Crystal and Glass Awards: What's the Difference?

Crystal and Glass Awards: What's the Difference?

The Trophy House


When it comes to selecting a type of award, it’s hard to go wrong with glass or crystal.   These awards are elegant, sophisticated, and can capture the achievement that you are recognizing.  The ability to personalize and customize with etching makes glass and crystal an even more attractive option.  However, while these two categories share similarities and are often referred to synonymously, there are some distinct differences that set each apart.

While all crystal awards are glass, not all glass awards are crystal.  There are actually 3 different categories: glass, crystal, and optic crystal. 

Glass Awards

Glass is the least clear and least expensive of the three types of awards.  These awards are made from silica sand and can be broken down into two other sub-categories.  Glass awards can be available in crystal clear glass or jade glass.  Crystal clear glass is a higher quality glass that is clear and resembles crystal.  Jade glass features a higher composition of iron ore which provides a greenish tint.  Both of these materials are very hard, and the crystal clear option typically costs upwards of twice as much as jade.

Crystal Awards

Crystal awards feature the addition of lead oxide, which softens the glass and provides a sparkle not found in regular glass.  This is also known as lead crystal.

Optic Crystal Awards

Optic crystal is heated to an incredibly high temperature and then allowed to cool slowly.  This process eliminates any bubbles or imperfections, creating a very clear result.  Optic crystal is the clearest of the three types of glass, and the most expensive.

Now that the different types of glass and their individual characteristics and features have been discussed, let’s look at the different methods available for personalization.


Sandcarving is also known as sandblasting.  This method uses compressed air to force an abrasive element through a nozzle that etches, or carves, a design into the glass or crystal.  This is a simple and versatile method for marking glass.  Anything from a light frosting to a deeply etched design is possible with sandcarving.

Mechanical Engraving

Another option when customizing glass awards is to use a computerized engraving machine.  By using a faceted rotary diamond cutter, a burnishing adaptor and a cooling system, exquisite designs can be easily added to any award.

Laser Engraving

A third engraving option is laser engraving.  This method offers simplicity that the others don’t.  With the marks being made with light there is no need for a cooling application.  This offers a much easier and faster set up time, as well as expedited processing.

Knowing the difference between the different types of materials and their distinct features, as well as the methods available for personalization can make selecting your next award an easy and successful decision.  For all of your award needs, The Trophy House in Baton Rouge has the expertise and experience to deliver the results you are looking for.

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