Busch Jewelers is pleased to be the sole distributor in the United States for this elegant, beautiful, and sophisticated line of exquisite lead crystal table glass, vases, giftware, and accessories. Lead crystal is the ultimate in tabletop finery, and Tudor Crystal handmakes a product that truly belongs in the display cases of a fine jewelry store (like ours)—or on your table or in your crystal cabinet. Or in your hand, as you savor a premium scotch or decant a serving of vintage wine. There's something about enjoying fine libations in classic crystal that makes it a special experience—one that can't be replaced by anything else.
These 30 percent lead—the object must contain 24 percent or more to qualify as “fully lead”—creations are hand blown and hand cut in Stourbridge, England. Stourbridge is the centuries-old capital of the storied English lead crystal tradition—the site where the world's greatest artisans have plied their trade. Tudor Crystal melts its glass in its historic cone (furnace) whose legacy goes back generations. Tudor's master glass blowers and glass cutters turn out inimitable designs that will be heirlooms for your family.
Plowden & Thompson operates the Tudor Crystal glassworks on these tradition-rich premises.
What is Fine Crystal?
Here's how to tell classic lead crystal from plain glass (from michaelcfina.com):
- Hold up a glass to the light. If the glass acts as a prism and you see a rainbow you are holding crystal. If not, it is just plain glass.
- When struck, crystal produces a musical ring. Glass does not.
- Crystal can be worked thinner than glass, so if the rim of a piece is exceptionally thin it's probably crystal.
- If you compare two glasses of the same size, the crystal glass will be heavier.
- Glass typically has sharp cuts, while crystal will have clean, rounded cuts.
Ten Patterns from Which to Choose
Shown here are an example from our Frobisher Range and another from our Knyghton Range. Visit our Patterns page (click here...) to shop from the full array of offerings. We cater to all tastes, from classical to contemporary, so any prospective crystal collector is sure to find just the pattern to suit your tastes.
What Makes Crystal More Pleasurable as a Serving Vessel?
The strength of lead crystal allows makers to craft thin-as-desired stemware with crystalline bowls that show off a wine's color. Likewise, its thinner rims add to the enjoyment of sipping wine. Plus, the surface of lead crystal is minutely coarser than the surface of ordinary glass, and this microscopic roughness allows wine to develop more intense aromas, further enhancing its bouquet and its taste.
We turn to Plowden & Thompson for their expertise:
“The use of lead in a crystal glass mix softens the glass slightly and has been used mainly as an aid to glass cutters to help in the cutting process allowing the glass some slight tension reduction as it is being cut and
helps to stop it shattering.
“The other benefit to adding lead is that it will give the glass a more clarity and when polished the glass has a brilliance that cannot be found in other glass mixes. In most cases the more lead oxide that is added, up to a level suitable for working the glass, the higher the brilliance of the end product after polishing.
“In general there are two main levels of lead added to glass: 24 percent and 30 percent. Plowden & Thompson, and its sister company Tudor Crystal, has always used the 30 percent content for the reasons given above and also because the higher percentage is consistent with the higher quality of our products.”
Own Your Piece of “the Dial”
The factory cone (a brick structure) where the glass is blown and cut is the last fully working multi-furnace glassmaking cone in the U.K. It is part of a complex now sometimes referred to as the “New” Dial Glassworks.
Tudor Crystal is made by Plowden & Thompson, of Stourbridge, England, working on the premises that formerly were the home of the original, historic Dial Glassworks. The Dial Glassworks came into existence in 1788 and was moved from a different location to occupy this setting beside the canal, which served as a source of transport of bringing raw materials in and shipping finished product out.
Today this site is the home of Plowden & Thompson and Tudor Crystal (established in 1922). Generations of glassmakers from this region have produced a variety of quality products both for consumers and industry. Today Plowden & Thompason makes glass for industrial, medical, aerospace, and other specialized purposes, as well as high quality 32 percent lead crystal under the Tudor Crystal brand for consumers.
The factory cone dating back to 1788 had part of its 170-foot-high top (see photo) removed in 1935 and was replaced by the self-supporting framework you can see today (accompanying photo).