How to Tell if a Piece is Crystal or Glass

It isn’t always easy to tell of a piece is crystal or glass, especially if you are making your purchase online.  When buying online, we have to depend on the seller to give us an accurate description, but even then, it is always wise to make sure they accept returns before you buy.

I often prefer glass to crystal simply because glass is generally thicker and sturdier.  It is not as likely to shatter if guests are not using the item with care and consideration, plus glassware can often be washed in the dishwasher on a normal setting.


How to Tell Crystal from Glass

Sometimes the term “crystal” is used loosely to describe any piece of glassware, but when it really matters to us, it is good to know how to tell the difference between glass and crystal.

  • If you see a prism, or a rainbow, in the piece when holding it to the sunlight, it is crystal.
  • Crystal is musical ~ If you tap it, you will hear a resounding “ping” or if you run wet finger tips around the rim, it will ring.
  • If designs are cut, the edges will be smoother and rounded on crystal
  • Crystal is often thinner than glass


Crystal or Glass Examples

Here are two examples. The flutes on the left are crystal and the flutes on the right are glass. Pictures are not always easy, but I wanted to be able to show examples.

I will note, both listing do indicate that they are dishwasher safe in the product description. However, I would never personally recommend washing crystal in the dishwasher where the water may well be too hot. Plus, any piece is much more likely to be broken or chipped in the dishwasher.

 Waterford CRYSTAL Lismore Essence Champagne FluteCheck Price Luigi Bormioli GLASS Allegro Champagne Flute GlassesCheck Price