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March 09, 2016
Lead glass, more often called lead crystal or just crystal, is widely used in the manufacturing of glasses, tableware, and decorative objects with interesting engravings. The term comes from the Venetian word “cristallo”, which was used to describe the rock crystal imitated by Murano (Venetian Island) glassmakers. The use of the term lead crystal remains popular for historical and commercial reasons.
In the process of making lead crystal, the glass is enriched by the addition of lead oxide. The amount of added lead oxide is measured in percentages and determines the classification of the crystal. Lead also enhances the brilliance and clarity of the glass and determines its strength and durability.
Thanks to added lead, crystal glass is softer and more resistant to acids and therefore is suitable for cutting and engraving.
By standard, crystal glass products contain 24% of PbO and are most frequently manufactured manually (hand-made).
Crystalline or also referred to as semi-lead crystal contains approximately 8-10% lead dioxide.
One alternative material is crystal glass, in which barium oxide, zinc oxide, or potassium oxide are employed instead of lead oxide. Lead-free crystal has a similar refractive index to lead crystal, but it is lighter and it has less dispersive power
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