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Crystal is known for its clarity, shine, and ability to refract light, which gives it a truly stunning quality that accentuates every drink. It's no wonder that crystal glassware is a treasured item in many people’s homes. Whether you’re choosing a set of fancy glasses for your registry or gifting them to someone else, they make a brilliant addition to a home—and may even become a cherished family heirloom someday.
As beautiful as it is, crystal glassware is so much more than decorative tableware—these pieces are meant to be used! Crystal glassware comes in many shapes and forms, with options for every drink, style, and occasion. So it’s essential to decide on what you’ll be using it for and narrow it down from there. Looking for cocktail glasses? Think about what kind of cocktails are your favorites. Highballs are great for a variety of drinks, including iced tea and water. But if you’re a gin and tonic lover, you may want to invest in a set of balloon-shaped gin glasses that accentuate the aromas and qualities of the spirit. If wine is your thing, make sure the shape of the bowl complements your vino of choice. And if you’re not all that picky, then go for something versatile— or just plain pretty!
Read on for the best crystal glassware.
Best Overall: Schott Zwiesel Vervino Red & White Essentials Set of 6
These glasses hit all the marks— gorgeous, functional, versatile, and built to last. Each was designed with the input of experts, assuring a bowl that accentuates the very best in each wine. The crystal itself is made with titanium, meaning extra strength and durability that stands the test of time— and the dishwasher. They come in a range of shapes for certain types of wine, stemless, or in a set with a mix of glasses for both red and white wines.
Best Budget: Villeroy and Boch Ovid Red Wine Glasses
Just because you don’t want to break the bank on a set of wine glasses, doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice quality or design. These lightweight glasses are made of premium crystal and have a contemporary, classic design. They come in a range of shapes to suit any type of wine or bubbly—boom!
Best for Whiskey: Coté Table Crystal Tumblers
For the whiskey lover, the right glasses are a must—and a proper decanter doesn’t hurt, either! This set comes with a traditional cut-crystal pattern that brings vintage elegance to an old-fashioned drink.
Best Stemless: Riedel Stemless Wine Glasses
Stemless glasses are trending—and with good reason! These versatile glasses are casual enough for a weeknight glass of vino but chic enough for your next wine and cheese party. We like this set because it brings together timeless quality with modern design—plus, they’re stackable! The more glasses means the more friends you can celebrate with!
Best Cut Crystal: Orrefors Prelude Stemware Collection
Looking for cut crystal glassware that doesn’t feel too grandma? These glasses are a great option. With a subtle, delicate design at the base, they’re traditional enough for a formal table setting but contemporary enough to feel au courant.
Best Flutes: Waterford Lismore Diamond Toasting Flutes
A crisp glass of bubbly is the ultimate way to celebrate the finer things in life— and these sleek and sophisticated champagne flutes are the perfect way to do it! Crafted in Ireland by the world-renowned crystal maker Waterford, these gorgeous flutes are meant for special occasions (although nobody is stopping you from bringing them out for a regular Friday date night). Cheers to that!
Best Water Glasses: Baccarat Crystal Small Water Glass
If you’re looking to go all out with your table setting, crystal water glasses add a timeless touch. After all, drinking water out of crystal is pretty deluxe! These classic glasses have a weight in the hand that feels substantial but are still elegant.
Best for Gin: Waterford Gin Journeys Elegance Balloon Gin Glasses
If you’re serious about gin, you’ll want a set of glassware that’s perfectly designed to let this liquor sing. While highball glasses are commonly used for things like Gin and Tonics, balloon glasses are better for allowing the spirit to breathe. This set has been designed with the help of experts to better enrich the aromas and infuse the flavor of the botanicals.
Best Universal Glasses: Zalto Denk'Art Universal Hand-Blown Crystal Wine Glasses
This set of universal wine glasses hits all the marks. From the shape of the bowl that has been specifically designed to bring out and accentuate the complexity of each wine to the delicate and durable design, these glasses are legit. Plus, Zalto has been hand-blowing the finest European crystal glassware for six generations, so we trust them!
Best Highball/Tom Collins: Schott Zweisel Charles Schumann Pure Highball Rocks Glass
Highball glasses make a great addition to any home, providing the perfect glass shape for a wide variety of drinks from Tom Collins to iced tea. Whether you use them as part of your barware collection or your everyday glassware, this set hits all the marks. The glass has a delicate shape with a classic-meets-modern design. Made of high-quality, lead-free crystal, it’s also scratch-resistant, chip-resistant, and dishwasher safe— win!
