The name “Waterford” is virtually synonymous with “Crystal.” We had a very beautiful and informative tour, and I took lots of interesting photos of the whole process.
Starting out in one of the display rooms, we saw a 5-foot tall goblet (I’ll just have ONE MORE drink!), and a Grandfather Clock, completely handmade, and true works of art. Then we saw a short video about the factory, and went in to see how the process is completed, starting with the wooden molds.
It was hot in the first room factory, the oven fires blazing as the men inserted poles of solid glass to heat before spinning or blowing into a specific shape.
The etching room is mathematical in precision, the lines drawn on only for the novices, who train for two years and must pass rigorous skill tests on their assigned pieces. The lines are gone then, and must be etched from memory. Each craftsman is trained only in a few styles.
There are bins of blades for etching, and yes, there’s also a bin for “mistakes,” which will be melted down and the design begun anew. I did not ask if the craftsmen were docked, or penalized for boo-boos, or how many they were allowed before told to go looking for other employment.
Although I shouldn’t have been “surprised,” it had never occurred to me that the finished crystal bowl weighs significantly less than before it’s been cut into. I head-slapped myself for not knowing that!
Our guide, a stereotypical red-headed Irish lad, started to hand a goblet to me and pretended to slip and almost drop it. Gave me a horrible scare! I’m sure I squeaked when he did that. How embarrassing, and he apologized a half dozen times for giving me “quite the fright.”