Everything starts with the slowly-evolving design, which is passed on to the crystal glass works.
A wooden mould is then made, around which the desired shape will be blown by mouth, in crystal with a lead content varying between 24 and 30% depending on requirements. In the workshop, Franck Benito traces the main lines of the sculpture onto the uncut form.
The form is then milled by hand to cut out the rough design. The cutting is then refined, the patterns channelled out more and more deeply, to the very breaking point of the crystal, to bring forth the most brilliant sheen with increasingly fine polishing wheels. Once the cut is finished, it needs to be polished, either with felt polishing wheels, or in an acid bath for a very carefully monitored period.
Assembling the pieces
At this stage the feet, handles and other elements also designed by Franck Benito and made by bronze smiths, are added to achieve the finished article. According to requirements these items can be made from gilded bronze, gold plated silver, even silver or gold.
Where does crystal get its colour?
For colour pieces, the initial form, always blown in « white » crystal, is covered, whilst hot, in a thin, extra? layer of crystal coloured with pigment. Then it is cut like other pieces, sometimes only retaining some cabochons, medallions or facets.