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The Evolution of Stemware: How the Trends Have Changed

Feb 25, 2013 09:40PM ● By Erin Frisch


Crystal stemware is one of the loveliest elements of any holiday table; everyone¬ enjoys its soft glint, especially in candlelight. Stemware is a must-have for any special celebration, as it lends an air of elegance to your table. If you drink wine, you know that your choice of glasses and their various shapes has an impact on wine’s taste, bouquet, and clarity. Stemware is used not only for wine but also for many other uses, but that’s a subject for another day. For now, here’s some information on the evolution of stemware and how the trends have changed.


Known to have influenced the creation of the chalice, goblets are the oldest form of stemware, dating back as early as the Roman Period. Goblets were used originally by peasants, since they were made of clay and thus affordable. Over time and with developments in skills, methods, and materials, artisans began crafting goblets of lead, glass, silver, and even gold. The goblet was used in religious and other ceremonies.

As its popularity increased, the goblet was encrusted with jewels, gold, and other precious metals—for the wealthy, of course. Crystal goblets became popular and were soon common on the dining tables of those in the higher ranks of society. Today, the goblet is usually thicker than a wine glass and can have a long or short stem with a cup attached to it. You can find plenty of choices for your dining table—plain, engraved, colored, or clear.

Wine Glasses

The true wine glass emerged around 50 AD, and wine glasses were among the first vessels to be made of glass. There history is similar to that of goblets, and they were used for many of the same purposes. Because of the difficulty of creating glass, wine glasses were more expensive than goblets.

However, as glass manufacturing methods changed, glass could be produced more easily and prices came down. As a result, most people could afford them. Depending on the type of wine they were to be used for, different shapes and sizes were designed. Today’s designers offer all sorts of novelty wine glasses that can bring a touch of humor to the table with witty sayings engraved on the glass, the use of rhinestones, and other decorative touches. Others are basic wine glasses that are more for everyday use. Glasses with painted motifs such as roses, ivy, and many other designs make wonderful gifts and complement any table setting.

Champagne Flutes

Both practical and simply stylish, the champagne flute appears to have originated in Venice, Italy, with the emergence of glass as a material in the sixteenth century. These glasses were often decorated with motifs of vines and flowers, and some were very ornate. Today, champagne flutes are found in many varieties and styles including stemless and double-walled flutes, all designed to make an elegant addition to the dining room table. Found in a variety of colors and also hand-painted, you can use them to hold candles, glitter, and other small items as well.

With the exciting choices in stemware available these days, the only challenge is making a decision! Investing in quality stemware pays for itself over and over again by amplifying your hedonistic pleasure. Stemware design is like fashion—it’s always changing, and the next trend, which may be difficult to predict, may look to the past for inspiration in the future.

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