Variety

Top crystal brands - Crystal chrysalis

Anushya Mamtora | Updated on August 17, 2011

lalique crystal   -  BUSINESS LINE

Lalique crystal   -  BUSINESS LINE

Steuben Glass crystal   -  BUSINESS LINE

Steuben Glass crystal   -  BUSINESS LINE

Swarovski   -  BUSINESS LINE

Swarovski   -  BUSINESS LINE

Wrapped around our finger, kissing our wine, shining through the curio case or gracing the office desk- we all covet crystals. But the joy of possessing a heritage piece of your own is unparalleled. Here are five of the best crystal brands you can ever lay your hands on. A glorious past, an eclectic range, a promising future and loyal fans, they have them all, and much more, says Anushya Mamtora

The guiding light: Baccarat

The Maharajah of Gwalior ordered a very large chandelier, weighing a ton, to decorate his new palace. The Czar Nicolas II's St. Petersburg Winter Palace shimmers with a few too. Baccarat's exquisite chandeliers crafted in exclusive crystal have lit up the most prestigious of palaces, royal and presidential residences, famous cathedrals and mansions. The company that was started way back in 1764 by the Bishop of Metz is the oldest crystal brand that has stood the test of wars and revolutions. It's not just lighting products Baccarat is famous for, its tableware and paper weights are also world renowned. The best way to relive its history is to visit the small town by the same name in Paris and see your crystal hand-blown to life.

Design mainstay: French inspirations, Bohemian-Venetian techniques and interesting use of red, amethyst and green colour blocks.

What's on sale: Lighting and furniture, decoration, tableware, figurines

Lust list: Zenith Midnight Chandelier, After Nine clear, amethyst and olive green crystal, Lucky Butterflies in olive green crystal

The scent of glass: Lalique

1885. The period when Art Nouveau was at its best. So were Rene Lalique's creative juices. A renowned jeweller, he took the art of the era to dizzy heights with his spectacular jewellery. But his true calling as a master glassmaker of the Art Deco movement took the form of exotic crystal, which soon became synonymous with his brand, Lalique. And apart from flora and fauna that are inspirations for many artists, it was the female form that became the recurring theme in most of his masterpieces. The most iconic of the lot is the Bacchantes collection, which elegantly captures the sensual feminine form in the form of vases. However, what sets Lalique apart is its exquisite perfume bottles. Elegant, painstakingly precise and a delight to hold.

Design mainstay: Realist depictions, yet stylised at times, with nature and its beauties being the most prominent motifs

What's on sale: Tableware, lighting, desk accessories, perfumes, figurines, jewellery

Lust list: Tourbillon Vase Cap Ferrat blue, Amethyst Crystal Flacon perfume, Limited Edition 1998 “Ondines” perfume

The king of sculptures: Steuben Glass

If you glance at the simplistic depiction of the ‘Arctic Fisherman', the sheer lucidity of the crystal, the bent Eskimo, the pretty fish and the clear water beneath the ice swarms you with its charm. That's the magic of Steuben Glass. Founded in 1903 by Thomas.G. Hawkes and Frederick Carder at Corning, New York, the brand became a pioneer in fine glass products of cut, engraved and free-blown design. To Steuben's credit is the Aurene and Intarsia speciality of glass that has become its trademark. While the former has an iridescent translucent finish, the latter is fascinating with its overlapping colour inlays, and can be seen across its collections.

Design mainstay: Collaborating with contemporary artists and churning out masterpieces

What's on sale: Barware, tableware, decoratives, figurines, sculptures, desk accessories, hand coolers

Lust list: The Arctic Fisherman, African Twilight and Light House sculptures, the eye-catching decanter of the Tortoise collection and the pretty frog on the lily pad.

Quality is style: Waterford

Rolls-Royce. Bentley. Bose. Harley-Davidson. Waterford Crystal. In a research survey report published a decade ago, the crystal major rubbed shoulders with an elite clique, for brands famous for their unmatched quality. So much is the expectation of excellence from a champagne flute! Waterford was the brainwave of two brothers, William and George Penrose, who set up the company in 1783 in the heart of the Irish harbour town, Waterford. Despite economic turbulence and a century-long hiatus, the brand revived in 1947, dipped into its famous heritage and once again made ten-course meals, luxurious.

Design mainstay: The traditional cutting pattern of Waterford is evergreen and used across their products

What's on sale: Dinnerware, drinkware, home décor, collectibles, lighting, pens

Lust list: Museum Serving Plate with Dome Cover, Martini glass sets, Ballet Ribbon Essence champagne flute

The fashion icon: Swarovski

The iconic swan logo is perhaps the most recognisable among crystal collectors and fashionistas alike. But not many know of the interesting history behind the famous brand.

It started with the invention of a revolutionary crystal cutting machine by Daniel Swarovski in 1892, followed by sew-on crystal studded ribbons, and precision optical instruments, before making a grand entry into decorative crystals.

The best part about the brand is that you don't need to spend a fortune to start your own little collection. Whether in the form of a little cat or a quirky pendant, the brand is for all to experience.

Design mainstay: Quirky touches, fun play of colours, simple designs. Its animal figurines are a hit

What's on sale: Jewellery, fashion accessories, watches, home accessories, figurines, fragrances

Lust list: Duck J figurine in blue violet crystal, Simba, the optimistic lion cub

anushya@thehindu.co.in

Follow us on Telegram, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Linkedin. You can also download our Android App or IOS App.

Published on June 15, 2011
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor