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10 Ways to Tell Crystal from Glass

Crystal is an upgrade from regular glass, and can be found in everything from wine glasses to recognition awards. Glass is made out of soda-lime silica (sand), but crystal has an added lead content of at least 24 percent that makes it finer and more desirable. Since it looks so much like glass, however, it's easy to confuse the two. Here are ten ways to identify crystal.

1. Crystal is Heavier

Hold the piece in your hand, testing its weight. If you can, compare the weight to a regular glass piece that's about the same size. Lead is heavy, so the high lead content in crystal makes it much heavier than a comparable piece of glass.

2. Crystal can be Thin or Finely Detailed

If the piece is a drinking glass, or if it has a lot of small detail, take a close look at the width and how finely the piece is made. The lead content in crystal allows for thinner widths and finer details than regular glass.

The difference between glass and crystal

3. Crystal Edges are Rounded

Feel along the edges of the design. If the piece is crystal and was formed that way, the edges will be rounded rather than the comparably sharper edges of molded glass.

4. Crystal has Sharper Cut Edges

Some crystal is cut, in which case the cuts will be much sharper than molded glass. Cut crystal also tends to be cut very precisely and sometimes very intricately.

5. Crystal is Exceptionally Clear

What could be clearer than glass? Well, crystal, actually. If you look through glass, it's actually a bit cloudy. Crystal, on the other hand, is extremely clear.

6. Crystal Sparkles

There's a reason why people hold a piece up to the light to determine whether it's crystal. In addition to being exceptionally clear, crystal may actually sparkle in the light, especially crystal with a higher lead content.

7. Crystal creates Prism Effect

In addition to being notably clearer than glass and possibly even sparkling, crystal often creates a prism effect. If you look through the piece and see rainbows, there's a good bet you're looking at crystal.

8. Crystal will appear Blue or Purple Tint Under Black Light

One of the best ways to identify crystal is to shine a black light on it. Due to the lead content, crystal will have a blue or purple tint to it, whereas glass just looks a dull green color under black light.

9. Crystal creates a Ringing Tone

You've probably seen or heard of people tapping a glass with their spoon to test the quality. If it's crystal, it'll ring with a clear-sounding tone. Unless you have a finely tuned ear, however, this may not be the best way to determine if you're looking at a piece of crystal or glass.

10. Crystal is Pricier

Finally, one of the most telling signs of whether an item is crystal is often the price. Glass is much less expensive to make, making it a more affordable option for many. The lead content and the more refined manufacturing makes crystal a pricier, but much more elegant, option.

Because of how much finer and more beautiful it is, crystal offers an elegant way to recognize exceptional contributions, such as from an employee or team. Looking for a memorable way to honor your staff's hard work? Check out Able Recognition for a selection of crystal awards that is both classy and professional.