Lead crystal is made by adding lead oxide to hot, molten glass during the fabrication process. This process creates reflection and refraction of light and produces sparkle. Crystal glassware remains a popular choice purely for artistic elegance and appeal. The charm and beauty of crystal glassware is greatly reduced by any damage, especially chips. Fortunately most chipped crystal glassware can be repaired, although not to its original state. Chips can be minimised or evened out.
Make a paste with baking soda and water. Use a clean, soft rag to apply the paste to the chip, including approximately 0.3 cm (1/8 inch) on each side of the chip. Rub in a back and forth motion over the chip to even out any sharp edges. Continue rubbing until the chip is gone. This method works well for very minor chips.
Apply white toothpaste with a clean, soft rag to the chip and slightly beyond. Buff until the chip is less noticeable to the touch. Do not use gel toothpaste because it is not abrasive. A mildly abrasive toothpaste is required. This approach works well for minor chips.
Use jeweller's rouge polishing compound and a small rotary buffing tool such as a Dremel rotary tool. Apply the jeweller's rouge to a felt head accessory. Carefully and slowly buff the chip out of the crystal glassware and even out the rim. This method will leave the rim of the glass shorter and will leave a white discolouration.
Use an adhesive especially made for glass repair, if you can find the chipped piece. These specialised adhesives are resistant to liquids, even boiling water. Adhesives form a very strong bond, although there may be a noticeable line where the repair was made.
Employ a professional crystal restoration specialist for deep chips or large chips, which will be virtually impossible to remove at home. If you own very expensive heirloom or irreplaceable crystal, a fine glass or crystal repair shop is the safest and most effective resource for restoring crystal glassware.
- Waterford Crystal
- Orrefors Crystal
- China Glass Repair: Cementing broken china and glass
- "New Fix-It-Yourself Manual: How to repair, clean, and maintain anything and everything in and around your home"; Reader's Digest; 1996
- Jeweller's rouge polishing compound is a mildly abrasive buffing agent used by jewellers. It is available online and at some hardware stores.
- A Dremel rotary tool is a small hand-held tool with a high-speed spinning head. These tools are available at craft and hobby stores, hardware stores and online.
- Crystal glassware cannot be restored to an "as new" condition with any of these methods. Wearing down the surface will cause the glassware to become shorter and may leave a white discolouration on the rim, if it is not polished out.
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