The thing about Waterford crystal…

Posted by in Architecture & Design, Art, Musings, Travel

In my #discoveringireland trips, I arrived in the city of Waterford, presumably the oldest city in Ireland. Before embarking on the trip I looked up Waterford on Google, obviously, and I discovered that one of the main attractions of the city is Waterford Crystal Visitor Centre. Waterford is known as well, as the Crystal County and apparently is worldwide renown for its glass production history. In the Waterford Crystal Visitor Centre,  you can find products from crystal tableware to chandeliers or large pieces such as a crystal harp, Cinderella’s carriage (about 50 cm long and priced at about 40.000 euros), or a more artistic endeavour, a crystal rugby hat, etc. You can take a guided tour around the factory and see how the glass is actually blown and moulded but I only chose only to visit the showroom and take photos. While I was there, for about an hour, groups of people were coming and going, mostly American and Asian, apparently crystal is very popular among Americans, or so a young employee girl told me. If I think about it, the american classic homes own more decorative elements, such as porcelain ballerinas and crystal vases than the Romanian communist homes of our grandparents. Such clutter, one mights say! But I guess it’s a way of life, with a history of it’s own.

Besides the clutter, I tried to understand why would anyone pay such large amounts of money to own a piece of decorative crystal , mostly without a specific purpose but then again, isn’t this the description of luxury items? And the luxury universe has a life of it’s own, independent  of efficiency, minimalism, unmaterialistic principles , ecology, etc. We won’t go deep into this subject right now.

Anyway, I took some close up photos, so to let myself get past the instant, perhaps superficial dislike of decorative crystal, and ponder more on the craft, the details of the glass shapes and carvings and the magic of the play of lights.

Cinderella s carriage, 40.000 euros.

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Crystal globe, 14.000 euros.

In the end it was a pleasant experience, money and purpose aside, everything has a beautiful side. And crystal has many, wonderfully cut and crafted with dedication by artisans, and it is worth appreciating even if not buying it and placing it in your house.

Oh, and I almost forgot, if ever at Waterford Crystal Visitor Centre, do take 10 minutes to enjoy one of their home made cakes, in Crystal Cafe (on the right of the main entrance, the showroom is on the left). They are delicious!