The first stop on the tour is the mold room where you witness the ancient art of mold making. Master Blowers shape the molten crystal flawlessly with the use of these wooden molds and hand tools - a technique that has remained unchanged throughout the centuries.
As you move through to the blowing platform, this is where the magic truly begins and crystal shapes start to form. Using the molds, our skilled Master Blowers transform glowing balls of crystal into majestic shapes before placing them through the 1400-degree furnace.
Our crystal is carefully inspected at each stage of production to ensure each piece meets our exacting standards. With six stringent inspection areas, only pieces that satisfy these standards make it to the next stage of production. Items that do not pass our quality standards are crushed and melted along with our other crystal making ingredients.
The next part of your journey is the marking department. Here the crystal is marked with a temporary geometric grid that assists the Master Cutter as they cut the pattern onto the crystal. Each brilliant crystal piece is cut strictly from memory, with these lines simply acting as a guideline for precision and accuracy.
In the cutting department you will see our Master Cutters at work, utilizing the masterful skills they learnt during an eight-year apprenticeship. Each pattern, no matter how detailed, must be learned and memorized by the cutter during his training years. The Master Cutter relies on their skill and dexterity to cut patterns, applying the exact pressure to make the cut without damaging the integrity of the vessel.
In the next stage of our tour the sculpting department, inspirational pieces of crystal created by our Master sculptors start out as solid blocks of crystal. Experience how delicately our Master Craftsmen adorn the intricate detail onto the crystal as they transform robust blocks of crystal into elegant shapes and figures with their sculpting wheels.
Finally, you will have the chance to see Master Engravers at work. Using copper wheels, these skilled artisans patiently engrave intricate designs onto trophies and limited-edition pieces, a painstaking process that can take days to complete depending on the size and complexity of the design. The type of copper wheel engraving used at Waterford Crystal is called Intaglio, which means ‘reverse’. The deeper the engraving on the crystal, the more prominent and pronounced the detail.