Waterford Crystal is the brand name of beautiful crystal glass and other crystal objects. The brand originated in Waterford, Ireland in the year 1793. Today, Waterford crystal is still produced. The company is now part of WWRD Holdings Ltd. (Bought in 2015 by Fiskars Corp.) which also manufactures Wedgwood and Royal Doulton products. Waterford crystal is still a collector's item, which makes it valuable in the crystal world to be able to recognize it.
Method 1 of 3: Acid tag identification
Step 1. Research the Waterford brands
Search online for images of authentic Waterford acid brands. Older brands contain the name 'Waterford' in Gothic letters, of which there are two models. Work produced since 2000 contains the seahorse mark.
Step 2. Clean the crystal
Wash it by hand in warm to hot water and mild detergent. Prevent stains by washing it with approx. 60 ml of ammonia. Use a soft cloth or sponge to avoid scratches that can be caused by using a scouring pad. Rinse the crystal and let it air dry. If you dry it with a cloth, make sure it is lint-free.
- To clean vases, pitchers, or other items that you can't reach inside, fill them halfway with warm water and a few drops of dish soap. Add two tablespoons of white vinegar or ammonia. Then add about 250 grams of uncooked rice. Stir the mixture around to clean the inside of the work. Rinse it out with warm to hot water, then turn it upside down to air dry.
- For more difficult stains, fill the work completely with warm water. Then add a tooth cleaning tablet. Wait for the mixture to remove the residue. Rinse the crystal thoroughly and turn it upside down to air dry.
Step 3. Hold the crystal up to the light
Use a magnifying glass to find the acid mark. Start with the basics, because that's where the brand is most often. If you can't find the mark on the base, examine the grooves.
Please be aware that washing, usage and age can affect the visibility of the acid mark. If you can't find a brand, have the work examined by an expert to authenticate it
Method 2 of 3: Identification by stickers
Step 1. Look for a paper or foil sticker
If your crystal is older or part of a limited production, look for a gold sticker with Waterford's green seahorse decal on it. Be aware that stickers can be removed over time, whether intentionally or not.
Step 2. Compare stickers
Search online for images of authentic Waterford decals to confirm the design matches yours. If possible, visit a retailer or collector who owns works of Waterford with decals to compare them in person. If you have any doubts, find an appraiser to evaluate the authenticity of your works.
Step 3. Be careful with stickers
Remember that a decal from a real Waterford can be transferred to another work. While older works may never have had a sticker, it's still good to check the crystal for an acid mark for additional verification. If not, have the work examined by an expert to determine if it is a genuine Waterford.
Method 3 of 3: Recognizing crystal in general
Step 1. Make sure it's not glass
If you can't find an identifying sticker or acid mark, check whether the work is made of real crystal or regular glass. Find glassware of approximately the same size and shape for comparison.
Step 2. Hold the work up to the light
Make sure the work acts as a prism. Turn it slowly in front of the light source. Look for the appearance of a rainbow when the light is scattered. Do the same with the glassware, noting that no rainbow is produced.
Step 3. Hold the work close to your ear
Tap the edge. Listen to a musical, high-pitched tone. Do the same with regular glassware, there you will hear the contrast of a dull knock when you tap it.
Step 4. Evaluate the weight
Hold the glassware in one hand and the crystal in the other. If your work is truly crystal, it should feel considerably heavier due to the higher lead content.
Step 5. Research the design
Once you've determined that the work is real crystal, have an expert examine it to determine if the design matches one of Waterford's, or do your own research through a book detailing the various Waterford designs. However, due to the high value of Waterford crystal work and the amount of counterfeiting, it is a good idea to contact a professional for confirmation.
- If you want to have a work checked for authenticity, it is better to take it personally to the expert. In photos, acid marks, which are visible to the naked eye, may not be visible.
- Any crystal part of a chandelier or other works must contain the Waterford acid mark.
- Many of Waterford's works are produced outside of Ireland today.