The Crystal Process

 

In a 1,200ºC furnace brilliance is born. The raw materials of silica sand, lead oxide and potassium carbonate are fired together until molten, when the glassblowers, using only their skill and basic tools: wooden blocks and moulds, create the blank piece of crystal. When the glassblower has created the blank shape of crystal, it is immediately put in an annealing oven which cools it to room temperature in about three hours. The crystal blank then has a geometric grid applied to aid in the cutting of the design, however the position and depth of each cut is determined by Eamonn by hand as he guides the diamond tipped wheel on each piece. Eamonn cuts his crystal on a very high-angled wheel which cuts deep into the crystal. There are simpler methods but this deep-cutting captures the light when the crystal is then polished, thus giving each piece its own unique lustre.