Crystal stemware is not just for collecting dust in your grandmother’s cabinet! Crystal can be both fun and functional. The key to selecting your perfect crystal stemware pattern is within your mind, local department store, and wallet.
Let’s begin by using our noggins to understand the basic shapes of crystal stemware. Within most crystal patterns lies a wine glass, goblet, and champagne flute. Typically, the wine glass is used for white wines, the goblet for reds, and the champagne flute for, well, champagne. Let’s consider the above to be the “American standard”. Other areas of the world might differ with regards to the functionality of these pieces, but for now let’s keep things simple. Some manufacturers will offer an iced beverage glass if you’re lucky (i.e. Waterford). This stem is generally used for water and other non-alcoholic beverages and has the largest bowl (the part that holds the liquid).
Step 2 – Shopping
The next step involves getting into your car and heading over to the closest store that carries crystal stemware. Although it may seem laborious, I promise that the 15-mile (or less) trip will be worth your wile once you see the patterns and shapes in person. One of the biggest and most common mistakes is made by individuals who do not use their common sense. I too am one of those people that use the computer for probably far too much. The problem with letting your laptop do the deciding for you is that this stuff does, and will, look different in person. Some manufacturer’s patterns feel heavier in the hand than they appear on the screen at home. The little details that you are paying for are barely noticeable when viewed electronically. When shopping for stemware please touch the items, pretend to drink out of them, play dinner party, etc. Depict what entertaining at your house currently looks like. Do you have small, casual get-togethers or large, posh parties? Is your mansion, apartment, shack, house busy with pattern or starkly simply? My point is that what you choose to entertain with should be a reflection of how you actually entertain.
Last but not least, check your bank account before taking the crystal plunge. Let’s face it crystal stemware is a luxury. You’d be hard-pressed to find a quality crystal goblet under 30 dollars, but that’s not to say that they don’t exist. A final rule to remember is to simply be realistic about your budget. Do not purchase a complete set of a pattern before you’ve even tried out one of the pieces. If you have tons of money to blow, that’s another thing, but if you don’t then try buying a piece or two at a time, starting with one style (i.e. champagne flute) and purchasing one more every so often until the desired quantity is reached. If you’re worried about the discontinuation of the pattern then consider purchasing one item a month so that you don’t absorb the cost all at once.