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Hand-made layered crystal and its journey from the smelter to your home

Handmade production of Bohemia lead crystal    Hand-made layered crystal is a great beauty, but its production can be very tricky and demanding. It takes dozens of hours and hands to finish the final product. Let´s take a journey of such product from the smelter to your home.

The layered crystal is made of two layers - the base is clear lead crystal. It has an unrivaled gloss, is more difficult to manufacture, has a higher density, less thermal conductivity and is more durable. It has greater demands on the craft and skill of the glassmaker. Therefore, the lead crystal has a much higher value, which is reflected in the price compared to lead-free crystal.


A colored layer of crystal is combined with this clear base made of lead crystal (colors are achieved by adding various metal oxides - purple, cyan, ruby, blue, green, black).
 The end result is, for example, this splendid bowl. What is it´s journey from the smelter to your home?

 

1) The mold

First, the mold is needed. It helps create the shape of the end product. Beech wood macerated in water is used for the production of molds. From this soaked log, a mold of the desired shape is crafted by lathe, the details are formed by a chisel. Then the mold is halved and after complete re-measurement and marking is prepared for duty.

Molds must be changed frequently because they are in constant contact with hot enamel and are subject to wear and tear. However, due to macerating in water, this process slows down a lot. The production of molds is demanding on accuracy and sometimes a missing finger is not far from happening.


2)  The smelter

The smelter is a busy place, the Masters and their assistants work their sweat and blood there. The magic takes place there, which is mastered only by the best of the best - blowing, rolling and final shaping of the raw hot glass. Everything is done manually, only with the help of their own lungs, coordinated movements and an arsenal of tools.

The production of the layered crystal is possible only by hand, No technologically better method has been discovered so far. This also indicates the high value of the final product.

From the clear molten lead glass (1400 ºC / 2552 °F), a piece of it is put on the glassmakers flute. The Master glassmaker blows a primal hot sphere and then gradually forms shapes of the future product.

When cooled to 800 ºC /
1472 °F, a colored layer of crystal is combined with the basic shape. Final shaping takes place freely, so-called by hand, or the basic shape is blown by the Master glassmaker into a wooden mold to give the base of the product its final shape.

This whole process is very demanding, not only for time, muscles, lungs and coordination. It requires practice, feeling the glass and a great deal of toughness, because everything takes place at the smelter. And there is a hell of a heat. Constantly. Because the smelter never goes cold.


3) Grinding wheel

The semi-finished product travels from the smelter to the grinding wheel. The grinding wheel is used to smooth the edges of the semi-finished product at the top and bottom, as its removal from the glassmakers flute leaves an imperfect surface.


4) Pre-drawing

On the way from the grinding wheel to the grinding mill, the semi-finished products make a stop in the drawing room, where the decor guide lines are pre-drawn. Czech grinders are masters of their craft, so they do not need to have the decor pre-drawn in detail.

The Master grinder is guided by the simple lines naturally to preserve the greatest artistic value of each piece. This ensures that each piece is truly original.


5) Grinding mill

The processing of the layered crystal is more complicated not only at the smelter, but also in the grinding mill. It´s due to the fact that the color layer is opaque. Unlike clear crystal, it is not possible to visually estimate how deep it can be ground.

The Master Grinder must have many years of experience to estimate the correct depth of the cut. He is fully aware that if they grind too deep, the color layer will be ground where it´s not supposed to be, the product will be irreversibly degraded. Such crystal piece will never make it on the shop counters.

Grinding takes place under running water, using diamond grinders.


6) Polishing

The last step of production is polishing, which takes place for complete cleaning and thus highlighting the gloss and the cut décor. Then the product moves into the packing line.


7) Packing line

The complete products are marked with the sticker of the glassworks from which they came and are securely packed in gift boxes. After that they travel to the warehouse, or directly on an expedition to our e-shop.


8) E-shop

Once we stock the products, you can find them in the e-shop marked IN STOCK. Then all you have to do is order and they will arrive at your home.

And they will live there happily ever after :)

Addendum: Depending on the design, the final product can be decorated with painted gold, platinum or by sandblasting.

The final product can be compared to a work of art, such as a beautiful symphony or an oil painting. It is simply and undoubtedly an immortal piece of art worth tens of hours of hard work of many people, experience and artistic talent.

The layered crystal is the pride of Czech glassmaking history. Want to know more? Visit the article on the history of glass.