An Exploration of Waterford Crystal

One of the most luxurious gifts you can give is the gift of fine crystal. This isn’t a new tradition. For at least 100 years, brides have registered for china, crystal, and sterling silver services, making crystal a popular wedding shower gift. Vases, flower bowls, candy dishes, and chandeliers can also be made from crystal. Waterford, a company with roots in Ireland, is well-known for its exquisite pieces and a popular choice for gifts of finer quality. Read more here to learn about Waterford and its rich background.

Waterford Has a Long History

The company was started in Waterford, Ireland in the year 1783 by the Penrose Brothers. The Penrose Brothers catered to the English demand for fine flint glass. The company thrived until 1853 when it closed due to financial difficulties. In 1947, the company was revived by Czech immigrants who had migrated to Ireland. Today, Waterford is manufactured primarily in the Czech Republic and Germany. Ireland, or rather, its politicians present a Waterford bowl with shamrocks to U.S. presidents to commemorate St. Paddy’s Day.

Is It Authentic Waterford?

Every luxury item seems to have a knock-off and Waterford crystal is no different. Every Waterford piece has the company name etched in one of three places. The bottom, between the cuttings of the bottom of the piece, or on the side. It’s possible to find pieces made in the early years that no longer have a visible marking due to wear. One other word of caution when buying any handblown crystal is to look for a seam. A seam is a tell-tale sign that a piece of crystal is machine made rather than made by hand. One way to ensure you’re not being fooled is to buy only from reputable dealers who have Waterford for sale. Be cautious and always look for the Waterford etching or other signs such as seams or flaws that could indicate you may be looking at a reproduction.

Waterford Comes in Many Patterns

Today, Waterford crystal has 100 registered patterns. Patterns that are no longer available are archived. That doesn’t mean you can’t find Waterford scotch glasses in a retired pattern. You won’t find them in a find department or specialty store. Instead, you may need to search estate sales and antique shops. If you’re lucky, you’ll find vintage Waterford pieces that have been well-cared for and are still in excellent condition. One popular pattern is the Waterford Seahorse. The seahorse is featured in the crest of city of Waterford, Ireland. It’s also part of the branding for the Waterford crystal company. In the past, a green and gold seahorse sticker was placed on each product. Other popular patterns include Colleen and Alana, both of which are Gaelic words. Whatever pattern you choose, you’ll no doubt find great joy in using and displaying your Waterford pieces.