The Waterford Crystal company was founded in 1783 in Waterford, Ireland, by the brothers William and George Penrose. The original company failed less than 100 years after it was formed, but in 1947 Waterford Crystal was revived. Today, the company is famous for its stemware, barware and giftware, which is of high-clarity, hand-cut crystal. Its most popular pattern is called Lismore, which has been manufactured for more than 50 years. Recently, the company has expanded to include china, flatware, silver items and holiday-themed collectibles. Waterford crystal is extremely popular, especially as a wedding gift, and pieces are often passed down through family members. This can lead to having pieces of the crystal without knowing the pattern name.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
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Identify the piece of crystal as being manufactured by Waterford. Each piece of Waterford crystal has an acid-etched signature on the bottom. Sometimes the signature is hard to read because of the decorative cuts on the underside of the glass or because of wear to the bottom of the glass. The style of the signature will vary depending on the age of the piece.
Examine the pattern. Each Waterford pattern has a distinctive design of decorative cuts and shapes. Become familiar with yours.
Visit the library or the bookstore. Look for information on collecting or identifying crystal, such as Bob Page's "Crystal Stemware Identification Guide." Most books of this type will contain a section on Waterford.
Take your piece to an antiques store that specialises in Waterford crystal. Often, a knowledgeable shop owner will be able to identify the pattern for you, or you may be able to identify it yourself by looking at their selection.
Research your pattern online. Replacements Limited offers a large selection of Waterford crystal for sale, and you may be able to identify your pattern by comparing it to their selection. This can be a time-consuming process because of the large number of patterns manufactured by Waterford. If you are interested in buying more pieces from your pattern, contact the company and ask if you can send in a picture of your piece to help with identification.
Go to the source. Waterford.com shows both retired and active crystal patterns. In addition to being a valuable resource to help in identifying patterns, this is a good place to go if you are interested in supplementing your crystal collection.
Find an appraiser who specialises in crystal. For a fee, the appraiser will authenticate and identify your piece. Contact a local antiques store to get recommendations on finding a qualified expert. There are online options as well, such as Waterford Crystal Appraisal, which is run by a former Master Craftsman for Waterford Crystal Ireland.
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