Whether an inherited heirloom or a newly-purchased treasure, crystal glassware, serving items and decorative pieces lend an unmistakable air of sophistication to any dining or living space. But it is important to care for your precious crystal items carefully so they continue to provide beauty and elegance to your space for years to come. Improper care can damage or ruin your carefully-selected, treasured pieces.
True crystal is an extremely fine lead-infused glass. The heft, brilliance and sparkle of crystal comes from lead oxide which has been added to the glass. Full lead crystal can be somewhat cloudy and contains 24 percent lead oxide. Half crystal contains 18 percent lead oxide and appears much clearer to the eye than full lead crystal. The ratio of lead to glass in crystal determines quality and price of these items. While the lead adds sparkle, shine, weight and value to what would otherwise be ordinary glass, the added lead also creates a softness and delicacy to the structure of each piece, which makes proper care extremely important.
General cleaning: Hand wash crystal pieces individually in moderately warm – not hot – soapy water. Consider using a plastic bin or wooden bowl to minimize contact with hard or damaging surfaces, or line your sink with a thick towel to provide ample cushioning. Move the water faucet away from crystal when washing to avoid accidental impact. Avoid extreme temperature changes, do not shock pieces with extremely hot or cold water, and never alternate rapidly between the two when cleaning. Be sure to rinse thoroughly, as soap residue and hard water stains can leave marks on pieces. Dry with a soft, lint-free cloth. Wash all serving pieces and place setting pieces before first use and immediately after every use. Remove rings and other jewelry before handwashing to minimize scratching and damage.
Unusual objects: The interiors of some vases, bottles, beverage decanters and other oddly-shaped items may be inaccessible for hand washing due to a narrow opening at the top of the piece. Pour a small measure of uncooked rice into the piece with warm, soapy water and swirl the mixture to allow the mild abrasiveness to clean the item, then empty and rinse thoroughly. Extra care should be taken when cleaning color coated crystal pieces, as excessive abrasiveness or improper use can scratch and mar the color coating.
A word about stemmed glasses and beverage decanters: Hold stemmed glasses by the stem when consuming beverages. Holding the item by the bowl of the glass may stress the piece unnecessarily. However, when washing, hold stem wear by the bowl, not the stem, and never twist the pieces in the opposite direction while cleaning. Food and drink should never be left in serving pieces for extended periods of time, as it can cause irreversible staining. Soaking pieces – such as glasses and decanters that will contain wine or other staining foods or beverages – in a vinegar and water solution prior to use can help to minimize discoloration.
Decorative items: Most decorative crystal pieces can be gently dusted using a soft cloth or carefully washed with a mild soap and water cleansing solution. To remove wax from crystal candlesticks, place candlesticks in the freezer for 10 minutes or less after wax has solidified. This will allow you to peel away the wax and buff the item clean. Do not attempt to use water to remove wax.
Things to avoid: The thin, delicate rims of most crystal items are the most delicate part of the piece, so never rest items on the rims while air drying or storing. Do not clean crystal in the dishwasher. The extreme temperatures, friction and abrasive cleaners can etch, dull, scratch and irreparably damage your precious and beautiful pieces or even cause breakage. Crystal should never be placed in the microwave or oven. Store all crystal pieces where they do not touch other items in order to minimize breakage.
Crystal pieces add an unforgettable flair to your dining table or home décor. With careful attention, your pieces will remain in impeccable condition to be enjoyed by generations to come. Discover beautiful decorative and functional crystal and carefully-curated assortment of beautiful and lavish luxury home decor at The Emperor’s Lane, your road to luxury.