Guidelines for Buying Glassware

December 11 2015



Whether you’re having a simple family dinner or an informal dinner party, having the right glassware can play a vital role in making a table setting look inviting. Glassware comes in a wide range of sizes, colors and shapes. Before rushing out and buying the first glassware you see, it’s important to know what kind of items you need. If you’re considering glassware for either yourself, or as a gift, here are some basic buying guidelines.

Glass Stemware 

Stemware is glassware that rests on a base and is usually reserved for formal events. You can choose from a wide selection of glass stemware, which differ in style, function and appearance.

Some of the most commonly stemware include those such as wine glasses, cocktail glasses, goblets, chalices and sherbet glasses. For example, water goblets are used for serving water, while red wine glasses are feature open, wide bowls. Generally, white wine is served in glass stemware that has a thinner drinking bowl.

There’s  both long-stemmed and short-stemmed glassware. Stem length can significantly affect how a table looks. Usually, long-stemmed glassware is recommended for more formal dining, while short stems are more suited for informal dinner parties.

Handmade vs. Machine-made Glassware 

Decide if you want handmade or machine-made glassware. One of the main differences between handmade and machine-made glassware is texture. Machine-made glassware has a finer texture and crisp edges and a sharply defined ornamentation. It also has consistent dimensions and a bulkier look. Unlike handmade glassware, machine-made glassware may have rounded edges. Also, it has a more uniform design.

Types of Glassware 

Although some types of glassware, such as blown glass and Tiffany glassware, are rarely, or not even manufactured today, you still should be familiar about the various kinds of glass types. This is particularly important if you’re looking for antique glassware.

  • Pressed glass—This type of glass is made by pouring melted glass into molds.
  • Cut glass—Unlike pressed glass, cut glass is manufactured by cutting off a portion of the glass in various elaborate designs.
  • Colored glass—Usually considered pressed glass, colored glass is less expensive. It was first made in the early part of the 20th century and was commonly sold at carnivals.
  • Blown glass—This kind of glassware is the one preferred by most craftsmen. Besides being created freehand, it can also be blown and place in a mold.
  • Tiffany glass—Originating in Europe, Tiffany glass is an exceptionally unique iridescent glass and is a popular Victorian art glass among glassware collectors. 

Determine How Many Glasses You’ll Need 

Glassware is sold singularly or in sets. In most cases, sets involve four to 16 glasses. While some sets have a definite style, such as white wine glasses, others feature different packs. Determine if you want glassware that includes all beverages such as juice, water, wine and beer. 

Think about the types of beverages you or your family drinks, as well as the frequency that you entertain. Buy extra glassware, so you’ll have spares if one of your glasses breaks. Consider that glasses can easily go out of style, meaning you may not have a set if you lose a glass. What’s more, having extra glassware can save you time washing glasses. 

Considerations and Warnings 

  • Consider how you’ll be using your glassware. For example, if you entertain a lot, you’ll want less costly glassware that can be replaced easily and be dishwasher safe. However, if you rarely or never have dinner guests, consider more expensive handmade crystal which need to be hand-washed.
  • Look for qualities such as balance, smoothness and invisible seams. Good balance means that stemware lies flat on a surface without wobbling. Determine a glass’s smoothness by running your fingers around its rim and underneath the base
  • Crystal is often confused with glass. A good way to determine the difference is by holding an item. If it feels lightweight, it’s probably glass as crystal feels more solid.
  • Glassware should be thin-lipped, while still feeling substantial
  • Don’t throw out your glassware box. Keep your glassware stored in its original box or in a storage container. However, you can store sturdier, heavier pieces, such as tumblers, in cabinets. Be sure you wash and thoroughly rinse and your glasses before you storing them. 

Choosing glassware can seem overwhelming.  That' why you should contact us. The professionals at Curate Gifts can help you find just the right personal items of gifts. We run a higher-end designer jewelry and gift store that also has a large assortment of designer home items.