Crystal and glass hand-decoration: a path to be discovered

Crystal and glass hand-decoration as it appears to our eyes once it’s completed, is the result of a path made up of different steps. Each step must be done correctly: only this way the final product can satisfy its promise of quality and duration.
"Perle D’arte" buys crystal and glass prime quality objects and uses high-quality products for the decoration to guarantee really competitive pieces.
The value of a undecorated piece can be estimated in two ways. The first is checking the technical sheets provided by the suppliers. Those sheets inform about the characteristics of glass: its refractive index and its percentage of impurities, which must be inferior to a given number.
The second is trusting the visual approach and the experience of the decorator: brightness, transparency, originality of shape, visual quality of glass casting and glass grinding (grinding is necessary to eliminate any imperfection originated while the glass is drying).

Decoration phases

Now "Perle D’arte" invites you to enter the world of hand-decoration of crystal and glass.

First Phase: glass polishing

The surface to be decorated must be perfectly clean in order to create a high quality decoration that will survive the passing of time. The piece must be treated with a soap solution, then degreased and put into a dishwasher. After the wash, the piece must be stored in a dust-free room as the drying does not include any cloth wiping.

Vaso in cristallo

Second phase of glass decoration: colour preparation

This phase is extremely important because colour preparation includes the most precious secrets of the art of hand-decoration.
"Perle D’arte" guarantees the use of prime quality colours and paint ensuring extreme brightness and glossiness that normal water colours cannot offer. All products are non-toxic, lead-free and created exclusively for crystal and glass decoration ( each element must be weighted on a sling). "Perle D’arte" deals with a supplier that adjusts each element especially for "Perle D’arte".

Third phase: hand-decoration

This is the phase in which the art of decoration wins its audience and the craftsman can dress up each piece with colours and shades to excite and intrigue the ones watching the finished object.

Fourth phase: decoration drying

The pieces must be stores in dust-free spaces at room temperature. Time necessary for drying depends on humidity and air temperature. 18 hours are necessary to be sure the colour has been absorbed and the liquid part has evaporated. At this point, the object can be manipulated. For some kind of paints or for particular decorations, convection ovens can be used to facilitate drying.


The history of glass

Glass is the result of the solidification of a liquid without any crystallization happening. Crystal is the result of the melting of pure raw materials, among which are fine sand and lead oxide that grant the visual characteristics of diamonds.
Crystal percentage of lead must not be inferior to 24%, and this grants maximum brightness (refractive index is 1.545) and a high-tone sound, pleasant and lasting.

Phoenicians were the first ones to use glass. And proofs have been found in Egypt that around 2000 BC, glass was shaped to create dishes. In twelfth-century Venice, craftsman glassmakers refined the technique of glass blowing.
Venice became the centre of glass production thanks to innovative technologies and dish trade. Venice glassmakers migrated to other parts of Europe with their art and facilitated the spread of glass industry.

Already in 1271, the Statute of Venice, called "Capitulare", protected glass making in the city, banning the import of glass from abroad and interdicting foreigners from glassmaking. In 1291 a city law ordered the transfer of all glass workshops to the isle of Murano, in order to protect the city from fires.

Between the tenth and the fortieth century, glass made in Venice was expensive because the technique remained a well-kept secret of the glassmakers of the city. At the end of the seventeenth century glass production was named "Crown production" which consist in rotating 4 kg of soften glass at the end of a bar until it has flattened into a disk of 1.5 meters of width. The disk was then cut in sheets.

At the end of the thirteenth century there’s evidence that to realize eyewear beryl was replaced by glass to produce lenses. Around 1450 in Murano, Angelo Barovier invented crystal by adding sodium and manganese to the basic composition of glass.

Bohemia crystal was introduced only in the seventeenth/eighteenth century.