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Now That's Crystal, Dawg!
The world of crystal production is like the Wild West of the glass industry: there are really no rules as to what can be called crystal, which makes it easy for charlatans to sell all manner of nonsense under the name.
Generally speaking, crystal glass is glass with lead oxide added to it during manufacture. (Note: It is <em>not</em> crystal as in the type of crystal that occurs in nature.) The addition of lead increases the brilliance of the glass and also makes it possible to cut it into ever-finer facets that will enhance the sparkle. Some manufacturers like <a href="http://www.atgstores.com/search/swarovski.html" target="_blank">Swarovski</a> are also known to coat their crystal glass with chemicals that cause them to refract light in specific color bands.
When shopping for crystal glass (also called lead glass, leaded glass or just "crystal") you should note the level of lead added to the glass, and the higher the percentage the better. This is a hallmark of quality and can give you an idea of how much glitter you're getting for your gold. That said, it should be noted that <a href="http://www.atgstores.com/search/crystal-stemware.html" target="_blank">crystal stemware</a> is often made with "non-leaded" crystal due to the health risks involved with putting lead products in your mouth.
Crystal glass is best appreciated when it's putting on a light show, which is why <a href="http://www.atgstores.com/crystal-chandeliers_89_s163.html?linkloc=newSearchRedirect" target="_blank">crystal chandeliers</a>, <a href="http://www.atgstores.com/crystal-table-lamps_95_s163.html?linkloc=newSearchRedirect" target="_blank">table lamps</a>, <a href="http://www.atgstores.com/crystal-wall-sconces_92_s163.html?linkloc=newSearchRedirect" target="_blank">wall sconces</a> and other lighting fixtures are popular. The light shines through the crystal and makes it sparkle, and the more lead that's in them the more they will glimmer.
High-quality crystal glass is often measured as anything having 24% or more lead in it. Companies like Swarovski deal in this level of leaded glass, although there are many companies that specialize in non-leaded alternatives. Manufacturers like <a href="http://www.atgstores.com/crystorama-lighting-group_m19.html" target="_blank">Crystorama</a> and others also partner with Swarovski, which provides even more variety of style than what can be found in the (still very impressive) Swarovski line.
Leaded or unleaded, <a href="http://www.atgstores.com/" target="_blank">ATGStores.com</a> has a wide selection of crystal-glass products to bring more sparkle to your home.