Crystal Clear: Mother’s Day Ideas

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When it comes to your mom, you want only the best. Fine crystal is one way to show her how much you care. If you are lucky, your mom chose her crystal pattern years ago, and you simply give her a piece in her favorite pattern to add to the family heirlooms.

If not, the sky’s the limit. There are so many lovely pieces by both classic brands that have been around for centuries and by a few exciting newcomers. Among the better-known brands are Baccarat, Waterford, Lalique, Steuben, Cashs Ireland and Lenox. Any of these brands have lovely crystal glassware that your mom will be proud to own.

Baccarat, founded in 1764 in France, is the oldest brand. Baccarat is known for its perfume bottles, figurines, tableware and decorations. They are masters at form and the use of red, green and amethyst color in their designs. Baccarat is consistently at the leading edge of innovation and craftsmanship in crystal making, and as a result it is priced at the top end. A piece of stemware starts around $200 and goes up to over $3,000 for the long-stemmed, colored Tsar collection.

Waterford is an Irish company that originated in 1783. The brand is distributed around the world and the classic pieces are very affordable, providing beautiful crystal for the modern homemaker. One of their newest endeavors is making glass trophies for sporting events. Their Lismore wine glasses start at about $95.

Lalique began in France under the guidance of jewelry designer Rene Lalique, who began working with glass as early as 1888. The company transitioned from glass work to crystal upon his death in 1945. Lalique is synonymous with the feminine form, especially in its Bacchantes vase designed by Rene Lalique. A beautifully designed 100 Points universal wine glass can be your mom’s for around $185.

Steuben was launched in 1903 in Corning, New York, and quickly became known for their crystal sculptures. Steuben has collaborated with many famous artists such as James Houston, whose Arctic Fisherman is a masterpiece of precision in crystal. Another famous piece is Disney’s glass slipper. Steuben’s elegant Whisper collection combines traditional shapes with sweeping “breath” lines cut gracefully into the vessel. Steuben’s Whisper wine glasses sell for about $125; other pieces include the champagne glass, shot glass and martini glass.

Cashs Ireland was first established in Cork, Ireland and for years produced hand-crafted crystal in several factories in Waterford, Ireland. A pair of champagne flutes runs about $79. Cashs notes that crystal is a sustainable and recyclable product, if it’s broken.

Lenox is a United States brand initiated in 1889 dedicated to excellence in fine crystal and china. Six U. S. presidents have commissioned sets of china for the White House to reflect the taste of the period. Wine glasses have been created to reflect wines from cool or warm regions to enhance the type of wine. A set of four Tuscany Classics Collection warm-region wine glasses is around $80.
While it’s not strictly crystal, Murano makes beautiful glassware with the eye-catching colors for which hand-blown Murano pieces are known. Crafted by artisans on two small islands near Venice, a pair of Murano wine glasses is about $204 while a set of six colored Murano champagne flutes is about $500.

For a mom living a relaxed life, novelty glassware is fun. Novelty glass encompasses artisan-decorated glassware and those with funny quips that create laughter when they are brought out for friends. The good thing about novelty glassware is that you don’t cringe when they get broken.

Una Alla Volta, or One at a Time in Italian, features unique pieces created by various artisans. Their wine glasses may be hand painted, gilded, Murano-styled glass or hand-blown glassware in different colors. Prices are reasonable, with wine glasses from $50 up, and no two items will be alike. For example, the hand-gilded sunflower wine glass, holding 20 ounces, is created in Verona, Italy, from ordinary glass pieces. Artisans apply stucco flowers to the glass and add a layer of color and gold leaf by hand. When completely dry, each is hand-polished to a gleaming luster. Hand washing is recommended to preserve the delicate design.

Fine crystal glasses are not for everyone. Other lovely gifts of crystal include bowls, vases, decorative objects and ring holders. From Baccarat’s whimsical Faunacrystopolis Bird bud vase to Steuben’s Hearts Embrace paperweight, from colorful Murano earrings to the extravagant Lalique Révélation Bacchantes vase, there is something for everyone when you choose fine crystal.

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