Ever wondered about the key differences between glass and crystal wine glasses?

Everyone knows that crystal is more expensive than glass, but have you ever wondered what the key differences are in these two items?  The different materials (or perhaps I should say minerals) are one of the primary differences between the two.  Crystal wine glasses can be durable even though their surface is thinner than glass.  This is because crystal contains minerals. In fact, crystal wine contains minerals (up to 30%) that may be lead or lead-free. 

In comparing crystal to glass, these are generally considered to be the key differences:


  • Typically thicker in an effort to make it more durable
  • It is non-porous and considered dishwasher safe
  • Costs less than crystal


  • Can be produced much thinner than glass while maintaining strength
  • Added minerals such as lead or zinc
  • It is porous and therefore should be hand-washed
  • Refracts light giving it some of the beauty
  • More costly than glass

We have included a nice exhibit from Wine Folly that highlights some of these key differences.

While the discussions on lead vs lead-free crystal may feel a bit dangerous, it is not thought to be a danger for drinking wine.  After all, I am not sure about you but my wine does not stay in the glass long enough to leach lead.  Traditionally crystal glasses have contained some lead.

Now if you are trying to come to a decision on which type of wine glasses to buy, just go back to the points we discussed and decide which is most important to you:

  • If you despise hand-washing, go with glass
  • If you worry about cost or find yourself breaking things frequently, go with glass
  • If you want the most beautiful and classy wine glasses, go with the best - crystal.

At Big Bar Shots, we have a wide array of wine glasses to choose from with very affordable prices.  Good luck with your shopping!



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