Stemware Stemware

Stemware with a long history

Stemware has a gilded past. Equally as interesting as learning that the proper way to hold the glass is by the stem, is that a goblet is defined as a glass holding more than 4 ounces of liquid. The earliest known are 15th century enameled goblets.

In the 16th century, stemware creator Verzelini, of the finest and revered Venetian glass making artisans of the day, who were known to be the epitome of excellence, crafted the wine glasses found in England from the era. They are diamond engraved glasses, mostly with plain, straight stems.

In the same time period, air twist stems and later a twist incised on the exterior were being created. Bohemian crystal rose to the forefront of creativity in stemware to compete with the Venetian masters. The Bohemians added chalk to the glass, discovering a brilliant, strong glass. The stemware made from this Bohemian crystal was so thick that it was easy to engrave. The designs were stunning with details of history and battles and life of the day. Venetians banned its import to protect local artisans. Its popularity faded with the invention by the English of lead crystal.

Then, stemware demand shifted again back to the Bohemians when, in the 1830's, they began creating stemware of a variety of colors. French crystal, in the 1800's, was very popular, emphasizing a variety of shapes for cordials and bowls, often used for wine. Craftsmen were plentiful throughout Europe, with those of different nationalities seeking work in stemware factories from Ireland at Waterford, to Orrefors in Sweden, and wherever they could find work, including Corning in New York. In the 1800's, there remained more glass artisans than jobs to satisfy them!

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