We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is Lead Crystal?

Dana Hinders
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
About Mechanics is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At About Mechanics, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Lead crystal is made from glass that has been treated with lead oxide and hand or machine cut to make facets. This gives the glass a higher index of refraction and creates an attractive sparkling effect that is prized throughout the world.

Englishman George Ravenscroft is credited with discovering lead crystal in 1676. Today, a number of companies are known for making it, and they produce drinking glasses and serving dishes, as well as sculptures, miniatures, jewelry, chandeliers, candle holders, Christmas ornaments, and home décor items from this material.

Lead crystal can be purchased from jewelry stores, fine department stores, and online specialty shops. Prices will vary according to the type of item, manufacturer, and quality of the crystal. It is a popular gift for weddings, anniversaries, graduations, and baby showers. In fact, lead crystal keepsakes are passed from generation to generation in many families.

While lead crystal is undoubtedly beautiful, it is notoriously fragile. Since even dust can act as a damaging abrasive agent, great care must be taken to clean and store items made from this material. Experts recommend that owners use a blow dryer on the cool air setting to remove dry dust particles from crystal items. People should avoid using harsh commercial cleaners, but it is safe to polish the crystal gently with a soft, lint-free cloth. To avoid leaving unsightly fingerprints, cleaners always wear gloves when working. If possible, crystal should be stored in a locked glass display cabinet.

Some types of crystal can contain up to 33% lead, so people should use caution when drinking or eating from it. Acidic food and beverages, such as pickles, fruit juices, wine, or soft drinks, can leach significant amounts of lead from the containers they are stored in. Research has shown that lead exposure can cause forgetfulness, memory loss, nausea, depression, fatigue, joint pain, vomiting, and abdominal cramping. High levels of lead exposure can even lead to sterility or brain damage.

To reduce the risks associated with eating and drinking from lead crystal, people should always store food and beverages in lead-free containers and only transfer them to the crystal immediately before serving. New crystal can be soaked in vinegar for 24 hours before it's used, washed by hand with a mild detergent, and rinsed thoroughly with lukewarm water. Since the dangers of lead exposure are even more prominent for children and pregnant women, however, it’s best to avoid using lead crystal entirely for these groups.

About Mechanics is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Dana Hinders
By Dana Hinders , Writer
With a B.A. in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Iowa, Dana Hinders brings a strong foundation to her work as a freelance writer. After discovering her passion for freelance writing following the birth of her son, Dana has been a vital part of the About Mechanics team. She also showcases her versatility by creating sales copy and content for e-courses and blogs.

Discussion Comments

By anon160236 — On Mar 15, 2011

how do i cut the bottom off a lead crystal decanter/vase?

By anon129640 — On Nov 24, 2010

Does all lead crystal say lead crystal? What about a decanter that says crystal? How would I know. Help!

By anon112860 — On Sep 22, 2010

The whitish deposits are most likely hard water mineral deposits. You might try a cleaning solution of vinegar and water.

By anon43203 — On Aug 26, 2009

How can you tell lead crystal from ordinary glass?

By anon31029 — On Apr 28, 2009

For cleaning purposes you can buy small ball bearings specially designed for swirling around decanters. Crystal Decanters

By anon25391 — On Jan 28, 2009

Have recently heard of lead crystal diamonds by swarovski. Do these have any harm on your skin? And also, do cubic zirconia (CZ diamonds) also contain harmful levels of lead?

By anon24963 — On Jan 21, 2009

Might denture cleaning tablets work? Have used them on vinegar cruets and flower vases too difficult to reach otherwise. Don't know if I did the right thing or not, but items came clean.

By anon16913 — On Aug 18, 2008

How do I clean whitish deposits on the inside of lead crystal decanters?

By gdmoseley — On May 13, 2008

My crystal water glasses have developed a white-ish stain. How can I make them sparkle again?

Dana Hinders

Dana Hinders


With a B.A. in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Iowa, Dana Hinders brings a strong foundation to...
Learn more
About Mechanics, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

About Mechanics, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.