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Where Do Cut Crystal Figurines Come From?
Cut crystal sculptures
Crystal and glass sculptures are created over time. Well-known producers of crystal sculptures are, for example, Lalique, Baccarat, Daum and Cristallerie d’Argues. These are beautiful sculptures made of glass or crystal and they represent people, animals, flowers, etc.
But these are not the kind of crystal sculptures we are talking about here. The cut crystal sculpture is made of crystal with a full cut face. Due to the high lead content in the crystal, the light is reflected, there is a real distortion, and this results in a beautiful color palette.
Basically, these sculptures are made up of cut crystal chandelier pieces and cut crystal beads glued together in the way they represent animals or flowers. But that is the basics. Modern cut crystal sculptures are made from specially designed cut crystal composites.
History of glass cutting
Bohemia is an area where most of the glass and crystal cuttings were concentrated in the 19th century. They produce mostly crystal rings for chandeliers and also cut crystal beads and pendants for the jewelry and fashion industry.
Cutting and polishing glass and crystal stones was a tedious task and required a lot of skills in those days.
The son of the best Bohemian glass cutter in the mid-19th century was a young man named Daniel Swarovski.
After visiting an exhibition in Vienna in 1883, he became obsessed with the possibility of electricity. He wanted to use electricity to power the tedious glass cutting process. He succeeded after nine years of experimentation! And was able to patent the first semi-automatic glass and crystal cutting machine.
This is a revolutionary invention that has changed the glass cutting industry forever. His machine can cut glass and crystals with greater precision and at a faster speed than the manual cutting method.
Perfection of crystal cutting
After the invention of electronic cutting technology Daniel Swarovski did not stop the innovation. He started a factory where he was constantly improving in cutting, but where he mastered the production of flawless, high-lead crystals.
His jewelry stones have made him the number one supplier of the Paris fashion industry. All the famous beauticians used his cut crystals and Swarovski became an established brand.
Swarovski never stopped inventing new ways of making crystals and new ways of cutting crystals. Needless to say, today they are still the number one crystal cutting company in the world.
The first cut crystal sculpture
It was not long before, in fact, in 1976 that the first commercially cut crystal sculpture was created, and again, the sculpture was made by Swarovski.
In 1976 the Winter Olympics were held in Innsbruck, Austria, not far from the Swarovski factory (Wattens, Austria). Swarovski designer Max Schreck made the mouse out of crystal, and it became a bestseller during the game, shortly after it hit the market.
The reason it took so long before the first cut crystal sculpture saw sunlight was because in the early 1970s there was no glue that could stick to the stone. Glue is a solution of acrylate that hardens to clear acrylic under UV light. That kind of chemistry was developed only after World War II.
Smaller versions of the original mouse are still available and are sold under the name ‘Copy Mouse’. Copy mice are no longer alone. The collection of Swarovski crystal sculptures is still growing and beautiful crystal sculptures depict themes from the world of plants and animals, childhood memories, Christmas themes and much more.
Famous brands for cutting crystal sculptures
The most famous brand is Swarovski, without a doubt. There is an entire army of about 325,000 collectors who are members of the Swarovski Crystal Society. As a member of society, the largest collector in the world makes it possible to purchase limited editions. Limited edition is a special model produced in limited quantities.
Many companies started producing crystal sculptures after Swarovski started with their collections. And many of them stopped after a while.
Creating a crystal sculpture is not just putting some stones together. A company that has survived the last four decades and still produces crystal sculptures is a company that strives for design and quality.
Preciosa from the Czech Republic is such a company. They have a great collection of beautifully designed sculptures and they also use the finest crystals for it. After all, Preciosa is the world’s No. 2 crystal cutting company and they have a name to keep going.
Crystal World is another top brand. The company with a team of Japanese designers is already creating beautiful works since it was founded by Rudy (Ryuyu) Nakai in 1983 in the United States.
In Egypt is Asfour. Asfour, like Swarovski and Preciosa, is also a giant crystal cutting company. Asfour also produces high quality crystals and they design beautiful crystal shapes.
You will find crystal sculpture makers in other countries, but usually they are not as skilled as the four companies above. China and Turkey are manufacturers of crystal sculptures. Some companies have beautiful designs, but for most of them, crystal sculpture is not their main business and they usually offer many other crystal products with sculptures.
Crystal sculptures are a great attraction to many people. The clarity of the material, the separation of light into many colors and the timeless design make people want to surround themselves with them.
What used to be the only crystal mouse in Austria in 1976 is now being collected by hundreds of thousands of people around The world brings happiness to many people every day. We can only thank Swarovski, the world-famous and innovative crystal cutting company, for creating the crystal sculptures that bring that special charm to many lives.
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