I like to play games on our facebook page, (@AToBVintage,) recently I asked my readers which of these vases was not “crystal.” 

The unanimous answer was “D” by the way.   They were unanimously wrong.

I asked the question to illustrate the flaws in our modern day definition of “crystal.”  Present day we think of crystal as clear glass with a lead content of 24% or more.  Much like example “C” in the picture – which is crystal, Baccarat in fact. 

But go back in time a hundred years and you will find “crystal” has a very different definition.  Crystal in that time period simply meant clear (as in color), whether it was leaded glass or not.  What we think of as crystal was known then as leaded glass.  The change in usage has resulted in some confusion today. 

So by today’s usage which of these is not “crystal?”   

  • A.  Lalique Tanzania Vase – by Marie-Claude Lalique in 1991 
  • B.  Lalique Scarab Vase – by Renee Lalique in 1923 
  • C.  Cognac bottle – by Baccarat pre 1940 
  • D.  Opaline vase – by Baccarat poss. pre 1870

The answer is B, the Lalique Scarab vase.  Why?  Because Lalique produced before WWII was not 24% lead crystal.  It was leaded glass yes, but less than 24%.   Regardless of that, this beautiful vase sold at auction recently for $8,500.  And in case you are wondering why you would have crystal that’s not clear, check our facebook page, you’ll find the answer there.







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