Glass cutting with rich decor is a traditional handicraft technique of decorative glass finishing. The cut decorates mainly vases, bowls, flat trays, carafes, bottles, baskets, table drinking glasses and other shapes of practical use.
From a technical point of view, it is a mechanical removal of glass. The cuts are made using discs (most often diamond, but also carborundum and electrified water-cooled), rotated around a vertical axis on a ball machine, or around a horizontal axis on a leveling machine. We use wedge, round, straight and prismatic cuts. Wedge cuts create shapes in the form of stars, moths, goats, claws, Viennese mats or triangular, hexagonal or octagonal stones. Round cuts for a change give rise to so-called balls, spools or stains. The purpose of the technique of cutting glass with a rich decor is to try to create a rich pattern from these elements, often spread over the entire outer surface of the product. The surface of the glass decorated in this way reflects incident light from the individual edges, creating a shimmering ornament.
Glass has been decorated with this technique since the 17th century. The noble luster of Czech cut glass is closely related to the invention of lead crystal, which is easily meltable and has excellent optical properties. At the same time, it is softer and easier to grind than sodium-potassium glass, and the gloss of the cuts is usually achieved by acid polishing. Previously, lead crystal was melted and ground with a content of 30% PbO, today most often with 24% lead oxide.
Originally, this glass served as an imitation of precious stones in Venice. It began to melt in our country after 1710. First in Turnov, later in Jablonec and Železnobrodsko.
The patterns that are being honed today are based on the deep technical and artistic tradition of the Czech lands. The grinder, which is demanding the highest quality workmanship, must not only be accurate in the technique of grinding itself, but also require a decorative imagination and a sense of composition to be able to tastefully combine individual elements, glossy and matte cut surfaces.
Cutting glass with a rich decor is a highly valuable work of human hands, enriched with an artistic feeling and the ability to improvise and create new decors.