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Difference Between Crystal and Glass

crystalCrystal vs Glass
It is very difficult to mention vivid difference between crystal and glass. Fundamentally, it can be declared that crystals fall into the category of glass universally but all glass categories can not be claimed to be crystals. There is the presence of lead quantity in glass that can be attributed to crystals, which vary from place to place and region to region. The main aspect in defining the category of crystal is the lead content of glass. This identification of crystal varies upon the standards of particular places.

The lead substance in a product determines the exact categorization of the particular product and labeled as crystal or glassware. Europe has its own standard of marking and determining the category of the product. Products which contain 4 – 10% of lead monoxide are categorized as glass wares. They have another category introduced to mark the products with better amount of lead content. The materials which have 8 – 10 % of lead content are classified as lead glass. Glass products which contain the lead content 10 – 30% are defined as crystals. When the lead content exceeds the maximum limit of thirty percent they are termed as lead crystals.

The scenario is entirely different in United States, where only one percent of lead content in a product gets the label of crystal ware. Other countries of the world have their own calibration standards in defining crystals but they are surely not as stringent as the Europeans. In general, the lead content of three percent at the lowest level to a maximum of fifteen percent qualifies for labeling as crystals in most other parts of the world.

Crystal and glass are melted to create beautiful crystal and glass wares. Crystal wares are preferred for glasses and are adored by most people.

Therefore, the meaning of glass and crystals are meant to denote difference in their lead content. The Europeans treat anything over ten percent is crystal but the Americans treat anything over one percent as crystal. The presence of lead creates softness in the material which is used by artisans for exquisite cutting and engraving purpose to produce objects of art. The lead makes the glass heavier and naturally light gets diffracted. Further presence of barium in the material provides high quality diffraction of light.

The difference between crystal and glass is crystal clear and can be marked by the naked eye. Crystal chandeliers are examples of creating spectrum of light and sparkle when light falls upon them. The dazzling quality of crystal is easily identifiable by sight.

1. Crystal contains lead. Glass do not contain lead element.
2. Crystals are basically glass. Glasses are not crystals always.
3. Crystals are heavy materials. Glass is lighter material.
4. Light diffracts through crystals. Light does not diffract through ordinary glass.

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  1. What Makes Glass?

    Glass is made using three different minerals:
    1.Sand (silica)
    Intense heat changes sand into a fragile form of glass.
    2.Soda ash (sodium carbonate)
    This is a powdery white material that is added to the mixture to lower the melting temperature of the sand.
    3.Limestone (calcium carbonate)
    This is added to make the glass stronger.
    The raw materials are melted together in a furnace at a temperature of 1600 C. This is the same temperature as a jet engine!

    What Makes Crystal?

    The inclusion of at least 24% lead oxide in the composition is required by law for crystal to be called full lead crystal. The lead lends brilliance and weight to the product. Crystal without lead is still crystal, i.e. clear glass, however, it is more commonly perceived as “glass”. The lead also make the crystal softer and more conducive to cutting. This is why the lead crystal is cut and for the most part, the unleaded crystal is not cut.

    Difference Between Crystal and Glass

    Defining the difference between crystal and glass is not an exact process. While is it true that all crystal is also glass, only certain types of glass can be properly identified as crystal. But within some countries, the qualities that must be present in order for glass to earn the title of crystal may vary.

    The lead content of glass is usually a determinant in the classification of finished goods as either crystal or glass.

    In the European community, glass items that have more than four percent but less than ten percent of lead monoxide usually earn the designation of glass. While this is not always the case, glass that is found to have a lead content of eight to ten percent is granted the status of lead glass. Glass goods with a lead monoxide content of between ten percent and thirty percent earn the designation of crystal. In the event that the lead monoxide content exceeds thirty percent, the item is often identified as lead crystal.

    In the United States, a lead monoxide content of one percent is sufficient for glass to be classified as crystal. In other countries around the world that do not adhere strictly to the standards used by the European community, the range of lead content required before glass can be identified as crystal may range from anywhere between three percent to fifteen percent. Glass with a higher lead monoxide content would be classified as lead crystal.

    Advantages of Crystal

    Crystal has higher lead content. This give crystal a high index of refraction which makes it sparkle when cut at sharp angles and gives the glass a distinctive long lasting ringing tone when it is struck gently with a hard object like a fingernail. The lead may leach out into acidic beverages. The glass is also more fragile and subject to temperature shock.

    More: http://www.etchedcrystals.com/knowledge/Crystal-versus-Glass.html

  2. Just discovered your site and I love it!I wanted to reach out to you and see if you would be willing to test out some of my glass etching craft supplies for free for feedback. Any interest? Shipping of the supplies will be free as well. Looking forward to hearing your thoughts. Thanks Eric


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