As its name does not indicate, the crystal is a glass, that is to say a non-crystalline solid, rich in lead, whose mass concentration must be between 40% and 24% to be entitled to the "Crystal' appellation according to standards that have become international.
The name "crystal" is however older since it was originally used in Venice at the end of the 15th century by Venetian glassmakers to characterize objects made of particularly fine and transparent glass. It was not until the 18th century that the Bohemian crystal was the hallmark of a hard, brilliant glass that supplanted Venetian production on the royal tables. And yet this glass is different from the lead glasses whose invention is attributed to Stephen Falango in England around 1627.
In France, the history of crystal began in Lorraine with the glassworks of Münzthal founded in 1586, but it was only in 1767 that King Louis XVI conferred on him by patent the title of "Royal glassworks of Saint-Louis" and 1782 François de Beaufort developed the crystal formula with more than 35% of lead. Fifty years later, the factory is devoted mainly to crystal and launches the fashion and concept of service of luxury glasses for the table with the famous model "Trianon".
Following Saint-Louis, the crystal works developed in the East with the crystallization of Baccarat, following the glassware created in 1767 with a first crystal oven in 1816 and in 1823 the first service for the royal tables and in 1861 the famous service "Harcourt" for the Emperor Napoleon III. It was then Daum in 1878, then Lalique at the end of the XIXth century that were born. These crystallizers have adapted since the 1980s to changes in the market by diversifying their products with new vases, sculptures, and jewels, which have allowed, with regroupings, a new dynamism.
In another valley, also very wooded, in the 19th century, the Bresle valley in Normandy gathered half a dozen specialized crystalleries from the very beginning in the bottles for perfumes and cosmetics and reinforced in 1950 with the "automating". It is now a recognized worldwide pole: "Bresle-Glass Valley" with upstream and downstream foundry and molding industries that complete the bottles. Initially, craftsmen these companies are now using high-performance technologies and contribute to the luxury export market.
Finally, in a small town in the Audomarois in the Pas-de-Calais, Arques, a glass factory founded in 1825 caused a revolution in 1968 by the automated manufacture of crystal, a real technical prowess requiring no more size Nor hand-crafted, and which has upset the arts of the table. It is of course half-crystal (24% or less), but accessible to the greatest number with models like "Versailles" or "Longchamp".