Turn sand into glass

Vladimir Region

Russia Beyond
Russia Beyond
Have you ever thought that the engraved family salad bowl full of Olivier salad, the steamy jug of berry mors (juice drink) on the summer table or the flower vase with a bouquet of flowers shimmering in the sun, aren’t simply elements of hereditary Soviet life in many of our homes, but real works of art - fruits of painstaking labor by craftsmen spending countless years honing their craft and only a small part of a massive crystal collection?

Have you seen how special sand in skillful hands turns before your eyes into those very elegant vases, jugs and salad bowls? No? Then quickly book a ticket to Gus-Khrustalny: one of the oldest factories in Europe and Russia, still producing crystal products, is open to visitors. But, in case you’ve already experienced the spectacle - go anyway: the museum’s rich private collection and store will leave no one indifferent. 

How do you turn sand into glass?

Getting to Gus-Khrustalny from Vladimir can be done in several ways. 

🚌 The 507 bus from ‘Vladimir’ station to ‘Gus-Khrustalny’, then a 10 minute walk to the factory. Buses run every 30 minutes all day; travel time - ca. 90 minutes.

🚅 Take the train from ‘Gus-Khrustalny’ station; then, again, a 10 minute walk. Unfortunately, trains only run twice a day from Vladimir (morning and evening) and twice from Gus-Khrustalny (at almost 4 am and during the day), making this a less convenient option; travel time - 100 minutes.

🚗 Taking a car or cab is the fastest way: you can cover 70 kilometers in an hour. Just don’t forget to book your factory tour in advance here.

Of course, when we say that simple sand turns into real crystal, we are slightly exaggerating. The raw material used isn’t really sand, but a mixture with low iron content and the addition of various mixtures - most notably lead oxide, which gives the final mixture its plasticity, allowing the resulting glass to be shaped into elegant items, as well as polished, cut and engraved. All these processes allow the crystal to fully open and refract light, like a precious stone!

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