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C for Crystal

Result EUR139,000
Published on , by Marielle Brie de Lagerac

Lead crystal crowned centuries of research and experimentation. English glassmakers at last managed to produce a material as translucent as rock crystal, but the prowess of French crystal manufacturers outstripped their success.

Baccarat, c. 1880, Vaisseau du désert ou le Dromadaire (Ship of the Desert or The... C for Crystal

Baccarat, c. 1880, Vaisseau du désert ou le Dromadaire (Ship of the Desert or The Dromadary) fragrance burner, crystal sculpture mounted in gilded bronze forming a ceremonial centerpiece.
Paris, Drouot, June 18, 2012. Éric Caudron OVV.
Result: €139,000

A restriction more than perseverance made England the first genuine crystal producer. In 1615 King James I decreed that only the Royal Navy was allowed to use wood, advising his subjects to burn coal for their needs. Glassmakers were not exempt. They had to change their glassmaking recipes and find a molten material suitable for the new fuel. After several attempts resulting first in flint glass, in 1674 George Ravenscroft added and patented lead oxide, which gave glass a unique gleam and ring. For there is a fundamental physiochemical difference between them: glass is an amorphous solid with an irregular atomic structure, whereas crystal has an ordered one. In a few years, English crystal manufacturers surpassed their counterparts in Venice and Bohemia, although it…
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