Glass is made from silica sand, while crystal is comprised of silica sand and lead. Crystal has a lead content that must be a minimum of 24 percent to achieve the crystal definition. Where Waterford crystal has a minimum lead content is 32 percent. Everyday glassware contains 50 percent sand and no lead. But some American manufacturers produce glass with less than 24 percent lead and refer to it as lead glass.
How to tell the Difference
Crystal is heavier than glass due to its lead content, but glass is often thicker than crystal. A thin rim will generally indicate a piece is crystal since it can be blown thinner than glass. If you run your fingers along the cuts in a glass or a crystal piece. The Crystal generally results in rounder edges, while cut glass has sharp cuts. Crystal shows more clarity than a typical piece glass, and its reflective quality is why crystal is used for chandeliers, fine wine glasses and jewelry.
Wet your finger and gently swipe around the rim of a glass or crystal goblet. If you here a ringing that only comes from crystal. When tapped or clinked, crystal rings clear, while a dull thunk or clunk tells you it is glass. The lead content makes the sound , and the more lead, the longer and clearer the tone. If the wet finger doesn’t work, lightly tap the glass with a spoon to see if it creates a ringing note. It’s not always easy to tell but I hope this will help you in your picking to tell the difference.