waterford bird and glasses

Saving on Waterford Crystal at Legacies

Waterford crystal has defined elegance since the company was founded in Ireland in 1793. Today, their offerings include glassware, serving pieces, cutlery, vases, bowls, photo frames, clocks, candleholders, lanterns, desk accessories, dressing table items (like ring holders and perfume bottles) and more.

At any one time you can a wide range of these collector’s items at Legacies Upscale Retail shop in Cincinnati’s Hyde Park Plaza.

The Story of Waterford

There is archaeological evidence of glass being prized as far back the Iron Age, about 500 BCE. Medieval documents prove that glass-making was an Irish tradition from as early as the 13th century. What happened between 500 BCE and 1,200 CE is not known, but it is crystal clear that the Irish have long had a talent for the craft.

The Waterford Crystal company propelled primitive glass-making processes into luxury crystal manufacturing:


Waterford was established in 1793 on land adjacent to Merchants' Quay in the Irish harbor town of Waterford. Founding brothers George and William Penrose had a vision of profitably creating the finest quality crystal drinking vessels, along with objects of beauty for the home.

Closing and reopening

The Penrose brothers’ crystal was immediately prized for its clarity and purity of color. They were successful well into the 1800s. But in 1853, the factory fell victim to economic events not dissimilar to today’s business trials. The company closed.

Waterford’s story picks back up in 1947, when Kael Bacik named Czech countryman Miroslav Havel Chief Designer of his “green” Irish glass-making company. Havel studied surviving examples of Waterford crystal at the National Museum of Ireland.

A best-selling pattern

Those patterns became the design foundation for the new company, which took its name from the original Waterford company as well. In 1952, Havel created the Lismore pattern, the world’s best-selling crystal pattern ever.

Partnerships with designers

Waterford collaborations and partnerships with leading designers have elevated their products to the peak of excellence and sophistication, creating a wide range of dining, desk and home décor options.

Why Choose Waterford Crystal?

waterford miscWaterford is the most-collected brand in the world. Many people don’t even use their Waterford pieces, they consider them so valuable!

Crystal is a type of glass. There are three main criteria for crystal established by the European Union (EU) in 1969:

1. a lead content over 24%,
2. a density of more than 2.90, and
3. a reflective index of 1.545.

Waterford sticks strictly to these guidelines, but outside the EU, this definition is usually disregarded. In the U.S., any glass with more than 1% lead content is called crystal.

The minerals used in crystal strengthen it, making possible the thin, yet durable character of crystal glassware. But glass tends to be stronger than crystal, which is why crystal is often reserved for special occasions.

The lead in crystal makes the glass soft, allowing for the formation of detailed patterns and designs you don’t find in glass glassware.

Buying Waterford at Legacies Upscale Resale

Waterford items are frequently given as wedding, anniversary, graduation and new baby gifts. They are used only on special occasions and are virtually indestructible, so when it comes time to downsize, many people need a place to pass on the Waterford they have owned for decades.

The main difference between buying Waterford at retail stores and at consignment shops like Legacies is price. We exist to raise money for the Cancer Support Community (CSC). We take no profit and all our salespeople are volunteers.

Because our Waterford pieces are difficult to distinguish from new, customers can dress their tables and homes with grand elegance—without breaking the bank.

glassware crystal glassware

What’s the Difference Between Crystal and Glass?

Crystal is a subset of glass. There are three main criteria for crystal as established by the European Union in 1969:

  1. a lead content over 24%,
  2. a density of more than 2.90, and
  3. a reflective index of 1.545.

John Kennedy, head of technical services at Waterford (the world’s foremost purveyor of high-end crystal based in Ireland) sticks strictly to these guidelines for Waterford crystal.

Outside of the EU, however, this definition is usually disregarded. In the United States, any glass with more than 1% lead content is called crystal.

What makes a glass crystal?

crystal glasswareThe term “crystal” often refers to glassware that has a more elegant form than the everyday glassware you use at dinner. You bring out “the crystal” for special occasions. However, that is not an official difference between the two. There is actually no universally agreed-upon definition of crystal (beyond the EU definition), but a general rule is that crystal contains lead.

The lead or other minerals used in crystal strengthen the material, so you can have thin and elegant, yet somewhat durable glassware.

How are crystal and glass glassware made?

Crystals are pure elements with an orderly pattern of atoms, molecules, or ions. Crystals occur naturally, but can also be formed by man though a mechanism of crystal growth called crystallization or solidification.

Technically, the application of the term ‘crystal’ to glass is inaccurate, as glass is an amorphous solid. By definition it lacks a crystalline structure. Yet the term has stuck around and remains popular.

Glassware can be made from many materials, most often sand, soda ash and limestone, which are melted at high temperatures. It can also include potash, zinc or barium. The most recent ingredient used is titanium.

As stated above, only products that are 24% lead or more should be technically be called "lead crystal." Products with less lead oxide or other non-lead metal oxides, should officially go by the names " crystal glass” or “crystallin.” Still, they are all often known as the catch-all name, crystal.

Color, brilliance and strength

The color and brilliance of glass varies, depending on its contents. Glass made with iron tends to have a green tinge, while glass made with soda-lime has an aqua tint. Some people find these shades unattractive, but glasses with a greenish hue are usually stronger.

Crystals generally are light in color and mostly translucent. Some clear crystals reflect light into different colors. When held in the right position, the refraction and dispersion of light from crystal will create a rainbow.

Glass also tends to be stronger than crystal, which is why crystal glassware is often only reserved for special occasions (that, plus it should not be put in a dishwasher). The use of lead in the crystal makes the glass soft and malleable, allowing for the formation of detailed patterns and designs you don’t find in glass glassware.

The high lead content is why crystal “rings” when tapped, and is heavier than normal glassware.  Depending on the structure, patterns and rarity of the crystals, crystal can be much more expensive than glass.

Beyond the table

Companies like Waterford and Swarovski make crystal vases, bowls, picture frames, candlesticks, clocks, jewelry, chandeliers and more. You can almost always find exquisite crystal items at friendly prices at Legacies Upscale Resale.

Used for awards and recognitions because its heft conveys “momentous” and it can be engraved, crystal is often given as wedding, graduation, new baby and hostess gifts for the same reasons. Since crystal items are frequently used only for celebrations, they are often in like-new condition when donated or consigned to Legacies.

Furniture Stores in Cincinnati

There are Cincinnati furniture stores focused on new merchandise, and others that specialize in used furniture. Filling your home with high-personality second-hand furniture is a great way to set up housekeeping, or give your space a fresh new look. An upscale resale store like Legacies is a great place to start. When shopping used furniture, first try to learn the piece’s backstory. The store may have information, or you can look online. Buying used, you should get at least a 50% discount off the original price of newish pieces. Vintage in good condition is another story, however. You may pay a lot more than the original owner, depending on the brand and condition of the table, chair, sofa, bookcase or dresser in question. Decide what you are looking for ahead of time: Think about what shape, style and color you want; what material you want; and the dimensions you need.