal
The methods of producing hand cut crystal go back centuries. First the crystal is cut by hand in two stages on an iron and then a sandstone wheel. Then each crystal is hand polished on a wood wheel with marble dust. You may notice faint traces of the woodwheel, a mark of authenticity. Our crystal makers put aside their first quality hand cut crystal for us, and we select the best of the best from this choice inventory. In some cases we ourselves have trained artisians in the ancient craft of cutting and polishing crystal.

Optic Quality Heritage Handcut
A Schonbek innovation. This exceptionally fine hand cut crystal formerly used only in optical equipment and scientific instruments, is remarkably refractive.

Hand Cut Bohemian Pendeloques
The molds used to make the classic hand cut Bohemian crystal pendelequos were in the possession of the Schonbeck company (then in Bohemia) over one hundred years ago.

Gemcut Crystal
Gemcut is first quality, machine cut crystal of a clarity and flawlessness beyond industry standards. It is characterized by prismatic brilliance, visual purity, sharp faceting and precise polishing.

The Legacy Collection
This crystal comes from the glass making regions in and around Venice. Venetian crystal is molded and fire polished rather than cut, which results in a subtle luminosity rather than brilliance. Interior designers often prefer this antique look of Venetian crystal.

Vintage Crystal
This crystal recalls estate jewelry or perhaps a vintage crystal chandelier found in the attic. Nostalgic shapes include whimsical little beads, dainty droplets and tiny antique style faceted ovals. Chains upon chains of fanciful beading or jewel like octagons recall forgotten fashions.

Rock Crystal
Rock crystal is a natural quartz prized by collectors since ancient times. Wondrous fissures and mists, billions of years in the forming, make each crystal unique in the universe. The raw crystal is mined, not manufactured. It can not be mass produced. Skilled gem cutters gring, cut and polish each rock crystal by hand. Polishing one crystal to perfection could take a week. Rock crystal is cool to the touch in any weather. Sublime geological events created this mysterious coolness.

How to recognize fine crystal
The characteristics that distinguish fine crystal are apparent to the naked eye. Possible imperfections include lack of clarity, bubbles, chips and scratches. Rock crystal is judged differently from glass crystal. Inclusions, fissures, and constellations are considered a mark of beauty in this natural quartz. Lead content is not necessarily a gaurantee of fine quality. Lead simply acts as a softening agent, making glass easier to cut and polish.

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