Hand Blown vs. Machine Made

It takes a masterful combination of skill, sweat labor, and concentration to make glassware. That's why they are not super cheap like the machine-made ones found in most retail stores. That human touch achieves higher objective product quality and provides a special intangible feeling that comes from something so beautifully made.

The Wood Mold

The hand-carved mold plays a critical role in the glassware design. In the photo the block is dry, but during construction the wood is fully saturated with water which prevents the mold from catching fire and lubricates the surface so the glass can be easily shaped. Master craftsmen then insert a pipe with glass into the mold, and carefully blow the molten material into the perfect shape.

Crystal vs. Glass

Regular Glass is made primarily from sand. Sometimes minerals are added for color. It is not particularly strong, so it's made thick and heavy to compensate.

Crystal is made with ~75% of the normal glass materials PLUS a minimum ~25% strengthening minerals (lead-oxide, potassium carbonate, and/or silica) to make the material durable. This is the standard upheld within the European Union, which is higher than the rest of the world. The added metallic ingredients in crystal also dramatically increase the ability to refract brilliant light .

The Durability Factor

Crystal's strength is what allows it to be so thin. The myth of them not being dishwasher safe is an old carryover from days gone by when production methods only used lead additives. Fortunately, our modern glasses are lead-free, and include strong non-toxic materials like titanium. These glasses are tough and will be perfectly fine in the dishwasher - in fact, it's recommended!

Watch Anthony Bianco hand-blow the very first Fontaine prototype!