History of Baccarat
Named after the French town of Baccarat, the company Baccarat Crystal has a rich history going back to the 18th century. Starting as a glassworking factory in 1764 with the permission of Louis XV, Baccarat would not begin using crystal for its production until 1816. The company‘s first royal commission was given in the year 1823. Since then, one such commission would follow another, Baccarat products soon being sought-after by royalty and heads of state all around the globe.
In 1855, Baccarat was awarded its first gold medal at the Worlds Fair in Paris, France. Another milestone in the company‘s history was 1860, when Baccarat started to use registered marks for its products. The company saw a large expansion worldwide, Baccarat‘s crystal stemware, chandeliers, perfume bottles and barware becoming widely known for their quality and aesthetic design.
With the end of the Imperial Era in 1867, Baccarat began to increasingly orient itself towards non-French influences, Japanese imports now having great impact on Baccarat‘s production. Soon, the company would experience strong growth in the Asian market. Nowadays, Baccarat maintains a subsidiary in Hong Kong and has opened a retail store in Peking.
In 1948, Baccarat established a subsidiary in New York City‘s Manhattan, with several Baccarat retail stores to be found throughout the United States as of today.
In the 60s, Baccarat began to put a modernization plan for its manufacturing facilities into practice, installing a new furnace in 1962. Five years later, Baccarat was the first in its industry to set up a continuous-melting tank, which would now allow the company to make designs for larger, single-piece objects out of crystal.
In the year 2005, US investment firm Starwood Capital Group has assumed ownership of Baccarat, now also using the name for a chain of hotels featuring Baccarat‘s chandeliers.
Baccarat‘s Unrelenting Pursuit of Perfection
From the 19th century onward, Baccarat was widely known and celebrated as a leading figure in lead crystal, having perfected manufacturing techniques, introduced CAD into the sphere of crystal production, improved tools and refined the materials in an uncompromising pursuit of excellence.
Baccarat‘s opaline glassware designed to imitate the translucent quality of opal was a first major success and would become one of its most popular collections to date. The company soon began to create agate glass, in the manner in which it was practiced by the glassmakers of Bohemia. These developments were followed by Baccarat‘s coloured glass, for which the company managed to achieve a result featuring multiple layers of colour, only to pioneer a changing colour effect with the help of uranium oxide a few years later. To add another achievement, Baccarat has also become famous for its creation of chrysoprase, a beautiful, opaque green crystal so named after a type of quartz.
It is not only materials which Baccarat has revolutionized, however. Various designs put forward by Baccarat have become classics and favoured by European royals, the iconic Harcourt design being among those which managed to have a lasting impact to this very day, this collection still being used at official ceremonies by the President of France.
All of Baccarat‘s impressive successes were only made possible by the high standards for craftsmanship the company continues to maintain and not least because of Baccarat‘s talented employees, who the company seeks to treat fairly and offer services to, so as to improve both their productivity and wellbeing. Apprenticeship at Baccarat lasts a full eight years, the company representing artisans of such a high skill, it has already earned them numerous awards.
Baccarat‘s Legendary Crystal Production
Most famous for its full-lead crystal, defined as at least containing 24 % of lead, Baccarat is a manufacturer of tableware, lamps, pendants, chandeliers, vases, carafes, bowls, candlesticks, paperweights, jewelry, statuettes and various other décor items in noble designs, made of this material.
Baccarat‘s proficiency at crystal glassworking can be demonstrated by the stunning Eye Vase designed by Nicolas Triboulot. With horizontal bevel cuts covering its outside and vertical bevel cuts making up the inner surface, this vase achieves a breathtaking optical effect by subjecting light to multitudinous refractions, playing with both ambient light and the viewer‘s perspective.
In the stemware category, one can find pieces such as the delightful Jupiter glass, which was based on Baccarat‘s iconic Masséna line. Coming in an even more streamlined look, the downward cascading reliefs created by bevel cuts force the light to refract and bring about a complex pattern in an otherwise transparently clear crystal.