For more than two centuries, handblown and hand-cut crystal from the tiny town of Waterford in southeast Ireland has been a highly sought-after ICONIC Emerald Isle treasure that symbolizes the country’s pride in its history and craftsmanship. Optically perfect with a ring as clear and sonorous as a bell, the polished ornamental flint glass radiates a silvery-white brilliance that sparkles with deeply cut ornamentation.
The history of Waterford crystal dates back to 1783 when Quaker merchant George Penrose and his nephew William Penrose set out to “create the finest quality crystal for drinking vessels and objects of beauty for the home.” A secret compound of materials, including the purest white sand from nearby Wicklow, gave the glass its perfectly unmarred translucency, while polishing the finished product resulted in the sparkling shine for which Waterford is now renowned. Adding lead to the molten glass makes it softer, allowing it to be carved into intricate designs.
Optically perfect with a ring as clear and sonorous as a bell, the polished ornamental flint glass radiates a silvery-white brilliance that sparkles with deeply cut ornamentation.
The famed Lismore pattern with its signature diamond and wedge cuts inspired by the windows and turrets of Lismore Castle remains the most popular crystal pattern in the world. It was created in 1952. Much emulated, the classic design adorns stemware, tumblers, vases, bowls and picture frames.
Today, Waterford can be found in the finest restaurants in the world, and chandeliers made from the celebrated crystal hang in Westminster Abbey, Windsor Castle and the Kennedy Center. And 2021 marks the 21st time that Waterford will count down the final seconds of the year for the world, as the sparkling Time’s Square New Year’s Eve Ball is cloaked in a dazzling display of 2,688 crystal triangles.
Waterford Crystal is still produced in the seaport village from which it took its name, and the House of Waterford Crystal Factory Tour continues to attract visitors from around the globe. The name endures as a symbol of timeless, chic elegance.