A Guide to the Different Types of Crystal Glassware

Fine glassware has long been a staple of special occasions, but there’s something about the sparkle and intricate design of hand-cut crystal that elevates everyday moments too. 

This guide covers the different types of crystal glassware and their care instructions, so you can choose glasses that brighten your table and last a lifetime. 

But first, let’s unpack the benefits of choosing crystal over regular glassware.

The benefits of crystal glassware


Crystal is a much more solid, sturdy material than regular glass, making it less likely to break during washing or day to day use. A high-quality set of crystal glassware can last for generations. 

Finer cuts

The sturdiness of crystal also allows it to be cut more finely without the risk of breakage, whereas regular glass has to maintain a certain level of thickness. When choosing wine glasses, this is a particularly important factor, as a thin rim greatly enhances the tasting experience. 


Intricately cut crystal has an undeniable beauty that immediately elevates any occasion. Whether you’re entertaining guests or enjoying a pensive after-dinner drink, the artisanal handiwork of a fine crystal glass never fails to amaze.

Types of crystal glassware

Different drinks deserve purpose-built crystal glassware. Depending on your drink of choice, you might consider: 

Crystal wine glasses

A quality
crystal wine glass enhances the flavor of a wine by letting it breathe, with oxygen exposure across the surface area opening up the more subtle elements of the nose. The finer rim of a crystal glass also allows for seamless drinking.

Learn which wine glass is best suited for your next bottle of red or white in our crystal wine glass guide.


Crystal champagne glasses

Champagne glasses go beyond the standard flute. Crystal coupes, for example, are perfect for champagne cocktails or lending your toast a touch of 1920s style glamour. Decide which style is best suited for your next celebration with our crystal champagne glass guide.


Crystal cocktail glasses

Cocktail glasses come in all shapes and sizes, from classic martini glasses to tropically inspired hurricane glasses perfect for serving fruity blends. A range of cocktail glasses is, therefore, a must for any well-rounded home bar cart. 

Explore more in our guide to crystal cocktail glasses.

Crystal whiskey glasses

Whiskey glasses are designed for slow, contemplative sipping - either neat or with plenty of ice. As such, a classic crystal tumbler makes for the perfect serve. Its thickness insulates the ice from the heat of your palm and gives the glass a reassuring heaviness as you enjoy the spirit at leisure. 

Learn more about the different types in our crystal whiskey glass guide.

Crystal gin glasses

With its broad range of botanicals and garnishes, gin also warrants a glass of its own. This might be a gin balloon with plenty of room for ice and fresh ingredients or a classic highball glass for a G&T.

Discover other options in our guide to crystal gin glasses.

How to clean crystal glassware

Properly cleaning and maintaining your crystal glassware is a vital part of preserving it for the next generation. Abide by the following guidelines to clean your glasses safely:

  • Avoid using a dishwasher, as it will dull the brilliance of the crystal. Use only warm, soapy water instead.

  • Avoid rapid changes in temperature as this can cause the crystal to crack.

  • When polishing the interior of the glass, do not twist the base in the opposite direction to the cloth as this can lead to breakage.

  • Preserve the fine rims of your glasses by always storing and drying them in an upright position. 

Get full care guidelines for all your crystal products here

Make your next special occasion even more memorable. 

Shop Waterford’s range of crystal glassware