Crystal goblets are a specific form of glass goblet.
The characteristic trait that identifies these in modernity is the clarity of the glass used to make a crystal goblet. Crystal goblets are made of a glass that is far clearer than a window pane and come in a number of varieties. The origins of the name 'Crystal' being placed on this variety of stemware is linked to the terms for clear glass in the Romance Languages (ie.: cristalo, cristallo, crystal).
Faceted patterns cut into the surface of the piece denote a specific sub sect of crystal goblets, known as Cut Crystal. Cut crystal is a tradition found mainly in Scandinavia, specifically Sweden, as well as Czech Republic, Poland and USA. Although there are many things made in the cut crystal tradition, cut crystal goblets are among the most elegant and beautiful. Their production is done similarly to that of ordinary glass goblets except that they are made thick enough to be cut on diamond, stone or copper wheels, and then polished, to create the faceting after being blown or press molded. The faceting in these goblets causes them to dance with the light and refract a variety of colors in rainbows reminiscent of those revealed by diamonds.
Uncut crystal goblets are usually made using the same combination of man and machine production used to make the kind of stemware found in restaurants and most stores that sell stemware. Crystal is a silica product that, until recently, was usually made using Lead as one of the base ingredients. Many countries where crystal goblets are produced have, due to health and environmental concerns made it illegal to melt lead.
Recent advances in glass chemistry have negated the need for lead to be used for fluxing or clarity in the base material batch. Although some contain lead, they are not harmful as the lead is bound on a molecular level in the glasseous state of the material when not in liquid form. The easiest way to tell the difference between leaded and non leaded goblets is the weight relative to the amount of material. Leaded goblets being dramatically heavier than their soda lime based counterpart.
Written by Ryan Staub.