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With a history that dates far back into the ancient world, glass decanters are a symbol
of elegant entertaining. From cut crystal to cameo glass, glass decanters all share a
Though prototypes of the glass decanter were prominent in the cultures of the ancient
Mediterranean, the creation of decanters grew exponentially in popularity during the long
medieval age. It was during this point in history that the prevalence of alcoholic drinks
combined with the rising presence and wealth of the upper class resulted in an increased
demand for the decanter.
Further fueled by the growth of the Venetian glassblowing industry, the glass
decanter was a standard form among elite households by the 17th century. They were
equally compelling for their decorative qualities. Glass decanters evolved from functional
to fantastically beautiful art objects, a quality for which they are still coveted today.
Some antique decanters were tailored to echo their eventual contents. Claret
decanters were designed with a wide mouth, for example, to eliminate the need for a
funnel. Others, aiming for colorful contents such as red Campari, were crafted in clear
glass so that the bartender could easily identify the vessel's contents by color. Though
some antique colored cut glass exists, it is more rare than its clear counterparts
Some of the most prominent creators of glass decanters include: Baccarat, Gallé,
Lalique, Tiffany, and Steuben
One of the oldest surviving Waterford crystal decanters dates to 1789. Of the Penrose
design, named after Waterford's founder and identifiable by its neck featuring three rings,
the decanter is cut in a rich variety of tantalizing trefoil patterns