Here are 5 Techniques For Identifying Lead Crystal. These tips are not a guaranteed way to identify Lead Crystal like having it analyzed in a lab (which most of us are not going to do) but are solid ways to be pretty sure. These are easy techniques that can be used to identify Lead Crystal while at a an antique shop, flea market or yard sale. When these 5 techniques are used together they will help you easily eliminate non lead crystal items and be very confident in identifying items that are.
|Check The Weight
|Check the weight of your item in question. Most crystal items are much heavier than regular glass. Lead Crystal contains a certain amount of lead with the standard varying depending on the country it was created in. Despite the varying standard, anything with lead in it is going to be heavier. It helps to keep a glass piece around so that you can compare it's weight with the item in question while keeping in mind their relative sizes. As you become more familiar with the process you will get a better idea of how weights coincide with the items you are testing. This is not a guaranteed way to identify crystal but it is a very solid starting point and is a great initial test when you are browsing a shop.
|Crystal made with lead has a distinct resonating ring to it when struck with a metal utensil such as a knife or fork. This tone usually lasts longer depending on the amount of lead in the crystal so it can even be helpful in identifying the quality of the crystal piece. Normal glass will normally just make a thud when struck with a utensil and doesn't make a resonating ring like lead crystal will.
|Check For A Visual Prism
|Check the item in the light, crystal will have a rainbow style prism effect when hit directly with light. Some glass such as cut glass can also display a prism if it has many cuts and the light hits it correctly so keep this in mind when testing. A pocket flashlight is a handy tool to carry with you for this test.
|Check The Texture of Cuts In The Item
|Cuts on glass will usually be rough or sharp on the edges where Crystal will usually be polished and have smooth edges. Simply rub your fingers along the edges of cut marks to see what you feel.
|Check For Markings
|Many crystal makers mark their items in some way to help identify their brand over an imitator or counter fitter. A lot of major brands of quality crystal such as Waterford Crystal or Baccarat Crystal use an acid stamp to mark their items. These markings can be tricky to find because they are usually small and light grey in color making them blend into the crystal. Carefully inspect your pieces for these acid stamps and if your eyesight is not the best you may even want to invest in a magnifying glass. If you find a marking that you are not familiar with a little internet research should help you identify if they make lead crystal and if so what kind of quality their items are made with. Some other crystal makers simply mark their items with a paper sticker or foil sticker which can fall off or wear away over time. These stickers can also be removed or placed falsely on inferior items so you can't put quite as much faith in stickers.