Engraved wine glasses – a special gift with a long history

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Personalised gifts are special as they say that some thought has been put into creating a unique gift. For the wine lover in your life, engraved wine glasses always make for a welcome gift.

A brief history of the wine glass in Britain

People have been drinking wine from engraved glasses for many hundreds of years, but glass used to be a luxury material only bought by the rich. It was not until the Industrial Revolution came along that glass became more affordable.

Glass has been on the Earth longer than man has. A naturally occurring obsidian glass is formed when the earth’s core erupts in a volcano. The material only requires three basic ingredients: silica, flux (such as soda or potash) and a stabiliser like lead oxide. Fuel is then needed to heat to create an elevated temperature. The earliest glass objects were made by covering hardened clay objects with molten glass.

The Romans conquered Britain in AD 43, and glass has been found in archaeological sites that were occupied by them. The Romans developed glassblowing techniques to shape the glass into drinking vessels.

After the Romans left in the 5th Century, glassmaking in Britain declined for a long time. In the 16th Century, Jean Carré set up a glassmaking factory in Southern England. He called his glass ‘cristallo’ and it was inspired by the glass techniques of Venice. Cristallo was a thin, dark green glass.

In 1676, George Ravenscroft added lead oxide to the glass production process. His lead crystal glass was thick and heavy in contrast to the thin Venetian style.

Georgian glassmakers supplied drinking glasses, which affluent people used to show off their wealth. These glasses were thick, but eventually thinner glasses became popular – many with stems like modern wine glasses.

The 18th and 19 Century is regarded as the peak period for ornate glassmaking. Hand blown, hand engraved, and hand polished glass was created. Glass was still a luxury item, which made it unaffordable for the average person to use for drinking wine.

The Industrial Revolution and the introduction of the steam engine meant that cutting and engraving could be quicker and more precise. Acid-based etching and press moulds meant that wine glasses could be produced in large quantities.

After World War II, glass became a common way to drink beer and wine, though some pubs still served drinks in pot, pewter or china vessels.

Engraved wine glasses

Wine experts believe that it’s worth paying a little extra for quality wine glasses, as they can enhance the drinking experience.

Crystal engraved glasses are perhaps the perfect gift for a wine lover. A glass engraver can engrave any text message to the glass or add an image.

Some people who receive engraved wine glasses think that they are too special to drink out of, preferring to put them in a display cabinet in their home. Other disagree and regularly use engraved wine glasses to improve their wine tasting experience.

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