Lead Crystal vs. Optical Crystal. Which is Best for your Plaques and Awards?

Our plaques and awards are made to appeal to different companies with their own unique culture. In our plaques and awards industry, there are a variety of materials and techniques that we use to make something special for your company.

One material that we love using to make custom awards is crystal. Now, most likely, when you think about crystal, you imagine luxurious drinkware and vases. But in fact, it’s a marvelous material to make custom recognition awards from, and you’ll love the final product using this material.

If you want to purchase custom-made crystal plaques and awards from us, and you wish to know more about the material, continue reading and we’ll touch upon some key details about the variety of crystal that we use.

But before we begin…

What is Crystal?

When getting down to the bare bones of crystal, it’s a material called flint glass. This is also known as lead crystal. When crystal is being made, 24% of its components must be lead metal instead of calcium, which is what glass is made from. Lead is what adds weight to crystal that you can feel immediately when you hold it.

Designers brainstroming plaques and awards designs for you.

Then there’s optical crystal, which is the crystal material that we use the most to make custom awards, trophies, and other pieces. Not only is optical crystal clearer but they’re easier to work with than lead-based crystal.

Now, there are some differences in the composition and appearance of lead and optical crystal that you should know about before designing an award. There are two slight differences between the two, but they can have a big impact on how your awards turn out.

Optical Crystal

Although both lead and optical crystal have many similar materials in their composition, there’s one glaring difference with optical. It contains no lead. By not having this one element in optical crystal’s composition, our designers can make different varieties of awards and other accessories. This is why we like to use optical crystal more than lead-based crystal.

This may seem ironic, calling a lead-less material “crystal,” but it contains the same materials as that of lead crystal, as mentioned above. But when you remove lead from the overall composition, you have a harder material that is better for sculpting and polishing into shapes.

Optical crystal is not only used to make elegant awards but microscope and high-powered camera lenses. This due to its hardness and translucency.

The factors that separate optical crystal from lead-based comes down to the following characteristics:

A custom award made for Krispy Kreme, an example of the plaque and awards we can make for you.
  • Due to optical crystal’s hardness, it keeps the spinning wheel on engravings tools from slipping, thus making for more precise and crisp engravings.
  • Also, optical crystal is just as clear and translucent as lead-crystal which means your engravings will pop vividly from the award’s body.

Both lead and optical crystal have many similarities, especially in their beauty. But slight changes in their composition make them useful for different designs. It all comes down to what you want from the awards and the designers at our company.

Optical crystal is perfect if you want to make shapely or hard-edged centerpieces. During the initial stages of our service, we ask our customers to send us sketches or images of what they’d like their awards to look like. Once submitted, we can turn this crystal into whatever shape, logo, or emblem you want.

Crystal is a versatile material that can be made into a variety of different award types and styles for your unique company culture. We’ve made awards not just in company logos but bold trophies.

But one of our most popular items is our plaque awards. We make everything from classic corporate and graduation plaques to ones with modern elements. Optical crystal adds a sharpness to the engravings that you can’t get with any other materials such as glass and acrylic.

Lead Crystal

Remember when I mentioned fine glassware and vases above? That’s lead crystal. It contains a lead compound, the highest of which is 24%.

The more lead in an item’s composition, the more expensive it’ll be. There are also some added benefits to lead crystal awards; it’s little things that make a big difference in the long run. Some of these benefits include:

  • The lead in the material gives awards an opulent shimmer when light passes through. This is called light refraction.
  • The lead composition will make your awards soft, which means that designers are able to cut patterns and designs easier than with optical crystal.
  • Lead crystal is ideal for making vases and bowls because of the softness that the lead brings.

When our design team is making your plaques and awards, they know which material is best and how the final product will appear. You’ll immediately see all of these unique characteristics once you receive your awards.

This luxe material is best used for events where delicate designs are appropriate, and your awards will surely take center-stage when they’re being handed out. These crystal awards and plaques have been made into a variety of styles such as obelisks, diamonds, spheres, and stars for our stock assembly.

But if you want something unique and out-of-the-ordinary, we can also design centerpieces like architectural buildings, your company’s logo, emblems, and more.

Optical crystal on the other hand can make awards pieces just as lovely as lead. But just because lead crystal glimmers more, doesn’t mean optical crystal has less substance.

Your text and logo engravings will be the highlight of your award’s centerpieces, immediately drawing your eye to it. Best of all, our personalized engravings are free of charge on our stock and custom items.

A tall crystal vase, an example of our plaques and awards.

Apart from being experienced in making plaques and awards with these materials, our customer service is what makes us more effective than most companies. From first contact, we will work alongside you through the different steps it takes to design your awards.

After we’ve got your vision or your idea and theme for your awards, we’ll send you suggestions for which is the best material to use. This suggestion will not only be measured for the material’s aesthetic but for convenience or any budgetary limits you may have.

It doesn’t take much for us to know which is the best option for you if you’re not sure about lead vs optical crystal awards. But with help from this article, we surely hope to make your decision easier to choose from.