I've start acquiring Waterford pieces in the last 6 months or so, some from the Shop NBC Waterford shows with the debonair Jorge Pérez, others from ebay. I'm not into matchy-matchy, so I've been buying 2 and 4 of a particular stem. Waterford has so many interesting suites (as they call them) or patterns (as we tend to call them) that I'm trying to get as many different ones as I can without going overboard (which, for me, will be hard).
This stem is a port glass in the Lismore pattern, one of their most popular suites. Everyone you know has port glasses, don't they? This is one of the few that I have 4 stems in one pattern. (I have a purchase of 4 champagne flutes in an unidentified pattern coming from an ebay seller, and I'm looking forward to figuring out what pattern those are in.)
So I'm going to start a series here on Waterford as related to wines and other alcoholic beverages, and I hope you find it interesting. I'll start by throwing out a few random facts that I find interesting.
Marquis by Waterford: Patterns like Brookside and Sheridan -- Jorge will never admit it on air, but this is Waterford for the masses. I haven't confirmed what I suspect, that it's cut by machine, instead of by hand like many of the more expensive patterns. I also wonder if it has a lesser lead content. Now, that's not to say you should stick your nose up at it. I bought some for everyday use, and it's great for that. One of the cats knocked a glass off the counter and broke it, and at roughly $6 a stem, you don't mind that as much as you would a $50 a stem wine glass. And, if you bought 12 (now 11) of a stem and you find you really don't like it, you don't hesitate to give it to a friend who does or sell it at a rummage sale (the Marquis Brookside iced beverage glasses; anybody want them?).
Lismore: It's a very popular pattern/suite now celebrating its 60th anniversary, but I find it a little uninteresting compared to some of the older patterns. Look at some of the more complex (and pricey) ones like Maeve or Hibernia or Castlemaine. This port glass is in Lismore and it's a very nice glass. I'm just saying, for your wine glasses or other larger pieces, look around at the older patterns too.
One final thing for today: Competing crystal -- You have Riedel from Austria, which is very nice but doesn't tend to have cut patterns, Nachtmann from Germany (now owned by Riedel), Cristal d'Arques, the big French company; Tyrone, a now closed Irish manufacturer but you can still find their products secondhand; and others like Edinburgh (intricate thistle designs) and Rosenthal and of course Baccarat (which I find boring). I bought some Cristal d'Arques flutes at about $15 a stem, and they definitely have much less heft than comparable Waterford flutes, which is not saying I don't like them or they're not worth the money.
Next time I'll go into the history of Waterford. If you see a listing on eBay like I just did claiming a set of sherry glasses dates from the 1930s -- don't believe it.