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optic crystal award black crystal award lead crystal vase starfire glass award art glass trophy

Crystal, Glass & Engraving Techniques

applications of crystal and glass in awards and trophies

what is optic crystal
colored optical crystal
starfire glass
24% lead crystal
Art glass
crystal workmanship techniques
the ingredients of glass

Optic Crystal - the ultimate clarity and brilliance

Optic crystal used in awards and trophies is 100 % lead free. The absence of lead makes optic crystal extremely hard. Because of its hardness we can polish crystal to flawlessly smooth surfaces as well as cut it and bevel it with brilliant edges. Optic crystal is produced in sheets of molten material up to three inches thick and before it hardens, crystal is subjected to extreme pressure to remove any air bubbles, inclusions or flaws. Optic crystal is polished, cut and beveled by hand with ultimate skill and precision. "Handcut crystal" means the item is held against a spinning stone to cut the design. It is truly artistic workmanship at its best, which requires decades of experience! Crystal without lead is not any less valuable than full lead crystal particularly when it is thick and heavy and finely designed. In fact, clear uncut crystal has to be particularly fine quality because the flaws can not be hidden by the cuts. Using optic crystal in our awards manifests the ultimate recognition of excellence and appreciation. Crystal, with its exceptionally high perceived value, has been sought after and treasured for generations, and remains a status symbol even today.

Colored Optic Crystal

Recently we introduced colored crystal as the new addition to our corporate awards and trophies collection. Special additives change the color of crystal to a desired shade and hue without changing its physical properties such as flawlessness, hardness, reflection. The surface of the colored optic crystal is smooth and the inclusions such as swirls or bubbles are absent. For example to make crystal black, a special bouquet of chemical additives (Fe2O3, CuO, MnO2, CO2O3) is added to the molten form. When the optic crystal hardens the color becomes uniform throughout the material. Black or other colored crystal is not translucent like clear crystal. The combination of colored and clear crystal in the same award provides an esthetically pleasing contrast and makes a bold statement.

24% Lead Crystal

Traditionally, crystal was made with addition of lead. The most prized lead crystal contains 24 percent lead oxide which provides the optimum weight, hardness and color. The addition of lead oxide makes crystal softer than glass and allows crystal artisans to cut and bevel lead crystal with brilliant edges. Because of its softness lead crystal can be poured into molds and used in sculptural components of awards and trophies. Lead crystal is also widely used in production of fine crystal gifts such as vases, bowls and bar wear.

Starfire Glass

Starfire clear glass contains no lead. It has low quantities of iron. Although starfire glass is good quality material is lacks the clarity of crystal and a slight blue tint is present even in the best starfire glass. It is used as a less costly alternative to optic crystal. However, the savings are marginal since it involves similar amount of labor as crystal.

Art Glass

Another popular trend in the award industry is incorporating art glass components into award and trophy designs. Art glass production is characterized by experimentation with various materials that create impressive artistic effects. It takes great skill and precision to create art glass components for they are made individually by hand and by most accomplished glass artists. Each art glass piece is a unique creation; thus sizes, colors, translucency grade vary from piece to piece. During the process of hand molding small air bubbles and other color particles may get trapped inside the glass. This is characteristic of art glass and by no means a defect. Air bubbles and material particles add character and uniqueness to art glass awards.

Crystal Workmanship Techniques

Engraving is the process of cutting into the surface of an annealed glass object either by holding it against a rotating copper wheel fed with an abrasive or by scratching it, usually with a diamond.
Carving is the removal of crystal from the surface of an object by means of hand-held tools.
Cutting is the technique whereby crystal is removed from the surface of an object by grinding it with a rotating wheel made of stone, wood, or metal, and an abrasive suspended in liquid as the cutter holds the object against the upper, or top, side of the rotating wheel.
Sand-blasting or Deep etching is an engraving technique which allows logo and text to be reproduced on crystal awards with great precision. A design is transferred to a stencil and attached to crystal with special adhesives. Then abrasive sand is blasted to the stenciled award area at extreme pressure. The design is permanently engraved into crystal with beautiful deep grooves.

Crystal Ingridients

Crystal is made of silica, sodium carbonate and calcium carbonate or more commonly known as sand, soda ash, and limestone. Soda ash is added to the sand in order to lower the melting point and limestone is added to increase crystal's strength and durability. The raw materials are melted in a furnace at extremely high temperature of 1600 degrees.

Browse our Crystal Awards and Trophies, Everest Crystal Awards, Award Plaques, Golf Trophies, Crystal Award Obelisks

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For more information about our crystal awards, trophies or engraving services please contact our customer service department at 1-800-506-7966 or email
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