How to Identify Baccarat Crystal

Written by gail cohen
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How to Identify Baccarat Crystal
Baccarat crystal: one of France's most treasured legacies

When France's Bishop of Metz first encouraged artisans in the little village of Baccarat to use its collective talent establish a Mecca for the world's most beautiful crystal in 1765, he couldn't have known that the brand would remain one of the world's premier fine crystal glass companies 250 years later. The French firm's trademark lead-crystal glassmaking techniques have won medals for quality, design and workmanship and are respected around the globe. Over time, the company expanded its product offerings to include jewellery, paperweights, chandeliers, decanters, bottles, vases, serving dishes, figurines and more. To this day, few entities have the cachet possessed by this historic company. If you need help determining whether the cut glass you own is a product of the house of Baccarat, choose from these suggestions to get the answers you seek.

Skill level:
Easy

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Consult one of the many crystal guides currently available from libraries and bookstores across the globe. The definitive work is Baccarat by Jean-Louis Curtis, Jacques Boulay and Jean-Michel Tardy. Harry N Abrams published the 303-page hardcover book in October 1992 (ISBN # 0810931222). Another terrific resource is the Crystal Stemware Identification Guide by Bob Page and Dale Frederiksen, published in May 2000; Search for ISBN# 1574320319. Gene Florence's Glassware Pattern Identification Guide: Easy Identification for Glassware From the 1920s through the 1960s (ISBN 1574320459) is a small but helpful 1998 publication. Another respected source is Daum: Masters of French Decorative Glass by Clotilde Bacri and Claude Petry. Published by Rizzoli in 1993, you'll find it by using its ISBN # 0847816680.

  2. 2

    Visit a crystal appraiser to have your glass evaluated by a knowledgeable source. Before you spend time or money hiring a professional to handle your evaluation, ask for credentials and references to be certain that the appraiser you choose isn't just 'a crystal expert'; you want one who knows the Baccarat brand intimately. Visit the website of the Appraisers Association of America (see Resources) to find a local dealer.

  3. 3

    Contact the Art Dealers Association of American (see Resources) to find a respected art dealer or museum curator in your area. Art dealers, galleries and museum curators are experts at identifying brands because they work with collections frequently and have a working knowledge of what's being bought and sold in both primary retail and secondary markets.

  4. 4

    Locate a Baccarat boutique at one of the targeted locations the company chose for its stores in the U.S. First opened in 1948 in New York City, the French company had added locations in Chicago, Costa Mesa, Dallas, Houston, Greenwich, CT, Honolulu, Troy, Michigan, San Francisco, Palm Desert, CA, Las Vegas and Atlantic City by 2007. A 12th location is to open in Atlanta in 2010.

  5. 5

    Visit jewellery and department stores selling today's collections of Baccarat crystal glasses, art, vases, sculptures and other fine works. One of the best resources in the U.S. is Neiman Marcus, the authorised distributor of Baccarat Crystal in the U.S.A department manager may be happy to call their Baccarat sales representative on your behalf as a facet of the store's customer service policy. Bring along a photo of the crystal in question so the merchant can fax or mail it to a Baccarat employee. Additionally, some product can be found at Bloomingdale's.

  6. 6

    Grab your passport and head to France. Make this your chance to visit Baccarat headquarters located in the famous Noailles mansion in Paris. While the Baccarat museum and archives has suspended its authentication activities for walk-ins, you can still get help by contacting Baccarat's corporate offices to request help identifying your crystal.

Tips and warnings

  • The Baccarat Crystal Museum is located on the Rue des Cristalleries and while you're visiting, you can check out more than 500 pieces of archival crystal studding an ever-changing display. The four-room museum is filled with history and materials on the firm's history and the general process that makes up the fabrication of crystal glass. With the exception of Christmas and New Year's days, the facility is open seven days a week and costs 2.5 euros to be admitted.
  • You might think Tiffany & Company would be a Baccarat Mecca, but in reality, only Baccarat rings can be found in their little blue boxes.
  • Counterfeiting issues around the globe make identifying a brand strictly by a logo etched on the product an unreliable way to determine authenticity.

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