Whether you desire to begin collecting fine crystal or you stumble upon a sparkling vase at an estate sale and wonder about its value, being able to tell if glassware is real crystal can be a valuable skill. There are several keys to determining the value of a piece of glass you hold in your hand. With careful examination, you should be able to figure out whether you hold ornate crystal or basic cut glass.
Hold the piece in your hand to feel the weight. Real crystal will feel more solid and heavy in your hand due to the additional ingredients it contains. Simple glass is not as heavy. A real crystal piece will feel noticeably heavier than you might think it should when you lift it. If you can compare a real crystal vase with a vase made of standard glass, the real crystal will be significantly heavier.
Tap the side edge of the piece with your fingertip and notice the sound. If the piece is real crystal, you will hear a ring, according to the American Cut Glass Association. If the piece is basic glass, you will hear a dull noise.
Look at the piece under bright light. If you hold real crystal in your hand, the facets of the crystal will sparkle brilliantly, reflecting the light. If you hold pressed glass in your hand, the facets in the glass will lack the same sparkle -- they will be dull in comparison.
Examine the edges of the piece. Real crystal edges are sharp and precise, honed and engraved with a designer's cutting wheel. Pressed glass edges lack this sharp precision -- they appear smooth and dull. Check for seams in the piece as well -- real crystal lacks seams. Pressed glass may have a seam running vertically along the piece from the manufacturing mold.