There’s something magical about the way crystal shines in the light that ensures that it becomes the focal point of any room thanks to its brilliance and beauty.
One name stands out in the luxury crystal industry more than any other name: Baccarat.
Baccarat makes high-end crystal glassware, paperweights, and decorations that make fantastic gifts.
However, you may hesitate to finalize your purchase when you see that its bestselling Mille Nuits Fluttissimo champagne flutes cost between $520 and $600 for only two glasses.
Why does Baccarat crystal cost so much?
We will cover the causes of the large price tag and whether it’s worth the price or not.
Why Is Baccarat Crystal So Expensive? (Top 10 Reasons)
One of the main reasons people are willing to pay so much for Baccarat crystal is how gorgeous its crystal is.
Crystal has a similar elegance to glass.
However, crystal has a greater shine than glass and more intricate details.
Part of the added brilliance comes from the fact that crystal is more porous than glass, allowing more light to refract off of it.
The material is also less foggy, allowing for more clarity.
However, the beautiful crystal only acts as a base for the rest of the design.
Baccarat not only uses high-end crystal, but it makes products with design in mind.
It doesn’t create objects you can find anywhere else since its products are designed by some of the top artistic minds in the industry.
Baccarat currently has a product catalog of 2,500 items, including:
- Perfume bottles
- Decorative pieces
- Home fittings
Consumers love a brand with a colorful history.
We associate history with experience.
We also consider a brand part of a location’s history, and many people consider French items, such as Baccarat crystal, classy and intrinsically valuable.
The Baccarat company history adds something special to the products it makes, and every product carries part of that history with it.
The Bishop of Metz started Baccarat as a glassware company in 1765 as a way to bring industry to the town of Baccarat.
Since Baccarat is located about 250 miles away from the business hub of Paris, the town really needed its own claim to fame.
Baccarat didn’t start as a luxury brand, though.
It started by making glass for everyday use, including windows.
At this time, the company was known as The Verrerie de Sainte Anne at Baccarat.
Right after the company opened, France experienced a very turbulent period that included both the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars.
The company made it through these hard times, but it struggled like most other companies at the time.
The company needed a change.
Enter Aime-Gabriel D’Artigues, the owner of the high-end glassware company Voneche.
While D’Artigues was from Paris, his glassware company ended up within the borders of the new country of Belgium.
In 1815, D’Artigues bought Baccarat so that he could maintain his business ties in France despite living in Belgium.
Many people assume that he intended to save money in import taxes, which now applied to him with the creation of Belgium.
The company as we know it was established in1824 as Société de Cristallerie de Vonêche-Baccarat.
The new owner changed the focus of the company toward high-end crystal instead of everyday glassware.
The rest, as they say, is history.
Today, it remains the most popular glassworks company in France with a reputation that appeals to people all over the world.
According to Baccarat, its current aesthetic is “shaped by the dialogue between heritage and modernity”.
3. Specialized Techniques
To make its crystal, Baccarat puts the raw materials into furnaces that exceed temperatures of a scorching 4,000 degrees Celsius.
It can take up to a month to get the furnace up to the proper temperature, so the furnaces always stay lit.
It requires a lot of energy to support those furnaces.
After the material melts, it is taken out of the furnace and put into a mold.
Once placed into the mold, it is put back into the furnace so that the materials mold together in the proper shape.
While Baccarat uses modern technology in the manufacturing of its products, all items are still hand-blown.
“Hand-blown” refers to the process of using a blowpipe to inflate molten glass and mold it accordingly.
After the material molds properly and dries, the object must be decorated.
One of the first decorations applied to the glass is a gold powder in a process known as gilding.
Additional decorations will be added to the material after it’s gilded.
After the item is complete, you have the option to get the product engraved using stone or acid.
Baccarat’s main claim to fame is its paperweights.
This is a great gift to give someone when they get their first job out of college or after a promotion.
It looks great, but what makes Baccarat crystal paperweights special compared to other crystal paperweights?
Despite what you may think, not all paperweights are made the same.
Baccarat uses a special technique it established in the 19th century that elevates the quality of Baccarat paperweights to something special.
The process involves embedding cameo sulfides in the paperweights.
The process works so well that the company continues to use the same process today.
