How to Differentiate Crystal from Glass: 6 Steps (with Images)

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How to Differentiate Crystal from Glass: 6 Steps (with Images)
How to Differentiate Crystal from Glass: 6 Steps (with Images)

The only way to tell a crystal from a glass for sure is to call a professional. But objects made from these materials have important differences that anyone can see. Pick up the item in question and review it. A crystal object is heavier than a glass object of the same size. You will be able to see clearly through it, and perhaps even see a rainbow. Also, the crystals make a musical sound when they hit another object.


Method 1 of 2: Visually Examining the Object

Tell Crystal from Glass Step 1

Step 1. Note the thickness of the item

Crystal takes longer to be carved and is produced at a lower temperature than glass. Therefore, the lead inside it can be modeled into finer and more elaborate designs. Hold a glass object next to a crystal object and compare the thickness of the two materials.

On a crystal glass, for example, see if the rim is thinner and has less texture

Tell Crystal from Glass Step 2

Step 2. Test object clarity

Put a liquid on the object or lift the item in question and look through it. Ordinary glass is more cloudy than crystal. Crystal with a higher lead content, on the other hand, allows what is in or behind it to be seen more clearly.

For example, a normal glass will make the liquid inside it look cloudy. Crystal glasses, on the other hand, allow a cleaner view of the liquid

Tell Crystal from Glass Step 3

Step 3. Hold the object up to the light

When you hold the glass up to the light, nothing happens. The fine crystal, which has a high lead content, shines. Other crystals act like prisms, making you see a rainbow when looking through them.

Method 2 of 2: Touch and Sound Tests

Tell Crystal from Glass Step 4

Step 1. Check the object's weight

Because crystal is made of lead, it is heavier than glass. Lift the object and you'll notice that it looks solid and has some weight. Lift a similar sized glass object, and it will likely look light.

Lead-free crystals appear lighter and more durable, but still glow when held up to the light

Tell Crystal from Glass Step 5

Step 2. Feel the texture of the object

Because of the carving process, the crystal feels smooth and rounded. Touch the decorative facets you find. Also run your hand over the surface of the object. Glass looks more brittle, even though crystal is actually more fragile. Cutting the glass can also look rougher.

Tell Crystal from Glass Step 6

Step 3. Hit the object to test its sound

Swipe the item in question or tap it lightly against something solid. If it's crystal, it will play a note. If it is made of glass, it will produce a dull sound.

Wet your finger and run it around the edge of the object if possible. Crystal will produce a musical sound, but glass will not


  • Traditional crystals are made with at least 24% lead. In some places, objects made with less lead may also be given the crystal label. There is also lead-free crystal, made with zinc oxide, barium oxide or potassium oxide.
  • Glassware is non-porous and dishwasher safe, crystal glassware is not.


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