Do You Know the 6 Key Differences Between Crystal and Glass Plaques & Trophies?

Crystal Plaques

It is difficult for the layman to tell whether a particular crystal plaque or crystal trophy is made of real crystal or glass. You may not be able to identify them easily with the naked eye, but there are some tell-tale signs and also some tests to find out whether a crystal or a crystal-made object is really made of genuine crystal and not glass. Let us take a look at what you can do to identify a genuine crystal plaque or trophy.

Crystal Plaque



Most glasses have sharp cuts. Due to the sculpting process, crystal has a smooth, rounded feel. 


The color and brilliance of glass often varies, depending on its content. Glass trophies and glass plaques are made with iron. They tends to have a green tinge, while glass made with soda-lime will have an aqua tinge. While, some find these tinges to be unattractive, glasses with a greenish hue tend to be considerably stronger. Crystals generally are light in color and are mostly translucent. Some clear crystals have the properties of reflecting light into different colors. When held in the right position, the refraction and dispersion of light from crystal will create a rainbow of hues.


In general, trophies or plaques made with real crystal are always heavier than glass. If your award feels a little light in your hand, this could be a clue that it is not made of real crystal. Because crystal is often made with lead, it feels heavier than glass. Pick up the object and you should notice it feels solid and with some heft. Pick up a glass object of a comparable size. Most likely, it will feel light.

Refractive Index 

Another way to test if the crystal material used in your awards is real is to calculate its refractive index (RI). RI determines how much the path of light is bent, or refracted when entering a material.

You can use a refractometer to measure the RI of an object. As the RI of a material increases, the greater the extent to which a light beam is deflected (or refracted) upon entering or leaving the material. Crystal has a RI of more than 1.5, while glass has a RI of 1.5 and below. The lead oxide in real crystal increases the RI, which is why a product with a higher RI often produces a more brilliant sparkle or shine as compared to others with a lower RI.

Mohs Hardness Scale 

The Mohs hardness scale was introduced by German mineralogist Friedrich Mohs in 1812. It is an excellent way to detect whether a crystal is real. Based on a hardness scale of 1 to 10. It measures the scratch resistance of a material, with diamond being the hardest material with a maximum value of 10 and talc being the softest with a minimum value of 1.

Anything higher on the Mohs scale can scratch anything lower on it. Products made of genuine crystal often measure 7 and above in hardness. For example, a quartz gem measures about 7 while glass measures between 5.5 to 7. Hence, in this case, a diamond can technically scratch products that are made of real crystal.

UV Light Test 

Conducting the UV light test is an alternative way to find out if your trophy or plaque is really made of genuine crystal. Shine a black UV light on a crystal-made trophy or plaque. If your material starts to glow under the black light, then it is fake crystal. However, if the material remains the same as how it looks under ordinary room light, then your material is made of real crystal.

Who Is The Manufacturer or Retailer? 

One of the best ways to obtain crystal as one of the materials for your trophies or plaques is to do your due diligence and research when it involves the crystal seller or the manufacturer of your crystal-made award products. A good manufacturer or retailer which has been in the industry for a long time depends on their reputation for business. You can be sure that they will almost always guarantee the quality of their products, especially an intricate material such as crystal.

Check out the manufacturer or retailer’s website or testimonials. If you find one, reach out to the owner for clarifications if you need further information. Sometimes, it also helps if you have some knowledge of the price ranges of real optical crystal-made products in the market. You will be able to detect it immediately if a deal turns out to be too good to be true, and it usually is.

At Million Awards, we create top-quality custom-made corporate plaques and trophies in stunning, optical crystal. Every crystal award is an immaculate combination of artful craftsmanship and complete functionality. With more than 200 shapes and sizes of a collection of crystals, or crystal-made trophies and plaques to choose from, you can be sure your design can be made to your exact requirements. Visit us at for bespoke crystal plaques and trophies for your business anniversary or upcoming corporate event today!

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