Since it’s so high-end, many people assume that Baccarat crystal will break easily.
However, you may be surprised to learn that Baccarat crystal is stronger than glass, even if it is thinner and may look fragile.
Crystal is stronger than glass because it is a type of glass that contains strengthening materials that allow the material to maintain its integrity, even when it’s being cut or blown.
Some of the strengthening materials include:
- Potassium carbonate
Despite being strong, Baccarat crystal can break.
That means you should be careful to store your crystal properly and use it with care.
You also shouldn’t put your crystal in the dishwasher.
If you do, it may break.
The high temperatures can also create a chemical reaction that turns the crystal milky.
Instead of using the dishwasher, wash your crystal by hand with gentle soap, making sure to dry the crystal completely before putting it away.
If you experience white stains on your crystal, they probably developed as a result of limestone deposits, especially common in places with hard water.
Baccarat crystal is so gorgeous that Baccarat has two museums dedicated to showcasing the most beautiful pieces.
The two museums are the Musée Baccarat in Baccarat, Meurthe-et-Moselle and the Musée Baccarat in Paris.
Musee Baccarat, Baccarat
In this museum in the company’s hometown, you can see 1,100 different artifacts and a detailed description of the manufacturing process.
One of the main items on display at this museum is the Red Diamond Play Button made from Baccarat glass.
Musée Baccarat, Paris
The Paris museum is the larger of the two museums.
It’s open to the public except for on Sundays, Mondays, and holidays.
You must pay an admission fee.
Some of the pieces on display include:
- Simon vases
- Turkish enamel coffee set
- Elephant vase
You can also see numerous additional pieces commissioned for royals and celebrities.
For example, Russia’s Tsar Nicholas II requested so much that the company had to open a whole new workshop dedicated to fulfilling these requests.
One of the most popular items he commissioned was a pair of candelabras.
However, the candelabras never made it to Nicholas II before he was tragically assassinated.
At this time, the candelabras are on display at the museum.
6. Special Occasions/Luxury Accommodations
People spend more money on things for a special occasion.
Baccarat understands how valuable these items can be during life’s special moments, and it markets itself accordingly.
What life event is more important than a celebration of true love?
It’s a (hopefully) once-in-a-lifetime event, and it’s an occasion that can inspire generosity.
Crystal flutes are a classic gift for the bride and groom.
They will get a lot of use out of them on their wedding day, especially when it comes time to gather the crowd’s attention for speeches and other wedding announcements.
Crystal creates a beautiful sound that you won’t get from glass.
The thin consistency of the material also makes the champagne that much more enjoyable when it kisses the lips of the bride and groom.
Every year on their anniversary, the couple can take out their wedding flutes to share a glass of champagne and dance to their wedding song again.
When you attach the tradition and nostalgia to the glasses, Baccarat crystal champagne flutes become utterly priceless.
High-end hotels need to present an aura of elegance every day since the people visiting are expecting it.
Most people opt for luxury hotels when they are celebrating something or looking to really enjoy themselves.
In order to create this luxurious feeling, they use Baccarat objects to decorate the facilities, perhaps with a chandelier in the lobby or glassware at the bar.
Luxury Commercial Office
In some businesses, when you show off your success, you can encourage clients and colleagues to do business with you.
In some of the high-end commercial offices around the world, you may see Baccarat decorations in the lobby and the bathrooms, as well as the individual offices.
Yachts and jets are known for being high-end.
When people spend money to enjoy a yacht or private jet, they want to feel the luxury as soon as they step foot on the charter.
However, fragile items may break if a jet comes across turbulence or when a yacht experiences intense waters.
For that reason, when people use Baccarat crystal to decorate these items, they look for especially durable products.
7. Brand Recognition And Verifiable Products
When you buy a luxurious Baccarat crystal product, you want people to know it’s a Baccarat piece.
Older items will feature the complete Baccarat logo on them so that people will know it’s a Baccarat product.
The complete logo features a circle with “Baccarat” printed on the top, three different types of vessels, and the word “France” printed at the bottom.
Today, most new items don’t contain the entire logo.
However, products will have “Baccarat” written in script or a simple “B” somewhere on the product.
