Cut Crystal

Buy cut crystal from a glass engraver Website

This term is sometimes known as Crystal Cut Glasses, Cut Glass Crystal, Cut Crystal Glass and Hand Cut Crystal.  What is Cut Crystal?  Simply, it is Crystal that has been cut into a pattern.  Cut Crystal can be achieved by cutting by a machine or as Hand Cut Crystal or Pressed, at point of manufacturer.

Hand Cut Crystal

A cutter of Hand Cut Crystal will mark out the Crystal and then cut it on a machine, before polishing it.  You can find out more about Hand Cut Crystal on our Lead Crystal page.  It is Lead Crystal that is cut into patterns and polished, not usually Crystal-Glass or Glassware.  Crystal and Glassware can be cut into patterns, but the acid used to polish Lead Crystal will burn anything with lower than 24% Lead Oxide in the glass.  The patterns cut into Crystal and Glassware are then left in a frosted state, named Intaglio Cutting.  It looks good and very modern, but should not be confused with Cut Crystal.

Hand Cut Crystal can usually be identified by the tiny scores, left by the cutting wheel.  Even after polishing, the scores are there to be seen by the naked eye.  It is also interesting to note that Victorian Hand Cut Crystal can be identified by a sharper cut.  The glass was not dipped in acid after cutting in those times.  Instead, an apprentice cutter would polish the cuts using pumice powder, leaving the cuts sharper than acid does – which has a far more ‘rounded’ look.

Pressed Cut Crystal

Pressed Cut Crystal is machine made Crystal, where the mould has patterns in it.  This results in any ‘cuts’ being very rounded, it being impossible to manufacture really sharp moulds that will release the glass after pressing.


Man cutting crystal on diamond wheel.

Hand cutting crystal on a diamond wheel

Machine Cut Crystal

Of course, a machine can cut crystal to the same pattern that a human being can.  To set up the machine takes time and therefore the minimum quantities for an order run into thousands.  If multiple wheels are to be used, to create different patterns in the Cut Crystal, then these can also be incorporated, but take more time to set the machine up.

Crystal Cut Glasses

This is a misnomer, because it is not ‘crystal which cuts glass’, or ‘glasses which have been crystal cut’.  Crystal Cut Glasses is a common term used for Cut Crystal or Cut Glass.  The term Crystal Cut Glasses sounds nice and that’s probably why the term has ‘stuck’ in modern language.  Certainly, everyone knows what is really meant by Crystal Cut Glasses.  Maybe it was originally meant to mean Cut Crystal or Cut Glass.  Sometimes, people even say Crystal Cut Glassware.  Hand Cut Glassware would be unusual, because Glassware is not normally cut – but Crystal Glasses are.