Making Dartington Crystal
Watch our Craftsman in action making Dartington Crystal by hand...
A film from yesteryear still true to our making process today.
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The Full Process
Meeting our customer requirements with the right crystal starts with listening. Information and research on what our customers want is regularly gathered to determine what we design and make.
Design and Development
Initial concepts are refined before the inspiration and creativity of the design team translates them into drawings. These drawings are used by the glassblowing teams to produce prototype samples. Once final approval has been granted the product is scheduled for production.
At Dartington Crystal each piece is a true original. Individually made by a team of up to 12 craftsmen led by a master glassblower who has perfected his skills over at least 10 years. The raw materials of crystal (sand, lead oxide and other compounds) are melted in a clay pot within a special furnace at 1400 degrees. A certain amount of broken glass (cullet) is added to this mixture or 'batch'. The blower gathers molten glass (a gob) from the furnace on the end of a blowing pipe. The gob of glass is rolled smooth in a scoop before being blown into which starts to form the required shape. Often the molten glass is placed inside a graphite mould while being blown to help create the final shape. Many additional forming processes and techniques will be used by the blowing team depending on the item being made. Once the item has been fashioned and shaped as required it is placed in a temperature controlled tunnel called a lehr. Slowly passing through the lehr gradually cools the glass to room temperature. After 3 to 10 hours in the lehr each piece is inspected. Any piece not meeting the highest standards is broken up and recycled as cullet - to be melted again in a future batch.
The top part piece created at the blowing stage (called the moil) has to be removed by 'cracking off' using localised heating of the item. Pieces are then finished to remove sharp edges by grinding and polishing. Rims of drink-ware are reheated and melted to ensure a smooth finish. Each item is then individually washed and inspected. Finally the Dartington Crystal name stamp is applied to those items that pass final inspection before the product is packed and transported to our customers.