If you aren’t sure whether the item you have is a real Baccarat product or not, you can always reach out to a professional to get your product verified.
Baccarat recommends going to Drouot Estimations (ph. +33 (0) 01 48 01 91 00) at the Hôtel Drouot in Paris if you need a quick estimation for free.
If you need a certificate of authenticity, you can reach out to Anne Lajoix, but she will charge for her services.
If you do have an authentic Baccarat piece, you probably want to know how much it is worth.
If you can’t find the product in its current catalog, you can use the following guide to get an idea of the price of Baccarat crystal:
- Large, Sumptuous and Exceptional Chandelier with 54 arms, in lapidated Baccarat crystal: $170,000
- A French Cut and Moulded Glass Twenty-Four Light Chandelier by Baccarat (1883): $70,000
- A French Ormolu and Crystal Thirty-Two-Light Chandelier by Baccarat (1900): $68,000
- A fine pair of Baccarat acid-cameo pink-cased opaline vases (1870): $17,000
- Rare vase, ‘Rafraichissoir,” La Compagnie des Cristalleries de Baccarat (1865): $10,000
- Three-Piece Baccarat Gilt Bronze and Cut-Glass Figural Table, late 19th Century: $6500
- Baccarat Cut Glass Garniture: $2,271
- Baccarat “Harcourt” Stem and Bar Ware, 20th century: $6,150
- Thirty-Seven Pieces of Unusual Baccarat Cut to Clear Crystal Stemware of Various Forms & Colors: $21,000
Since the crystal is rather strong, it tends to hold up for years and retain its value over time.
With that being said, it’s important to remember that even minor imperfections can decrease the value by 25 to 50%.
All Baccarat crystal products are made in Baccarat, France.
However, people all over the world want the products.
This means that people need to pay for the delivery fees as well as the product itself.
Even though Baccarat has warehouses and retail stores in strategic locations, it must pay to get the products it makes to the desired location.
For a $500 small Christmas ornament to be delivered to the United States, it costs $20 for ground delivery.
You have the option to request faster delivery for a larger fee.
If you purchase a large item, you can expect to pay a lot more for the delivery.
Shipping for an $8,220 wall sconce costs $200.
You will also need to pay additional delivery fees if you are buying your products from a third party or have a specialized request.
The delivery requires secure packaging with plenty of packaging material, especially considering the fragile nature of the crystal.
You need to be prepared for what you will do if the object gets broken in transit (or at any point while you own it).
If something happens to your Baccarat crystal items, repairs will cost a lot of money, if they are possible at all.
It’s important to protect yourself by taking out an insurance policy on the items.
If you are not buying directly from Baccarat, you should get insurance through the delivery service that will be bringing the product to you.
Otherwise, if you do notice damage, it can be difficult to prove when the damage occurred.
The delivery insurance gives you an additional level of protection in the case of a problem.
However, you do need to read the stipulations of the insurance policy very carefully.
Once you get your Baccarat item safely to your home, you should put the objects on your homeowner’s insurance policy.
Depending on your specific policy, this insurance can protect you in the case of theft or damage.
Once again, it’s important to understand the insurance policy down to the smallest detail.
Adding the objects to your policy will cause your monthly premiums to go up slightly.
However, if you don’t have the objects on your insurance policy, you may find yourself out of luck if something were to happen to them.
10. Fierce Competition
Baccarat had to work hard to establish its name in the crystal industry, despite being the oldest crystal manufacturer out there.
As Baccarat perfected its processes, other companies started learning how to make crystal products, too.
Some of the top crystal competition includes:
Baccarat not only needs to make objects that are as beautiful as those of the competition, but it also has to have equal or better strength.
Since Baccarat must pay to stay up to date and competitive, the expense will show in the price tag of the objects.
Despite the competition, Baccarat does stand out in numerous ways but especially its designs.
That’s why Baccarat has become the top name in luxury crystal to this day, no matter what other companies do to mimic its style.
You can’t get any better than Baccarat crystal.
Whether you want to purchase something as a wedding gift or decoration in your home, Baccarat crystal fits into any luxurious design aesthetic.
However, you will pay for the luxury.
Luckily, most people find that their Baccarat crystal retains its value as long as it’s properly cared for, making it an investment as opposed to a splurge.