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Crystal vs Glass Wine Glasses: What's The Difference?

Most wine glasses in bars, restaurants, and homes are made with either glass or crystal. But what's the difference between crystal and glass? Read on to learn all about crystal vs. glass and the wine glasses made with each material. We'll also cover how to tell good quality wine glasses from average ones.

Table of Contents

Glass vs Crystal Wine Glasses

Your choice of wine glass affects how you perceive and enjoy wine, and the material used for that wine glass also matters. Let’s talk about glass vs. crystal wine glasses. 

The difference between glass and crystal glasses comes from each material’s properties. Glass is an affordable, non-porous material that is translucent and dishwasher safe. Still, glass is fragile, so producers must make thicker wine glasses to make them durable.

On the other hand, crystal has added minerals, including lead, magnesium, and zinc. This makes the material stronger, allowing wine glass producers to make thin pieces that are much more elegant. Crystal is also shinier and has a ring to it, making for better wine glasses. 

crystal vs glass wine glasses

How To Identify High Quality Wine Glasses

The easiest way to know if you’re dealing with a glass or crystal wine glass is by inspecting the rim’s thickness. Glass wine glasses have a thick lip, while crystal wine glasses are incredibly thin.

You’ll also notice that crystal wine glasses have more refraction due to the minerals in the material. When in doubt, tap the wine glass with any object. If it's made of glass, it produces a clunky sound, while crystal wine glasses have a long-lasting ring. 

Although crystal wine glasses are thinner than their glass counterparts, they can be heavier, as the minerals in the material make them quite dense.

Wine Glass Anatomy

Let’s get back to the basics. Now that you know the difference between crystal vs. glass, we’ll discuss the typical wine glass anatomy. Keep in mind the types of wine glasses available vary in size and shape. 

wine glass anatomy


The rim is one of the most important parts of any wine glass, as it’s the only part of the glass that touches your lips. Thin edges provide a more sensual experience. 


The shape and size of the bowl determine if the wine glass is best suited for red or white wine. Generally, you want to pour wine to less than half of the bowl's capacity. The bowl collects the wine’s aromatic molecules as well. 


The stem is where you’re supposed to hold the wine glass. Today, stems can be thin, but they’re more resistant than you think. 


The foot allows you to put down the wine glass. High-quality wine glasses have a foot and stem made with the same piece of mouth-blown glass

The ideal type of wine glass depends on what you’re looking for. You can classify wine glasses by their material, but you can also categorize according to their uses.

The materials used to make wine glasses are the most significant factor when choosing the right wine glass for yourself or if you're planning to give a glass or crystal gift. For wine lovers and quality-minded establishments, crystal is the way to go. For caterers and casual eateries, glass might work.

How Is Crystal Glassware Made? 

Although machines make most crystal glassware with giant molds, the best wine glasses are still handmade with the traditional mouth-blown process. The impact that a wine glass has on the taste of wine is also essential to consider. If the glass is too clunky and thick, you’ll miss out on the wine’s subtleness.

The price, cleaning methods, and storage options for the different wine glasses can also influence your buying decision. After all, we all have different lifestyles and needs.

How to Tell the Difference Between Crystal and Glass

Inspecting glass and crystal wine glasses side by side is the easiest way to see the differences between these two very different materials. When in doubt, don’t hesitate to ask! 

If you want to ensure your wine glass collection is of the right quality for the job, order glass or crystal glasses online - find a supplier you can trust!

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