Tuesday, February 11, 2014

You break it and you buy it!

The Mall in Waterford City (pronounced water-ferd) in the Republic of Ireland, is the home to some of the most brilliant and expensive crystal creations in the world. Each work is lovingly hand-crafted by expert glass blowers which can be seen in the main retail store in Waterford. Just be careful of what you touch.

J and L felt privileged to walk through the security process, yes, when there are pieces of crystal worth over one hundred thousand dollars, everyone goes through a screening. These are the same people who created the 2,668 little crystals which make the famous ball that drops each New Year's Eve in New York City's Times Square.

Ireland's Harp
This is serious money and a proud piece of Irish heritage.
The Man Who Would Be King

J an L wandered up and down aisles looking at this and that wondering what art work they should purchase with their precious Euros hoping the crystal would make it back to the good ole United States in the same shape as when we bought it.

A Thing of Beauty
The history of Waterford dates back to 1783 when a pair of brothers, William and George Penrose, started producing extremely fine flint glass. The brother's work became world renowned and very expensive.

The company closed its doors in 1851.

Five decades later the company reopened. However, as a result of  the large amount of talent which had left Ireland (fallout from the famine and much more) expert glass cutters were brought in from all over the European continent. The company struggled to remain afloat with the struggling Irish economy in the tank in the 1950's and was taken over as a subsidiary of the Irish Glass Bottle Company.

Yep, Waterford crystal was now made by the same people who put out soda bottles.

"Bottle of bubbling lime aide and crystal chandelier?" That could be more than one could afford.

In 1999 Jasper Conran started designing his own famous signature brand of Waterford. A very talented man that Conran was since it evolved into four unique lines of crystal as well as the fine bone china tableware for Wedgwood in 2001.
Cinderella's Crystal Carriage

Back on top - Waterford was!

Sadly, to this writer and explorer, most of the Waterford crystal is made outside of the Republic of Ireland, in Eastern Europe. Not that J and L have anything against that part of the world and plan to visit soon but the term Waterford means Ireland to us.

Oh yes, the little issue of the seahorse as the mascot for Waterford. Legend has it, and how we love legends and myths, that the factory manager planned it like that. Back in 1947,  Mr. Bill Dolfin believed there needed to be a trademark that would encompass what Waterford represented. Since Waterford had once been one of Ireland's busiest sea ports during the Middle Ages, the graceful and sculptured little equestrian of the sea seemed perfect.

We agreed so much that we dropped a princely sum for a twelve inch tall flower vase to sit and collect dust on our piano back home.

Houseguests - you break it and you buy it!

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