Difference between Crystal and Glass

On special occasions, wine glasses are a must to make a proper toast. On a daily basis, on the other hand, regular glasses are just average kitchen objects that we use to drink water, juice or any other beverage. These two examples can be made out of several materials, being glass and crystal the most popular ones.

Crystal is actually a kind of glass that is appreciated due to its fine details as well as its refraction and clarity. Glass, on the flipside, is a bit “rougher”. To a regular person, it can be tricky to tell them apart at a glance. However, if you are thinking about buying an expensive set of glassware, it wouldn’t hurt to know the differences between these two, in order to make a good purchase.

Comparison Board

Crystal
Glass
Cost It is usually expensive, or at least, pricier than glass. It is not expensive, actually it is rather affordable.
Chemical composition As mentioned before, crystal is a kind of glass. The difference is that crystal has lead oxide instead of calcium oxide, which is found in regular glass.

Lead is the element that gives this material its famous shine.

Regular glass is made out of the combination of silica sand, sodium carbonate and calcium oxide (also known as quicklime or burnt lime).
Thickness Expensive crystal is thinner than regular glass. Lead actually makes easier for crystal to be worked at; it allows crystal to be modified at not so high temperatures and for longer times than glass. Glass is usually thick and has rough detailing. Regular glass is hard to be worked at because in order to shape and modify it, its temperature must be really high. Besides, it only allows a short time either to be blew or shaped.
Clarity The main characteristic of this material is its clarity. It is the main reason for it to be used in jewelry, chandeliers and glassware. The more lead it has, the clearer it will be. Glass is usually dull or cloudy. However, there are several levels of glass clarity. For example, the glass used in windows and windshields is usually pretty clear.
Refraction Just as clarity, refraction usually increases as lead does. One example of refraction is the rainbow that reflects when crystal is exposed to sunlight. Refraction is the exact same case as clarity when it comes to glass.
How is it cut and how does it feel? It is cut with much more precision than glass. Also, it is soft and usually includes details that can be felt at a simple touch. Glass is cut more roughly. It doesn’t has as many details as crystal. Besides it is less smooth than crystal.
Sound The sound they make when tapped is one of the main differences. A crystal cup makes a high little noise, similar to “ping”. Glass, on the other hand, makes lower noises, like a thud.
Weight Crystal is heavy due to the lead in its composition. It has a solid feel. Glass is lighter than crystal. It has a hollow, lightweight feel.
Health hazard It is not recommended to storage food or liquids in crystal containers due to a possible contamination with lead. Glass on the flipside is highly recommended for saving food and liquids. Glass storage is safe from any kind of contamination.