Methods of Making/Finishing Chandelier Prisms January 26 2017
When looking at various crystals, it is good to consider just how they are made. There are several standard methods that have been used for centuries. The following will provide a little information about the most popular.
HAND CUT AND POLISHED: This methods goes back the farthest, as for centuries in Europe the trained and skilled craftsmen individually cut and polish prisms by hand. Typically, Turkish Crystal is hand cut and polished.
Hand cutting is typically done in two stages, on an iron wheel and then on a sandstone wheel. Polishing is then done on a wooden wheel with marble dust. If you look closely you will notice faint traces and minor differences in pieces, which shows the personal attention these workers used. The beauty of this is that each piece is a unique and original.
FIRE POLISHED: Fire polishing of crystals and beads is also a very popular, and old-world process. Fire is used to polish pieces as it is fast and economical, involving less human intervention. The use of the fire rounds out the sharp facets of prisms as the heating process that gently melts the glass at the edge of the facets and on the edges of the holes.
MACHINE CUT: The use of machines to cut crystal elevated much of the product line to a new level. It allowed makers to create uniform, consistent items. It is much less costly than hand cut, as well as different than the "precision cutting" of Swarovski products.
PRESSED: Generally made from sand, soda, and lime heated in furnace and then pressed (molded), or “drawn” (re-shaped), this type of glass is the least expensive. Seams are often visible in pressed glass lamps and prisms.