Best Coupe: Viki Raye Crystal Coupe
Serving a cocktail in a coupe makes an undoubtedly chic presentation. But you may be wondering when exactly to use this delicate, pretty glass. Coupes are used for shaken or stirred drinks that are chilled and served without ice. Often, they are a modern replacement for the traditional martini glass. This set is made of high-quality crystal and has a classic shape with modern lines. So if you love a good cocktail— or martini—this set serves it straight up.
Best Full Bar Cocktail Glasses: Bormioli Rocco Italian Classic Cocktail Glasses
For the cocktail connoisseur, it’s all about the presentation. And serving up a drink in the proper glass can be as essential as the drink itself. From Martinis to Gin Fizzes, this vintage-inspired set has it all. Choose to purchase a la carte or as a full set so that the glassware will be as perfect as the cocktail it’s served in.
Best Martini: Willow Park Sutherland Martini Glasses
What’s more perfect than a crisp Martini at the end of a long day? A Martini served in this gorgeous glass! This vintage-inspired design has a striking deep V-shaped body. Patterned with finely ribbed lines that cast light across surfaces, these glasses add a touch of magic—and glamour—to any occasion.
Best Shot Glasses: Tom Dixon Tank Shot Glasses Platinum Stripe
If your shot glass collection is a remnant of souvenirs from a long-ago spring break trip to Cabo, it’s time for an upgrade! And these gorgeous glasses are a serious upgrade. Sculptural in form, they have and hand-applied platinum decal that’s all luxury. Plus, shot glasses are for more than doing shooters. They serve a multitude of purposes from measuring liquor to serving up delicious drinks. But who are we kidding— a shooter is fun every now and again!
Crystal glassware comes in many shapes and forms with a multitude of options to choose from depending on how you plan to use the glassware and your personal style. Our pick for a stellar set of all-around wine glasses is the Food52 Schott Zwiesel Vervino Red & White Essentials. The high-quality glasses are well-designed and durable, assuring they’ll stand the test of time. And the set comes with a mix of red and white glasses, providing you with options depending on what type of wine you’re enjoying. If you’re in the market for something more formal the Orrefors Prelude Stemware Collection is a brilliant choice that’s a modern classic. And for cocktails? The Bormioli Rocco Italian Classic Cocktail Glasses provide a beautiful assortment of glasses that are chic and timeless.
Caring for crystal glassware
Keeping your crystal collection sparkling and pristine is key to having glassware that lasts. We recommend washing each piece by hand in warm water using a mild detergent and then drying the glasses with a lint-free cloth. When washing and drying, be mindful not to twist the bowl in the opposite direction of the stem.
Although putting the glassware in the dishwasher may be tempting, it will ultimately dull or scratch the surface of your glasses. Extreme temperatures can also cause damage to crystal, so that's a hard no to hot liquids, the microwave, and the freezer. Finally, avoid storing or drying your glassware upside down, as the finely made rims are the most fragile part of your crystal glassware!
What’s the difference between glass and crystal?
The key difference between crystal and glass is that crystal contains minerals that allow for a durable but thin glass with premium clarity—think crystal clear. Traditionally, real crystal contained lead, so if you’re thinking about purchasing a vintage set, you may want to take this into consideration. Nowadays, most crystal is lead-free, but if it’s a concern, double-check the contents of the material before purchasing.
Glass tends to be lower in cost, will not absorb aromas, and is always dishwasher safe. Most glasses that are made of glass will have a lip at the rim, which is not ideal. Borosilicate glass, however, is high in durability as well as heat and scratch-resistant.
How to identify crystal
If you find glassware that you love but aren’t sure if it’s crystal or glass, hold it to the light and look for a rainbow prism effect—if you see it, it’s legit. Or tap the glass and listen for a musical ring that’s typical of crystal. If it’s cut glassware, the crystal will have more rounded, polished edges, while cut glass features sharper lines. And if it sparkles—you’ve found the real thing!
Why Trust Brides?
Brides contributor Elizabeth MacLennan has been scouring marketplaces around the world for over 15 years as a prop stylist—hunting down that just right object. Read: she’s seen just about everything when it comes to tableware! With a discerning eye and astute mind, she considers quality, function, and design when she’s vetting products. That means these crystal glassware recommendations have passed the test!