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Frequently Asked Questions


What makes your crystal different?
How should crystal be cleaned?
How should crystal be handled?
How should crystal be stored?
How does lead content improve glass quality?
Can the lead in lead crystal harm you?
What is the difference between glass and lead crystal?
What is Swarovski strass?
Why do you use water while cutting?
How long does it take to make a piece?
Where did you learn how to do this?
Where do you get your blank crystal?
Will you make one-of-a-kind pieces upon request?
What does full-lead crystal mean?
Why are there so few crystal cutters in the US today?
How are the colored pieces made?
Do you accommodate for group tours?
Are all your designs originals?
Are you trying to pass off your pieces as antiques?
What are your most popular patterns?
Why is your crystal so expensive?
Should all your pieces be identical?
Do you blow your own glass?
What is acid polishing?
Do you sell Swarovski items at a discount?
How fragile is your crystal?
Do you deliver and install chandeliers?
What parts of the chandeliers do you make?


What makes your crystal different?

First, it is very important to start out with a good, clear "blank" without bubbles and impurities. Then the quality of the cutting makes the big difference. Our cuts are usually deep and cut in a very precise fashion and then polished to perfection. Personal pride is one of the main ingredients in creating masterpieces.

How should crystal be cleaned?

Washing crystal is best done in a plastic tub with lukewarm soapy water. If you must use a metal sink make sure the faucet is swung out of the way and put a kitchen towel on the bottom of the sink. Using a soft brush in a circular motion will remove all dust and other debris from the cuts. Rinse with clear water and let dry.

How should crystal be handled?

Handled correctly, fine glasses can last a lifetime, here are a few guidelines for caring for fine glasses.

Never pick up a group of glasses in a "bouquet" so that the bowls clink against one another. Handle fine glasses individually by the stem. When wiping a glass, do not twist the stem, rather hold the glass at the bowl.

Avoid tapping or knocking the glass with silverware or another glass. This kind of treatment creates small abrasions on the glass which are invisible to the naked eye, but which weaken the surface, making it more susceptible to cracking and chipping. Lift your glasses rather than sliding them on a counter to prevent scratches on the base.

Never pour hot liquid into a cold glass, or cold liquid into a warm glass. Make sure you warm up the glass gradually.

How should crystal be stored?

Crystal is best stored in a dust and smoke free environment. Quick temperature changes should be avoided.

How does lead content improve glass quality?

The content of lead (in the form of lead oxide) determines optical properties of glass. High lead content in crystal glass means increased refraction properties of prisms. Perfect cut and polishing further increases refraction. 

Can the lead in lead crystal harm you?

Lead crystal will not harm your food or drink (or you). The only way that the lead in crystal can affect its contents is if you are storing alcohol in lead crystal decanters for an extended period of time. Although there have not been a large number of health issues relating to the lead in crystal, companies and manufacturers do recommend that you only keep alcohol in lead crystal decanters for up to 3 months.

What is the difference between glass and lead crystal?

Glass is an organic substance consisting of a mixture of silicates, barates or phosphates that cools to a rigid condition without crystallization. (It can be made of quartz-sand, lime, soda, potash and lead oxide.) Crystal falls into the 3 main categories. Fine Crystal or Crystalline is made from a glass mixture that contains 6% - 10% lead oxide. Lead Crystal is made from a glass mixture that contains 10% - 24% lead oxide and Full Lead Crystal is made from a glass mixture that contains 24% lead oxide or more. For the most part, crystal by European standards regards 24% lead bearing glass as crystal. However, by American standards, any glass that is perfectly clear is considered crystal regardless of the lead content. Lead oxide in crystal gives the product clarity and sparkle. Any crystal that is hand-cut usually must be 24% lead oxide or over - otherwise the crystal would be too brittle and would break when cut or engraved.

What is Swarovski strass?

Swarovski strass is a technical term describing those prisms that are full cut from world famous highest quality crystal glass containing 30% lead oxide (PbO). Swarovski strass is the world's absolute top quality of prisms.

Why do you use water while cutting?

