Traditional Crystal Lights
These lights are more traditional in their approach and are those which would grace a stately home (if you are lucky enough to have one!). Choose from a wide selection of fittings and, if you are unsure of the difference between glass and crystal, please see the information listed below the products.
Confused as to the difference between crystal and glass? Crystal has a lead content of at least 24% whereas glass has no lead. Very fine quality crystal will contain anywhere from 36% to 70%. Higher lead content increases clarity, brilliance and weight however lead crystal is soft and more susceptible to scratching.
So, the difference between glass and crystal is the lead content and glass contains little or no lead. Glass will usually have softer edges than crystal.
Whether a product is labelled as crystal or glass (or sometimes cut glass) differs from country to country. In the Western world crystal usually indicates the presence of lead with a content of at least 24%. Lights containing 10% of lead oxide can be labelled as crystal and products containing more than 30% of lead oxide are labelled as "high-lead crystal".
In the Czech Republic, the term "crystal" is used for any exquisite, high quality glass. Therefore "leaded crystal" means that the crystal contains more than 24% of lead oxide.
The presence of lead softens the glass and makes it more suitable for cutting and engraving. Lead increases the weight of the glass and causes the glass to refract light. If crystal contains less than 24% of lead, it has a higher proportion of barium oxide which ensures that the light refracts well.
A crystal chandelier will cast a high spectrum of colours around the room and if its content of lead is higher the chandelier will provide even more sparkle.
Acrylic Crystal Beads
Acrylic is a useful, clear plastic that resembles glass, but has properties that make it superior to glass in many ways. It is lighter making it less easy to break or shatter.
Acrylic may have a transparency rate of 93% making it the clearest material known. Very thick glass will have a green tint, while acrylic remains clear.
There are some misconceptions about acrylic, namely that it yellows, turns brittle and cracks over time. Though this might be true of very cheap forms of plastic, it is not so with acrylic. Some people worry that acrylic scratches too easily, but unlike glass, scratches can be easily buffed out of acrylic.