The process of glassmaking has remained essentially the same since ancient times. Most glass is a mixture of silica, obtained from beds of fine sand or from pulverized sandstone, an alkali to lower the melting point, usually a form of soda or potash for finer glass, lime as a stabilizer and cullet (waste glass to assist in melting the mixture).
The materials are fused at high temperatures in seasoned kilns, boiled down, skimmed, and cooled several hundreds of degrees. The molten glass is ladled or poured into molds and pressed or blown (sometimes into molds). The shaped glass is annealed to relieve stresses caused by manipulation, then is slowly cooled.
Non-lead crystal is glass with a high content of potash, yielding weight, clarity and sparkle without adding lead content.
FULL LEAD CRYSTAL
The addition of lead to the glassmaking process yields a product with increased luster, clarity and weight. It is also a slightly softer material than glass, which lends itself well to hand cutting and polishing. Leaded crystal varies in lead compostion, but to be considered full lead crystal, the lead content must be 24% or higher. The higher the lead content, the more sparkle is achieved, but more skill is required to form a shape at the blowing stage.
Optical crystal is among the finest of all crystals available. With no lead content, it is clarified to a 100% optically clear state by the addition of barium, which results in a perfectly flawless clear glass that shines brightly under any light source. Optical crystal is manufactured in large thick sheets, and while still molten, is subjected to tremendous pressure to insure no bubbles, flow lines or other distortion. Optical crystal is 100% lead free and extremely hard.
Starfire crystal is a lead-free, low iron product that presents high clarity resembling that of optical crystal, but at lower cost. Highly polished, this material produces a bright white sparkle and is therefore sometimes referred to as ″white glass″.
Jade glass is unique in its light green pigmentation, caused by the content of iron ore. The resulting material, when beveled and polished, provides the most economical soultion for recognition awards.
Pewter products are all hand crafted and are food safe, containing no lead. Pewter is a metal alloy consisting primarily of tin.
Pewter-plated products likewise are lead free and food-safe. The pewter finish is hand distressed for a vintage, antique appearance. Variations in finish are to be expected and considered part of the unique appearance of the series. Use of metal polishing products is not recommended.
SAND CAST ALUMINUM
Sterling’s aluminum products are food safe. Each piece is sand cast and polished from a metal alloy consisting mostly of aluminum. Slight variations in finish and surface texture are the result of this handmade process, and are considered intrinsic to their unique design.
Silver-plated products are genuine silver, plated over brass. Silver plated products are all lead-free and food safe.
CRYSTAL CARE INSTRUCTIONS
Due to the delicate nature of glass and crystal, hand washing is recommended. Dry with a lint-free cloth to prevent scratching. To avoid breakage, do not expose glass or crystal to extreme temperatures or to abrupt temperature changes.
PEWTER CARE INSTRUCTIONS
Always wash pewter products by hand in warm, soapy water and dry with a soft cotton towel.
SAND CAST ALUMINUM CARE INSTRUCTIONS
The acids in certain foods may cause discoloration. A light coating of vegetable oil prior to use can help prevent this. If polishing or extra cleaning becomes necessary, apply a non-abrasive metal polish and gently buff with a soft cotton cloth.
SILVER-PLATED CARE INSTRUCTIONS
All silver will tarnish over time, particularly in humid conditions. If polishing is necessary, use a silver polishing compound and gently buff the surface with a soft cotton cloth so as not to erode or scratch plating.