A brief history of “English Crystals”
By Steve Kerner - D. Paglia & Son
The D. Paglia & Son Company is the exclusive agent for Helmut & Heike Bussmer crystals in the United States. D. Paglia & Son has been commissioning “English” crystals for the past forty years from the Bussmer family in Germany. Emil Bussmer, born in 1908 in Idar-Oberstein was a master crystal carver in the 1940’s through the late ‘60s. His son Helmut Bussmer is considered the most talented contemporary “English Crystal” carver in the world today. Helmut’s daughter Heike has apprenticed the art and received a “Master Craftsman” diploma in the summer of 1999. Heike is working with Helmut now, and her unique and innovative design talent is already taking this art in new and exciting directions!
D. Paglia commissions the crystal pieces and they are sent to them “loose”. The talented goldsmiths at Paglia then begin the process of creating handmade gold bezels and frames for the Bussmers’ crystals.
Carving & Painting:
The Bussmers begin the process with flawless quartz crystal cabochon stones. They carve the image - in reverse from the back. This gives the finished product the dimension that is so desirable. They painstakingly paint the image in reverse - from the highlight colors to the main colors, using brushes - some as thin as one human hair! A flat Mother of Pearl stone is then applied to the back to give it that special luminescence quality. No two crystals are exactly alike. Each one is a unique work of art.
Care and Cleaning:
Quartz crystal, the material used for carving, is a strong stone, but it can crack. So take care to never drop your crystal jewelry on a hard surface. Don’t immerse your crystal jewelry in water as the painting is not waterproof. Any jewelry repairs should be undertaken by D. Paglia & Son. They are experts in cleaning, repairing, and setting the crystals.
With a little loving care your crystal works of art will stay beautiful for generations to come.