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Waterford History, Frequently Asked Questions & Care

Best Crystal is a Waterford Platinum Retailer, Waterford's highest award for service excellence. We are proud to sell Waterford Crystal, Waterford China, Waterford lamps, chandeliers, sconces and ceiling lights and Waterford Christmas ornaments and Christmas decorations. This page contains information on the history, frequently asked questions and care for Waterford crystal and china.

Waterford Crystal History

Waterford Crystal traces its roots to Waterford, Ireland in 1873 when businessmen George and William Penrose founded the Waterford Glass House and began to make crystal in "as fine a quality as any in Europe in the most elegant style." The Penroses knew the secret of mingling minerals and glass to create crystal with beauty and mystery. When tapped it sang sweetly. When touched, it felt warm and soft – yet it possessed strength and durability. And, most of all, the crystal shone with a romantic, silvery brilliance. Patience, skill and artistry had forged a triumph: Waterford Crystal.

Waterford Crystal's acclaim grew. At London's great Exhibition in 1851, Waterford won several gold medals and worldwide recognition. In that same year, however, just as Waterford's art was reaching its full bloom, the financial climate and heavy excise duties forced its factory to close.

Waterford Crystal's great tradition lay dormant for a hundred years. But when Irish independence rekindled a passion for the Irish arts in the 1940s and 1950s, a group of businessmen resolved to bring back to life the legacy that had made Waterford synonymous with the finest crystal in the world.

Waterford Crystal today has very strong links with its illustrious predecessor. There is the same dedication to the purity of color, to the same design inspiration and to the same pursuit of highest quality levels possible. The traditional cutting patterns made famous by the artisans of Waterford became the design basis for the growing product range of the new company.

In 1986, Waterford merged with world-respected Wedgwood, maker of fine bone china, to create the Waterford Wedgwood Group. Waterford has since launched new divisions and ventures. Around the world, Waterford Wedgwood, plc, which is headquartered in Dublin, Ireland, is represented in more than 80 countries, has a work force of approximately 9,000 employees, and offers its customers one of the world's most extensive product ranges in the market. In addition to Waterford Crystal stemware and giftware, Best Crystal is proud to sell Waterford Fine China, Waterford Crystal lamps, chandeliers, sconces and other lighting products, Waterford Crystal Christmas ornaments, Waterford Holiday Heirlooms Christmas ornaments, Marquis by Waterford Crystal, Vera Wang Crystal and Vera Wang China by Wedgwood.

Waterford Crystal just celebrated the 50th anniversary of the introduction of the Waterford Lismore stemware pattern. Almost every year since its inception, the Lismore pattern has topped the popularity list and has been the biggest selling pattern of crystal in the US and the world. But there are others among the repertoire of Ireland's most famous export that have gained their own following, such as the Araglin, Carina and Merrill patterns.

Waterford Crystal has become almost a synonym for the finest quality crystal sought after by collectors and connoisseurs around the world. Each piece of Waterford can be recognized by the signature on the base with the word "Waterford", the name of the finest crystal in the world.

Waterford is created for the consumer or collector who appreciates the best of everything: The bride just starting her Waterford collection who appreciates Waterford's quality and durability; the gift-giver seeking Waterford's quality and recognition; the Waterford collector who appreciates the artistry, and understands the passion poured into each Waterford design.


Waterford FAQs

Will a Waterford Stemware Pattern ever be discontinued?
Waterford Crystal is the only manufacturer in its class that never discontinues a stemware pattern. If a pattern is removed from active status, it can be custom ordered (see our Special Order Waterford stemware section). Delivery time is dependent on production schedules. Marquis by Waterford stemware can be discontinued. If a Marquis stemware pattern is removed from active status, it is placed on Custom Order status for one year, after which it is automatically discontinued.

Will a Waterford China Pattern ever be discontinued?
Waterford Fine China comes with a 10 year Guarantee of availability. Any pattern introduced will be available for at least 10 years. If a pattern is removed from active status, it can be custom ordered for 10 years (see our Special Order Waterford china section). The factory will confirm availability and price when the custom order is placed, and delivery time is dependent on production schedules.

What are Waterford's most popular patterns in the United States?
, Araglin, Carina, Maeve, Wynnewood and Lucerne.

What are Waterford's Special Order Stemware Patterns?
Adare, Alana, Ardree, Ashbourne, Ashling, Avoca, Ballylee, Baltray, Boyne, Cara, Carleton Shell, Cashel, Castletown, Clara, Clare, Clodagh, Colleen, Comeragh, Curraghmore, Donegal, Drogheda, Dungarvan, Dunloe, Dunmore, Eileen, Galtee, Glandore, Glencairn, Glencree, Glengarriff, Glenmore, Hibernia, Innisfail, Kathleen, Kenmare, Kerry, Kilbarry, Kilcash, Kildare, Kilrush, Kincora, Kinsale, Kylemore, Lismore, Maeve, Maureen, Merrion, Michele, Mooncoin, Powerscourt, Roscrea, Rosemare, Rosslare, Rossmore, Royal Tara, Shandon, Sheila, Slane, Templemore, Tralee, Tramore, Tyrone can all be found in our Special Order Waterford stemware section.