Water is used as a coolant. Because of friction, without a steady stream of water the glass would get hot and would eventually break.

How long does it take to make a piece?

This depends on the experience and training of a cutter, as well as the size and complexity of the piece. A small intricate piece may take more time than a larger, simpler piece.

Where did you learn how to do this?

I learned my art at the Art School for Glass in Kramsach, Austria. It is now a six-year course to complete the training. Anything having to do with glass, its use and manufacture is taught at the school.

Where do you get your blank crystal?

Most of the crystal blanks come from overseas; mainly Germany, Austria, France, the Czech Republic and Poland, but we also get many blanks from Pennsylvania.

Will you make one-of-a-kind pieces upon request?

One of-a-kind pieces are our specialty. We like to work with our customers to create just the right piece. If you have a request, we will do it.

What does full-lead crystal mean?

Full-lead crystal means that the glass contains more than 24% of lead-oxide.

Why are there so few crystal cutters in the US today?

Mainly because of the lack of cutting facilities and training. Also, since the end of the "Brilliant Period" (1875-1918) all the cutters in the US have died out. Most of today's crystal is imported from abroad.

How are the colored pieces made?

Most colored pieces we cut have two layers of glass, which is called "cased glass." The two layers are fused together at the glass factory. When we cut them we cut through the outer layer of colored glass into the clear part of the piece and expose the clear layer, which gives the piece that nice contrast. Cased "cut to clear" glass is much more difficult to make and to cut, also more time consuming, and therefore more expensive. There are different metal oxides used to color glass. For example, real gold is used to create "gold ruby", cobalt for blue, and iron oxide for green, etc.

Do you accommodate for group tours?

Yes, we conduct tours on a regular basis, but please call ahead for a schedule. 603-528-1020

Are all your designs originals?

Not all designs are originals. We have our stock designs, which we have created ourselves. We also create many originals and limited editions.

Are you trying to pass off your pieces as antiques?

We certainly don't. All the pieces we make are signed and dated and we are proud of our creations, therefore they are sold under the name of Pepi Herrmann Crystal. They will be antique some day!

What are your most popular patterns?

Some of our most popular patterns are the "Marc Patrick", named after our son, the "Romance" design and the "Comet". But there are many other patterns like the "Andrea", named after our daughter and the "Bratislava" which are very intricate and time consuming to create.

Why is your crystal so expensive?

The amount of work which is involved to cut and polish a piece of crystal determines the cost and the value of the creation. The blank itself may already be costly, especially cased glass.

Should all your pieces be identical?

To a layman's eye a set of goblets should be identical. Since all pieces are entirely hand-cut, if you measure the design you would detect slight variances in the different pieces. This is just a sign of hand-work.

Do you blow your own glass?

We don't blow our own glass. It is an entirely different setup for a glassblowing company, than for a cutter.

What is acid polishing?

Acid polishing has been done for about 125 years. The glass is polished by immersing the cut pieces into hot acid which practically "melts" the rough particles away from the glass and and produces a smooth, shiny finish.

Do you sell Swarovski items at a discount?

We generally are not allowed by Swarovski to discount any of their pieces but we offer free shipping on all of them.

How fragile is your crystal?

Our crystal is just as fragile as any other glass on the market. With proper care it should last a lifetime or more.

Do you deliver and install chandeliers?

We certainly deliver and install crystal chandeliers at an extra charge for time spent and distance driven. Please call for an estimate! (603-528-1020)

What parts of the chandeliers do you make?

We cut all the bobeches and center parts of the chandeliers we sell in our own patterns. We will also cut original designs by request. We will totally assemble, deliver and install the chandeliers.

 


Copyright 2014 Pepi Herrmann Crystal, Inc. 3 Waterford Place Gilford, NH 03249-6661
Tel: (603) 528-1020 or 1-800-HANDCUT Fax: (603) 528-1010 E-mail: pepi@handcut.com
Open Tuesday - Saturday, 10:00am - 5:00pm Sundays, 12:00pm - 4:00pm after Thanksgiving