Traditional tools and honed skills.

 

At Cristal Benito, every new piece starts with a slowly-evolving design which is passed on to the crystal glassworks.

Here, a wooden mould is made, around which the desired shape is formed, and blown by mouth, in crystal that has a lead content of between 24% and 30%, depending on what is specified by the workshop. Franck Benito then traces the main outline of the sculpture onto the uncut form.

After this, the crystal shape is milled by hand to cut the initial design in rough. The cutting is then refined; patterns are channelled out deeper and deeper to the utmost breaking point of the crystal. This technique, followed by buffing the piece on increasingly fine polishing wheels, brings out the most brilliant shine. Once the cutting process is finished, the item is either polished further on felt wheels, or it is submerged in an acid bath for a carefully monitored period.

Assembling the pieces

Feet, handles and other elements appropriate to the design are added to finish the article. These additions are also designed by Franck Benito and made by the company’s bronze smiths in gilded bronze, gold plated silver, or pure silver and gold as required.

How does crystal get its colour?

The initial form is always blown in ‘white’ crystal but is covered whilst hot, in a thin, extra layer of crystal coloured with pigment. It is then cut like other pieces, in some cases only retaining the added colour on the surface of cabochons, medallions or facets.

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