We recommend you hand wash your crystal in warm soapy water using a mild detergent. Use a rubber mat in the sink. Dry immediately with a soft cloth, or air dry in a rubber-coated rack. When hand washing crystal, rings and other jewelry should be removed. Crystal with 24 karat gold or platinum accents should always be hand washed.
Arrange pieces securely in the top rack so they do not touch or become dislodged. Use a mild liquid detergent, as dishwasher detergents, over time, will cause abrasive marks on fine crystal. Always allow the stemware to cool before removing it from the dishwasher.
Crystal may be stored either hanging by its base from a rack, or standing upright on a shelf. It should never be stored upside down resting on its bowl. The rim is the most delicate part of the stemware and is the most vulnerable to chipping.
To remove hard water mineral spots from crystal, simply apply a small amount of vinegar to the water. A small, soft brush can be useful to clean crystal that has grooves in the design.
Mikasa's crystal is among the finest available. Master craftsmen design the shapes unique to our brand. Innovation and high-tech automation affords great quality at reasonable prices. Mikasa has long been associated with some of the world's finest crystal factories.
Crystal can most easily be described as extremely fine quality glass. All glass is made from a variety of natural raw materials, which include silica or sand, soda (sodium carbonate), potash (plant ash) and lime. Some glass contains lead; this is usually called full lead crystal or lead crystal. The degree to which a piece of glass contains these ingredients, especially lead, determines its quality and price. These ingredients also determine the opportunities for design.
There are four basic ways to produce crystal glassware. These methods range from the centuries old process of hand blowing, passed down from generation to generation, to high tech innovations that are continually being updated.
Hand blowing is the oldest method used to make glass and is still considered the finest, but it is also the most expensive. Raw materials are mixed in a furnace at temperatures ranging from 1000°F to more than 2000°F. This process forms a batch of liquid or molten glass. The molten glass is gathered on a hollow iron pipe by inserting the pipe into a furnace opening. The amount of glass gathered depends on the article being made. The gather of glass is turned and spun and shaken to the approximate dimensions and form of the piece to be made. The worker then blows into the mouthpiece until the molten glass is shaped into the specific piece. While the bubble is still attached to the blowpipe, it is placed in a lined mold to shape it. The glass maker continues to blow while spinning the mold. The mold is then opened and the shaped object removed. If a piece of stemware is being made, three workers gather glass for each part: bowl, stem and foot.
To cool the glassware, the finished piece is placed on a conveyor belt and taken through a lehr or oven that hardens it by cooling it gradually. This is a slow process so that the glass will harden without cracking. Trimming the excess glass with cutting tools and a jet stream of fire finishes the glassware. The piece is then placed in a grinder to smooth the edges and each piece is washed and may be glazed. The rim is melted again to ensure smoothness.
Another process for making glass calls for the molten glass to be poured into a mold. The molten glass is pushed into the mold by means of hand levers that bring air pressure into the mold to fill it with the molten glass. The shaped piece is then placed in a furnace, where it is tempered by fire. When the proper shape has been achieved, the piece is placed in a lehr for cooling and hardening.
Technology has made it possible to recreate the blowing and rotating steps by machine. The machine blown process produces large quantities of crystal at more affordable prices. Machine pressing is another method using a plunger that forces the glass into the mold. Whether blown or pressed, machine manufactured glass undergoes the same steps as the handmade product. The difference is that the process is performed by machine rather than by a craftsman.