Caring for engraved wine glassesLaura
Owning a collection of beautiful engraved wine glasses can bring a lot of pleasure, not only in the use of them, but also in displaying the collection for everyone to admire. By following a few simple guidelines, your glassware can be protected and displayed in all its glory, and enjoyed for many years to come.
The correct temperature
Glass, especially in crystal and antique forms, can be greatly affected by heat, light and moisture, so it is advised to take great in choosing where a piece or collection of engraved wines glasses will be stored or displayed.
Sometimes, glass can deteriorate but the damage can be hard to detect, leading to greater damage. Keep glass items away from extremes of temperature, such as radiators, open fires, or cooling vents. The more stable the temperature, the better, but it is also worth remembering that taking a piece from a very cold environment, such as an attic or cellar, straight into a very warm environment may have a detrimental effect and could cause the piece to shatter or fracture, so acclimatise the glass gradually .
Getting the lighting right
Antique glass sometimes contains manganese dioxide and selenium, and these chemicals can result in discolouration due to photo-oxidisation when exposed to ultraviolet light, so for a family heirloom of engraved wine glasses, it is best not to display them in direct sunlight or use artificial ultraviolet lights. Bright sunshine can also cause rapid temperature and humidity changes, but equally damaging can be storing your precious collection in a dark, damp cellar or attic.
Most breakages and damage to glass occurs during cleaning of the pieces, so careful handling is required when it comes to washing engraved wine glasses. Always handle pieces one at a time and with dry hands; trying to collect several wine glasses at once after a dinner party may be asking for trouble.
For crystal, expensive, delicate or treasured items, never use a dishwasher and always wash by hand. Use warm warm rather than piping hot, and a mild detergent without any abrasives. Sometimes, adding a small spot of water softener, such as Calgon, may help prevent a buildup of filming on the glass if you live in a hard water area. Lining the bottom of the sink with a tea towel can prevent glasses getting chipped or scratched, or wash in a plastic washing-up bowl if you have one, using a soft lint-free cloth to dry each piece.
If your engraved wine glasses are not going to be displayed, careful storage will keep them pristine for many years. Wrap each piece individually, preferably in plain tissue paper or bubble-wrap, making sure that there is plenty of padding between each piece and that the box being used is sturdy enough. Don’t pack items on top of each other, as this can lead to breakages.
By following these guidelines and using a little care and attention, a valued collection of engraved wine glasses can be enjoyed and eventually passed down to future generations, with the possibility of one day becoming antiques in their own right.