Baccarat crystal has been making glass, or as they put it “Transforming matter into an object of desire” for over 250 years. They are based in the town of Baccarat in the Lorraine region in eastern France.
It was in 1764 that King Louis XV of France gave permission to Prince Bishop Cardinal Louis-Joseph de Laval-Montmorency to found a glassworks in Baccarat. Initially their primary production was of window panes, mirrors and stemware.
In 1816 they began to produce crystal rather than glass – crystal is glass that has a lead content (at least 24%), whilst glass has no lead content.
Baccarat received its first royal commission in 1823, and this began a long line of commissions for royalty and heads of state across the world which still continues to this day.
By the time the Imperial Era ended with the defeat of Napoleon III in 1867 Baccarat had built a world-wide reputation for its work, which now included millefiori paperweights, chandeliers and perfume bottles in addition to its bar and stemware.
Of the best known commissions two bear mentioning. The Dolmabahçe Palace in Istanbul houses the world’s largest chandelier and has a staircase lined with a Baccarat crystal balustrade. The other was for the Queen of Portugal who commissioned decorative pieces of tableware for her private collection. These can now been seen exhibited in the Ajuda National Palace.
One of the strongest production areas for Baccarat was perfume bottles, and by 1907 production was over 4000 bottles per day.
In 1948 Baccarat created an American subsidiary in New York City, and there are now Baccarat stores right across the US.
In 1964 a retrospective was held at the Louvre Museum to celebrate the 200th anniversary.
In 1993 Baccarat started making jewellery for the first time. Then, four years later in 1997, Baccarat released its own branded perfume ... over a hundred years after starting to make the bottles!
In 2005 Baccarat was acquired by Starwood Capital Group of the United States. Some years later Starwood announced that it would use the name “Baccarat Hotels and Resorts” for its luxury chain, and each would feature the company’s crystal chandeliers.
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