If you love crystal glassware like we do, then you will know the name ‘Royal Brierley’. This company represents a key part of the long legacy of classic crystal glassware, and with good reason. Not only are they known for the exceptionally high quality of Royal Brierley crystal, but they can also claim one of the longest histories in British glasswork.
Incredibly, the origins of the company go back about two and a half centuries to the year 1776. That might not initially sound impressive but think about it in context. 1776 was the year that the Declaration of Independence was signed, making the USA into an independent company. The Royal Brierley company is as old as the USA! 1776 was also early in the Industrial Revolution, before the development of the railway network and before the development of mass produced steel! It predates the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars, which would begin almost a decade later, and was more than fifty years before middle class men would win the vote.
The Royal Brierley Glass company was not always known by that name. They operated under various titles through the subsequent 250 years, such as Silvers, Mills and Stevens, and the Stevens and Williams Glassworks. The name Royal Brierley Crystal was adopted in 1931, following a visit by the Duke and Duchess of York to the factory. The company briefly closed in in 2000 but was soon reopened as a part of Dartington Crystal.
Despite the changes in ownership and name over the years, one thing has remained consistent – the reputation for quality. The company has long had a reputation for precision manufacturing, as well as superior quality crystal glass. The focus on quality workmanship probably stems from the context of the company’s founding. In the 1700s, the British government placed a high tax on lead crystal glass.
Since this tax was calculated on the basis of weight, manufacturers like Royal Brierley found it beneficial to focus on delicate and intricate work which used smaller pieces, like glasses and decanters, rather than reducing the lead in the crystal which would have reduced the finished quality. This pattern for making finely formed crystalware, as well as coloured glass, has remained at the centre of the Royal Brierley crystal glass collection. It is not really a surprise that they became the suppliers of glassware to the Royal Family in 1919, with a royal warrant given by King George V and more recently renewed by Charles, Prince of Wales.
If you are looking for glassware, either for yourself or as a great gift for a special occasion, Royal Brierley could be exactly what you need. Why not treat yourself or a friend to some Royal Brierley crystal glasses or a Royal Brierley crystal decanter?
At Crystal Glass Replacements, we stock a wide range of Royal Brierley pieces in our online shop. Whether you want an individual piece as a replacement or a full set, get in touch to see how we can provide the right pieces for your collection.