Mar 15, 2018 36

Designer Profile: Waterford

Waterford Craftsmanship

The craft of making Waterford Crystal has benefited from advances in technology over the years, yet the 21st century process would not be unfamiliar to 18th century founders George and William Penrose. Hand-craftsmanship, precision skill and artistic excellence remain the core components that transform the finest of raw materials into the world’s premium luxury crystal.

The House of Waterford Crystal Design Studio is the incubator for the dreams, ideas and inspirations that become Waterford Crystal. The designers spend years learning the craft, with hands on experience in every aspect of the crystal making process.

Waterford Crystal is one of the few companies today that still practices the ancient craft of mold making. Very little has changed over the centuries: wood molds and hand tools of beech and pear woods are used by our Master Blowers to shape the molten crystal. Due to the searing heat of the crystal, these molds have a life span of just 7-10 days.

Using a furnace that reaches temperatures of 2,400 degrees F, Waterford craftsmen meticulously manipulate and transform molten balls of glowing, red hot crystal to reveal the elegant shapes of Waterford Crystal. The skill required of the Master Blower is the product of years of training and apprenticeship in artisan techniques,

Geometric grids of horizontal and vertical guidelines are drawn on each piece using a marker that will eventually be removed during the cleaning process. Each individual pattern – there are hundreds – has been committed to memory by the cutter over years of training.

Waterford craftspeople train for a minimum of 8 years to master their craft. The Master cutter must rely on his skill to judge the amount of pressure that is required to hold the crystal to the wheel – too much pressure will affect a ruinous cut through to the other side. 

With the mastery of a true artisan, the Master Sculptor works three-dimensionally to sculpt his creation from a solid block of crystal. Due to its’ painstaking nature, completion of a sculpted crystal piece can take days, weeks, even months depending on size and complexity. 

Waterford & Gump's 

Gump's is home to an incredible collection of Waterford including many rare and unique pieces. Much has changed throughout the decades, but Gump's dedication to good taste and close partnerships with the world's finest designers have stayed consistent for over 150 years. Shop our collection online or visit us in San Francisco at 135 Post Street.

Click here to shop the Waterford collection