Waterford Crystal, whether it's a wine goblet or a vase, evokes class and elegance. The products of this venerable Irish crystal company boasts high-lead, hand-blown craftsmanship. It's important to know whether what you purchase or inherit is authentic. Generally if you purchase from a reputable source, you should be safe. But there are tell-tale signs to look for to ensure you've got the real deal.
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Learn the patterns. One key way to know if your crystal is authentic is to familiarise yourself with Waterford's catalogue of patterns. From the most popular Lismore pattern to the lesser known retired patterns such as Powerscourt if you learn the nuances of the patterns, you won't be stuck with a fake.
Look for the Waterford etching or acid stamp on the bottom. Every item produced by Waterford since 1947 has either the word Waterford or their seahorse logo or both etched onto the bottom of each item. On stemware, the etching is usually one-sixteenth of an inch from the outer rim. Sometimes through use, these stamps can wear off.
Buy from a reputable source. If you purchase Waterford from a major retailer such as Macy's or Bloomingdale's, your crystal will come with a certificate of authenticity. Be careful purchasing from an unknown online retailer or an auction site. If the price is too good to be true, it probably is.
Hire an appraiser. If you want a definitive answer and are not satisfied with your own research, you can hire a professional appraiser. Waterford Expert James Connolly is one such appraiser who can be found at waterfordcrystalappraisal.info.
Know that a flaw doesn't mean a fake. Things like cords or lines in the crystal are created when two pieces of crystal are fused together that are slight different densities. The same goes for a small bubble in the crystal.
Tips and warnings
- As of March 2009, Waterford's Irish factory was closed down due to economic difficulties and their crystal is now produced at various factories around Europe. Most of their crystal is now machine produced as opposed to hand blown. This development may make the counterfeit business more prevalent since machine crystal is easier to copy.
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