What is the W Collection?
Waterford W is a classic, contemporary range of Waterford Crystal, which retains the essence of the brand quality, weight, proportion, brilliance in a simpler design aesthetic. Inspired by classic architectural forms, W reflects timeless design and beauty. Crafted with the same luminous quality that has been a 200-year Waterford hallmark, W combines classic shapes, perfect proportions and minimal surface treatment, creating a collection of modern classics that are truly at home in any setting. The collection appeals to consumers who are seeking design-driven pieces that fit their eclectic and sophisticated tastes.

Should all pieces of Waterford crystal be identical?
No. Each piece of Waterford crystal is unique. Slight variations of weight and sometimes height are the sign that each piece truly is individually crafted.

Is a line or cord in crystal a flaw?
No. It is not considered a flaw. This almost invisible difference in the density of the crystal occurs during the fusing of molten crystal. Although visible when it reflects light, the cord disappears when a goblet or vase is filled with water.

Is a mold mark a sign of imperfection?
No. A mold mark is merely a ridge on a molded glassware piece that indicates the point at which the mold that formed the item was separated for removal of the finished ware. If it is overly prominent, however, it may be an indication of careless workmanship.

What is a shear mark?
A shear mark is a slight puckering of the glass caused when the artisan snips off excess molten glass when shaping the piece, as for example the end of the handle of a pitcher. It is a normal characteristic of glass and should not be considered a flaw.

Is hand-made glassware really made by hand, or merely hand-finished?
The production of hand-made glassware is indeed a hand process. The skilled hands and eyes of many men and women, working in teams, go into the making of every piece. The amazing thing is that such a high degree of excellence can be attained, that piece after piece coming from any individual or group of glass blowers or pressers is so nearly and accurately a duplicate of every other piece.

Why can't small irregularities be entirely eliminated from handmade glass?
For the very reason that the glass is handmade. No matter how deft the touch of the sensitive hands of glass craftsmen, it is impossible to eliminate completely small variations. These should not, therefore, be considered flaws. Glass is one of the trickiest materials to work with. Even machine-made glassware cannot be made absolutely perfect. But consider this: even the finest diamond, examined under a jeweler's loupe, rarely reveals absolute perfection.

Can a chipped crystal item be repaired?
Sometimes, although the quality of the repair depends largely on the capabilities of the shop. Check with the repairer.

What are the main differences between Marquis and Waterford?
Marquis and Waterford are two separate brands with different marketing plans and target consumers. Marquis utilizes more technological processes than Waterford, which in turn helps provide the price-point values for Marquis.


Waterford Crystal and Marquis Crystal Care

Wash one piece of crystal at a time in warm soapy water, using mild soap or hand washing liquid.

The interiors of decanters and vases can be cleaned by pouring in rice with warm soapy water and swirling around gently. Rinse with clean warm water and dry immediately. Certain kinds of water leave a lime deposit. Vinegar applied with a cloth helps remove this mark. When clean and dry, polish with a non-fluffy and lint free cloth to keep your crystal at its sparkling best.

Independent research associations have made tests which show repeated washing in very hot water with detergents can damage the surface polish of the finest crystal.

Waterford crystal collectors treasure their crystal so much that many prefer to hand-wash their crystal. We recommend you do not use a dish washing machine for your fine crystal.

Waterford Stemware Rims and Stems. The finely made rim is the most fragile part of a crystal glass. Never place upside down on a draining board or when storing. The careless knocking together of the rims can cause cracks. Do not hold the glass by the stem or the foot when washing or drying the bowl as the twisting motion thus produced will create undue pressure. Never use hot water and never machine wash crystal trimmed with precious metals.


Waterford China Care

These hand-detailed masterpieces have a family tradition of longevity when treated with loving care. Hard glazes give your china durability by design and relieve you of the need for excessive caution. They are, however, vulnerable to scratching by equally hard surfaces. Just as a diamond can be scratched and damaged by another diamond, so it is with fine china dinnerware. So be sure, when stacking plates, to separate them from one another by a soft cloth, pad or paper napkin that protects the entire surface, especially the rim. That small bit of insurance will keep the bottom of one plate from scratching the surface of another.

It is safe to wash your Waterford Fine China in an automatic dishwasher as long as you load it with china fully secured and placed so that they do not touch each other. Do not wash at temperatures higher than 120 degrees Fahrenheit and use the "short wash" or "china and crystal" cycle. The rinse cycle should follow immediately to flush away detergent deposits that could form a film if they remain on the china too long. Allow your china to air dry before removing from dishwasher. Recommended liquid dish detergents: regular Palmolive and Ivory. Standard safe powders are Cascade and Dishwasher All.

In hard water areas, deposits may form on your china if water is allowed to dry naturally on the plates. Such deposits can be readily removed with a vinegar solution or mild, acidic cleansing agent.

Since it is so lavishly embellished with gold or platinum, you must not place your Waterford Fine China in a microwave oven, where the intense heat will damage its high concentrations of precious metal.

Sources for Waterford History, FAQs and Care: Waterford websites and Waterford product literature. Waterford®, the Seahorse device, Waterford Fine China and pattern and product names are registered trademarks of Waterford Wedgwood Plc, Kilbarry, Waterford, Ireland.