Lead crystal is produced following an eight-step process that can only be carried out by experienced artisans. It’s an intricate process, and attention to quality is essential at every step. Artists start with a mix of silica sand, potash and red lead. The amount of lead used can vary from house to house, but the manufacturing process remains the same.
The base cocktail is melted down in a furnace heated to nearly 2,200 degrees Fahrenheit. Controlling furnace conditions is essential to protecting glass purity.
A team of four to seven artists transfers the mass of molten crystal to wooden blocks or molds that will be used to give it shape. The crystal is blown to fit the mold.
The glass blowers continue their art to create a chamber in the vessel. Pieces such as handles are added.
The piece is moved to an annealing oven that helps slow down the cooling process and improve durability.
Once it’s cooled, an artists can draw a pattern onto the vessel. Rough cuts are made using special wheels.
A sandstone wheel is used to dress the rough cuts so that the finished design comes together.
Once all cutting is complete, the piece is dipped in a mix of hydrofluoric and sulphuric acids. The acids help remove a thin layer of glass to leave a uniform surface with high luster.
On some pieces, a process called intaglio is used to engrave text, portraits or other illustrations.
Once the process is completed, each piece is carefully inspected to ensure that it meets quality and design standards.
At CARLO QUATRO, we pride ourselves on creating beautiful products that meet the very highest standards. If it’s lead crystal you’re dreaming of, we can help.