Wessex Crystal, based in Brierly Hill in the West Midlands, are one of the few remaining crafts businesses that still use traditional glass making techniques to cut & polish lead crystal.
Traditional cut crystal is cut by hand on diamond or stone wheels on a lathe to create the desired pattern. The wheels abrade the glass leaving a white 'ground' finish to the glass. This needs to be polished to a high sheen to finish the piece.
This is achieved by immersing the lead crystal in a mixture of undiluted Hydroflouric and Sulphuric acid.
The consequent exothermic reaction can achieve temperatures in excess of 80 degrees Celsius, which are required for the polishing process, which is essentially a dissolving of the glass.
This process is incredibly dangerous and should not be attempted without experienced staff, suitable equipment. Always seek to use a professional.
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