In response to a wealthy landowners request to make the best use of the natural resources of the infertile Baccarat region of France, King Louis XV created “Compagnie des Cristalleries de Baccarat” in 1765 by royal decree.
The renowned company was the first French glassworks firm established to directly compete with imported Bohemian counterparts. The Baccarat firm also made a large contribution to the nation’s economy by providing work for the local wood cutters and accelerating the region’s recovery following the destruction of the Seven Years War. The creation of Baccarat generated revenue for the community while creating a product that was in high demand.
Following the French Revolution, the Empire Wars and the fall of Napoleon, the economy in the region faltered. Over time, the Baccarat firm was sold numerous times as operating expenses tripled. The new owners sought to perfect the quality and craftsmanship of all the wares. Exceptional raw materials were imported from throughout the world, including America. Glassworkers underwent lengthy and meticulous training. The quest for perfection increased the quality and reputation of Baccarat glassware. Coupled with technological innovations and improved working conditions, the glassware firm was able to increase production, without sacrificing quality.
The tremendous popularity of Baccarat glass ware was evident in the numerous top awards and honors the firm has had been given in the last two centuries. Baccarat has long been internationally recognized for their magnificent creations. Most notably, at the 1823 Exposition Nationale in Paris, where they received international praise and acclaim from all in attendance. Even Louis XVIII, admired and appreciated the quality of craftsmanship and modest prices of the wares. The popularity of Baccarat flourished and became vogue among European royalty and elite.
During the mid-19th century Baccarat chandeliers and tableware were favored by European royalty, with the Russian aristocracy proving to be some of their most loyal clientele. At one point, one-third of Baccarat’s workforce (over 2,000 employees), were assigned solely to fulfill the orders for the Russian court. In addition to the extravagant pieces, Baccarat created scores of stemware for the Russian market. A custom initiated by the first tsars mandated that no one should drink from a glass touched by their own lips, and many grand dukes and nobleman followed suit. Consequently, many a Baccarat crystal goblet was immediately smashed after only a single use!
The international acclaim, the royal patronage and the quantity and quality of the awards won at expositions throughout Paris and Europe have garnered a magnificent reputation for the French firm. Prized for its clarity, detail and beauty of form, Baccarat crystal is the perfect accompaniment to any dinner service.