Tips for incorporating crystal glassware into everyday life
“Crystal glass attracts everyone with its beautiful shine. No doubt you too have probably stopped to admire its beauty in front of a display before, right?”
For this interview, we spoke with KAGAMI, a company that produces many crystal glass products. We will also introduce some tips for daily use of crystal glass, a material that can seem intimidating, so be sure to read on until the very end.
Kagami is a crystal glass company that was founded in 1930 by Kozo Kagami, who studied gravure engraving in Germany and brought the technique to Japan. 1930 saw the establishment of the Kagami Crystal Craft Glass Laboratory in Tokyo, and four years later the first factory in Japan dedicated to crystal began operations. In 1985, the company became a wholly owned subsidiary of Nippon Sheet Glass and moved its production base from Tokyo to Ryugasaki. Today, the company has changed its brand name from Kagami Crystal to "KAGAMI" and is the only glass company in Japan that handles everything from production to sales. In cooperation with the Edo Kiriko (Edo faceted glass) Association, KAGAMI also supplies the glass used as the base material for its products.
Table of Contents
- Crystal Glass - A Material Brought to Life With Sound and Light
- Comparing the Long-Standing French Crystal Maker Baccarat With Japan's Famous KAGAMI
- KAGAMI - Drawing Out the Beauty of Crystal With Two Distinct Techniques
- Incorporating Crystal Glass Into Your Daily Life with KAGAMI's Sake Cups
Crystal Glass - A Material Brought to Life With Sound and Light
Ordinary glass is made by adding soda ash to a special type of sand called silica sand and melting it down. "Crystal glass" on the other hand, replaces the soda ash with a heavier compound such as lead oxide, zinc oxide, or barium oxide, making it softer and easier to cut. Crystal is characterized by its high transparency and glittering beauty thanks to its and high refractive index.
Relish the Ethereal Sound of Ice Clinking Into Crystal
Crystal glass also has a distinctive sound, producing a clear "ringing" sound when tapped. It is possible to distinguish crystal glass from ordinary glasses by this sound, so if you are wondering, " Could the glass I am using be crystal glass...?" try tapping the glass with light force to see if you can distinguish it from ordinary glass.
This clear tone is one of the charms of crystal glass. When ice is dropped in the glass, it produces a beautiful "clinking" sound, which resonates gently in the user's mind and soothes the ear. This pleasant sound is a luxury that only crystal glass can provide, and is not found in ordinary types of glass (soda glass).
“Whiskey glasses are very popular at KAGAMI! The "clink" of a piece of ice being dropped in creates a special moment.”
Optimum Beauty Coaxed Out by Delicate Cuts
In addition to the sound, another feature of crystal glass that deserves attention is the cutting process. The greatest charm of crystal lies in the beauty of light enhanced by delicate cuts in the glass. The angles and processing of the cuts take advantage of the refractive index of crystal to create a glittering world.
"At KAGAMI, glasses with Edo Kiriko cuts are also popular. They sparkle beautifully when exposed to light.”
Comparing the Long-Standing French Crystal Maker Baccarat With Japan's Famous KAGAMI
France’s Baccarat is one of the most famous crystal glass brands in the world. One of the main differences between Baccarat and KAGAMI’s are the products that they make. KAGAMI mainly offers tableware, while Baccarat also offers chandeliers and other products.
In addition, Baccarat handles mostly clear, colorless crystal, while KAGAMI handles colored glass, which is called "iro-kise" crystal. This is produced by overing transparent crystal with a thin layer of colored crystal before delicately cutting patterns into it. This process creates a vivid contrast between the beautiful colored glass and highly transparent crystal glass, and offers the enjoyment of choosing from a wide variety of designs.
"The atmosphere of the same crystal glass can change dramatically with color and cut, offering the pleasure of thinking about table coordination!”
KAGAMI - Drawing Out the Beauty of Crystal Through Technique
KAGAMI also handles colored crystal glass, the appeal of which lies in the techniques used to make it. KAGAMI crafts crystal masterpieces using two different techniques: Edo Kiriko and gravure engraving.
Edo kiriko: A cutting technique in which the surface of the crystal is cut by a tool called a grinder. Precision is required.
Gravure engraving: An engraving technique in which circular copper discs are used to etch a drawing on the crystal to create a three-dimensional surface. This technique can produce delicate and shaded expressions.
Gravure Engraving Technique Passed Down from the Founder to the Present Day
Gravure engraving, in particular, was brought back from Germany by the founder, Kozo Kagami, and has been handed down by craftsmen to this day, becoming a technique in which KAGAMI excels. However, the technique of gravure engraving, which requires the mastery of the muscle memory needed to memorize the degree of force and angle, is said to be difficult to master, with only a small number of craftspeople in Japan.
"Even at KAGAMI, where 15 to 20 craftsmen are employed, there are only two people who can do gravure carving. A product with gravure engraving done by a master craftsman makes it even more special!”
These rock glasses are handcrafted by KAGAMI, a crystal glass specialist. The beautiful contrast between the high transparency of crystal glass and the light pink glass is unforgettable. Mt. Fuji and a Japanese crane are engraved with the technique of "gravure engraving," and the shadows create a three-dimensional and delicate design.These rocks glasses with gravure carvings are not only beautiful to look at, but also attractive to touch. Trace your finger over the delicately carved crane and Mount Fuji, and enjoy the texture as well. We invite you to enjoy a most luxurious time with these special rock glasses made of crystal glass.
Edo Kiriko for Sparkle and Gravure Engraving for Texture
Edo kiriko crystal has an appealing beauty that sparkles when light enters the cut areas. In contrast, the texture and delicacy of gravure engraving are also appealing.
Gravure engraving, which enables delicate expressions that are difficult to achieve with Edo kiriko, produces gradients in the processed areas, allowing you to enjoy a three-dimensional texture when you touch it. You can choose the style according to your preference, so we recommend Edo kiriko for those who want to enjoy more glitz and glamour, and gravure engraving for those who want to experience a delicate texture.
"And of course, both are crystal glass, so they shine beautifully!”
Incorporate Crystal Glass Into Your Daily Life with KAGAMI's Sake Cups
Crystal glass may seem intimidating, but the secret to using it in everyday life is to not be restricted in how you use it.
For example, crystal sake cups can be used not only to serve sake, but also for desserts such as jelly and other sweet dishes.
"We have received many happy comments from restaurants that have purchased the product, including "It was a great conversation starter with my customers!” You can enjoy using them in various ways, such as for appetizers or for vegetables or ice cream. Finding your own unique way to use it is part of the fun!”
These chilled sake cups are made by KAGAMI, a crystal glass specialist. The contrast between the highly transparent crystal glass and the beautiful blue and red glass is eye-catching.
Sake cups are actually very useful items. Not only can they hold drinks, but they can also be used for serving small appetizers and jellies. These sake cups are also beautiful as an interior decoration, and can be enjoyed both practically and as a display. They are also available in other colors and patterns, so you are sure to find one you like.
Bring Some Japanese-Made Crystal Into Your Home
The secret of beautiful shining crystal glass lies in the materials used, as well as the cutting techniques. Some people have an image that crystal is too expensive because of its luxuriousness, but a crystal glass that brightens up the dining table will also brighten up the feelings of anyone who uses it. Why not take this opportunity to add sparkling crystal glass to your daily life?