Caring For Your Crystal
Enjoy your Brierley Hill Crystal, please respect its delicacy and use it wisely.
Take care when cleaning, that the crystal does not come into contact with other solid objects.
Crystal is not dishwasher friendly.
Crystal should be hand washed with warm soapy water and dried carefully.
Avoid putting very cold or hot liquids into your crystal as this can cause your crystal to break or crack.
Do not place your crystal upside down when drying due to delicate rims.
Lead crystal glass is one of the four main categories of glass primarily used for decorative purposes.
It becomes ‘lead’ glass when lead oxide is added during the manufacturing stage to replace calcium
oxide. The lead is added as it reduces the temperature of the molten material to allow for increased
‘work time’ with the glass. The addition of lead also provides an improved look to the finished
product through increasing the refractive index and density of the glass, making it a clearer, less
flawed substance. The term ‘crystal’ is misleading as there is no crystal structure within the glass as
it is an amorphous solid, meaning that the arrangement of the elements in glass is variable and held
together by tight chemical bonds.
Traditional English full lead crystal contains a minimum of 30% lead oxide, but any glass containing at
least 24% lead oxide is classified as lead crystal. Glass which contains less than 24% lead oxide is
known as crystal glass. The lead is locked away within the chemical structure of the glass and should
not pose a risk to human health. A typical composition for lead crystal glass is: 25% oxygen, 30%
silicon, 25% lead, 10% sodium or potassium, 10% calcium, 1% other components such as iron, tin
and fluorine – which are added to alter the chemical and physical properties of the glass.
Lead crystal glassware has lost popularity in recent years due to the potential health risks of lead
products. Now, more commonly ‘reduced-lead’ or ‘lead-free’ crystal glass is manufactured using zinc
oxide, potassium oxide or barium oxide to substitute the lead to produce a similar product.
What is Lead Crystal Glass Used For?
Lead crystal glass has many uses in various industries, with applications ranging from its use as table
glassware to shielding healthcare and scientific workers from radiation. The most common uses of
lead crystal glass are drinking glasses, ornaments, decanters, jewellery, optical lenses, enamels and
lacquers, glass sealants and solders and radiation shielding from gamma and x-rays. The wide scope
of applications is made possible by the physical, chemical and mechanical properties of lead.