Waterford Crystal - The Perfect Gift
Exquisite Pieces of Crystal Make Great Presents
The name Waterford Crystal must evoke a sense of charm and beauty to most people, and when it comes to the production of exquisite items of crystal, the House of Waterford Crystal is one of the best in the world.
I remember as we made our wedding list many years ago, several of the prized items were those of Waterford cut glass. The list of items included whiskey glasses, a beautiful wine decanter and a couple of flower vases. Anything made by Waterford was, and still is considered to be the best of the best.
When it comes to gifts for occasions, any piece of this gorgeous crystal will make a wonderful wedding gift. It's no wonder that when many of us prepare to buy a wedding present for someone close, we often consider a Waterford Crystal item before anything else - it's a #1 choice of gift.
Many bespoke trophies are made by Waterford Crystal for major sporting events such as the Volvo Ocean Challenge sailing event, as well as numerous tennis and golf events, and even Formula 1.
Image: background from Waterford Visitor Centre with name added
Created on 20 Aug 2013
Unless otherwise stated, images are from www.waterfordvisitorcentre.com
House of Waterford Crystal
Waterford Crystal gets it's name from the city of Waterford in Ireland. It is owned by a luxury goods organization, WWRD Holdings Ltd, which also owns the brands of Wedgwood and Royal Doulton.
Having been part of the Wedgwood Group until 2009, the company went through many troubles and takeovers, which resulted in the relocation of Waterford Crystal back to its roots in Waterford city.
The factory is located on The Mall alongside a new visitor center which offers tours and purchases of this amazing crystal ware. This is where the largest collection of Waterford Crystal in the world is to be found.
WaterfordÂ® Crystal Christmas Tree Sculpture
This small unique piece of genuine crystal is a joy to have around the home. The light catches it from all angles, so you're rewarded with twinkles and sparkles whenever you glance at it.
This is a heavy, solid item, and as long as it's treated with care will last a lifetime.
History of Waterford Crystal
Waterford Crystal's checkered history goes back to its inception as a manufacturer of glassware in 1783. Specialist workers in this type of production had to be sought from across Europe as subsequent business owners of the company realized that experts in mixing glass materials are a vital part of the operation.
By 1896, the production of flint glass had ceased in Ireland, and many of the workers moved to Belfast in Northern Ireland.
The second phase of this interesting history began in 1947 after the Second World War. A Czechoslovakian named Charles Bacik, worried about the Communist take-over of his native country, travelled to Ireland. His mission was to help establish a crystal factory just outside Waterford. He and businessman Noel Griffin set about recruiting 30 glass blowers and cutters from around Europe to come and train the local workforce.
By the 1960's, demand worldwide soon began to exceed supply. Waterford Glass was gaining notoriety, and in 1970, it was time to expand production with a new factory. By 1973, the completed plant at Kilbarry was the largest manufacturing unit of glassware in the world.
Evolution by Waterford Red and Amber Swirl - 10-Inch Round Bowl
The vivid, bold colors are caught in this elegant, artistic piece of crystal. No matter what you use it for, whether it's to display gems or candy, it will undoubtedly become a talking point in your household.
The fiery colors ensure that this item will certainly stand out, so if you're stuck for that perfect formal gift look no further. I would love to be the recipient of one of these bowls!
The Company's Rise...
...Through Computer Technology
It wasn't long that technology started to play a major role in helping to create accurate mixes of materials, as well as assembling consistent blends. This had never happened before in this type of business where everything was rather hit and miss. In 1986, a modern design of furnaces was introduced which helped to save the company a huge Â£2 million on their annual oil bill.
At the same time, it was identified that cost improvements could be made by using diamond wheels for cutting. These were to improve the quality of the final product, and so help the Waterford craftsmen create more exquisite and intricate patterns than ever before.
Guided tours are available at the Waterford facility, so if you wish to experience the extraordinary craftsmanship of a crystal maker first hand, come and see the manufacturing process for yourself.
John Rocha at Waterford Lume White Wine Pair
John Rocha was one of a few well known designers commissioned by Waterford who has created modern, elegant designs of crystal ware. These wine glasses are stunning and show Rocha's trademark of contemporary elegance.
What a perfect gift for any serious wine lover, and a lovely addition to a dining table.
Waterford Crystal John Rocha Signature Tumbler
Enjoy an Irish whiskey or other mixed drink in this stylish, yet slightly old fashioned glass. They are brilliantly hand-crafted from fine crystal - what else would you expect from Waterford Crystal ?
A pair of these glasses would go down a treat if given as a wedding gift, or for any sort of gift !
Macy's Times Square Crystal Ball - New York City
This was the ball, made by Waterford Crystal, that gently dropped in Times Square to signify the start of 2008.
For the past eleven years at midnight on New Year's Eve, a Waterford Crystal ball has descended a pillar in Times Square, New York City to ring in the new year. Each year since 2000 when Waterford Crystal was chosen to create this iconic structural ball, a different theme has been selected for the occasion.
Some of the themes include "Let There Be Love", "Let There Be Courage", "Let There Be Joy" and "Let There Be Friendship".
Photo credit: Clare Wilkinson, Creative Commons
Do You Own Any Waterford Glass Items?
Do you own any Waterford glass items?
A Treasured Vase
Among her many successes, this lovely Waterford Crystal vase was awarded to my other half for her achievements as a dressage rider. The item has been used and admired ever since, and we always comment on its elegance.
Just imagine the skills required to be able to cut the crystal with such precision and dexterity.
Photo: Â© Rob Hemphill
Waterford Crystal Ornaments
Each year, 750 tonnes of melted down crystal produces 45,000 pieces using entirely traditional methods.
Waterford Crystal Factory
Waterford Crystal Cake Plate
The stunning design of the Waterford Lismore pattern is a beauty to behold. There's no need to keep the plate only for cakes, use it for similar foods and show it off. When you own any piece of Waterford, you just want others to see and admire its brilliance, see the light sparkle through the patterns creating mini light shows.
Favorite Piece of Waterford Crystal
What is your favorite piece of Waterford Crystal?
Find The Gift of Your Choice
Small Selection of Waterford Crystal Wedding Presents
You really can't beat giving a piece of Waterford Crystal as a wedding gift, it will always be used and admired by the recipient. Having a drink out of a high quality crystal glass does make the difference.
When I was in the wine industry, serving good wines out of poor quality wine glasses was very much frowned upon - good wines and spirits deserve the best glass ware - and yes, they DO taste better!
The above glasses were each part of a set of six.
Photo: Â© Rob Hemphill