A crystal award can be a unique way to show appreciation for a job well done, to mark
an achievement, or to extend congratulations on an anniversary. Based on the nature of the
event, as well as the personal tastes and preferences of its intended recipient, any one
of a number of different styles may be suitable. Whatever the reason, or the taste, there
are a wide variety of these breath-taking awards to choose from.
There are several different types of crystal that are used in creating awards. The most
common is called optic, or optical, crystal. This type of crystal is known for its
hardness and clarity, as well as for the fact that it is completely lead-free. Optic
crystal uses pressure, and not lead oxide, during its manufacturing process to eliminate
bubbles and other imperfections. Due to the process of pressurization involved in its
manufacture, it is only available in sheets, and is not suitable to the production of
glassware. It is generally used only to create solid form awards such as obelisks and
By introducing special additives to the manufacturing process, optic crystal can be
colored black. In this form, it is often used as the base for a sculpture or figurine.
Starfire is a slightly blue-tinted crystal manufactured in a process similar to that of
optic crystal. Some consider Starfire to be a glass, and not a crystal, due to its less
Jade crystal is a favorite with corporate clientele. It belongs to the same family as
Starfire, and is known for its mild greenish tint.
Full lead crystal is what most people usually think of when the topic of crystal is
brought up. Unlike optic crystal, it relies on the addition of lead oxide during its
manufacture to produce its flawless clarity and hardness, as well as to give it weight.
Because lead, and not pressure, is used in its manufacture, it does not need to be
produced in sheet form. Instead, it is blown in the time-honored tradition by a team of
skilled glass makers. This gives it a wider range of uses and more design flexibility than
optic crystal. Bowls, figurines, cups and vases are made from it.
Any lead crystal that contains less than a minimum of twenty-four percent lead oxide, is
not considered to be full lead crystal.
Two and three-dimensional images, etched inside of a solid piece of crystal, are another
type of award that is becoming increasingly popular. This sort of etching is made by using
a laser to create hundreds of thousands of microscopic cracks deep inside the heart of the
crystal, forming a remarkably lifelike image. Because there is no way of using a laser to
draw continuous lines, each image must be made one tiny crack at a time. Fortunately, with
today's laser technology, this can be done fairly quickly. However, the crystal used must
be completely free of even the tiniest defects, and its surface must be perfectly flat in
order for the laser to accurately hit its target. This makes carving images inside of
spheres and other oddly shaped crystal very difficult, though not impossible.
Showing someone how much you value and appreciate them with a crystal award is a gesture
that will never be forgotten. It is a memento that will be treasured forever.