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How to recognize Bohemian crystal?

June 29, 2020 3 min read

How to recognize Bohemian Crystal

Origin of bohemian crystal

Glass and old Bohemian crystal have been a tradition for over 800 years. It was and still is, made in what is today the Bohemian region of the Czech Republic. The first versions of the glass were called "forest glass" because of its green color and the predominance of wood in this region. Bohemian glass is considered by some to be the best glass in the world because of its beautiful jewel tones and brilliant cuts. The combination of a high lead content and the raw materials used to create the glass - potash and quartz sand - make Bohemian glass a popular addition to the collection of old cut glass. Today, bohemian manufacturers still use the same models that have been in production for hundreds of years, and there are no identifying marks to determine the age of a part, so spotting real antiquity is a little difficult. Bohemian crystal is most commonly used for crystal glasses, stemware, pendant, earrings, chandelier or necklace.

Recognize the Bohemian Crystal

Bohemian Crystals

Bohemian crystal can spark different objects such as vases, candlesticks, bottles, or to adorn jewelry. To recognize if you have a bohemian crystal, follow the directions below :

  • Check the purity. Hit a piece of glass with your fingernail. The more vibrant the tone, the higher the lead content. Bohemian lead crystal has a high lead content of 24%. In addition to the tone, high lead content results in greater light refraction after the glass is cut, creating more sparks.
  • Check the color. Since the 1850s, Bohemian glass has been available in transparent pink, red, cobalt and light blue, amber and green, but the oldest of Bohemian glasses was forest green, often adorned with a band of gold or an enamel border.
  • Examine the cuts made in the glass using a magnifying glassPure Bohemian glass looks like lace. The high lead content allows an exceptional cut performance, but the cuts do not have to be completely uniform, as they were made by hand.
  • Look for signs of wear. The wear must be done in random places, and not in a uniform way. Look for wear in places where your fingers naturally surround the glass, or where two sections meet. Use a magnifying glass to see the scratches. Stripes of uniform width or all extending in the same direction have probably been added to new glass to mimic signs of wear. 

Difference between glass and crystal

The meaning of the crystal differs from country to country. In the Western world, however, crystal is most often called glass with the presence of lead. Here you come across the name lead-free crystal; it's just not crystal. We are talking about when we say Bohemian Crystals is glass made in the traditional Bohemian region with a lead content of at least 24%.


How to clean the bohemian crystal?

Clean Bohemian Crystal

Glasses, ornaments, and crystal partsshould not be washed in the dishwasher as they may be damaged by high heat and harsh detergents and lose their shine. Here's how to wash them by hand to keep them in perfect condition :

  • Fully line the bottom of a container with a tea towel or two, then fill it with warm water and Ivory dish soap (or your favorite mild detergent). Wash one crystal piece at a time.
  • Rinse with a solution of 3 volumes of warm water and 1 volume of white vinegar.
  • Dry with a soft cotton cloth and put it back in its place.

This process provides a sparkling, stain-free result. If the crystal is very dirty, you can scrub gently with a soft cotton cloth or a very soft bristle toothbrush.

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