Friday, September 3, 2010

Kwarx Wine Glasses

I don't know about you, but I break an awful lot of wine glasses. We use wine glasses frequently, not every day but more often than not. I prefer to buy cheaper glass ones rather than pricey crystal because at least when they do break, you can say 'it was only £2' or something.

Crystal IS stronger, but that doesn't help if the glass is dropped. They aren't good in the dishwasher either. Most of the glasses we break are a result of putting them in/taking the out of the dishwasher (if they actually fit) or from hurriedly washing them by hand, and knocking them against the tap or just being too forceful with them.

I also prefer the classic tulip shape, and in the smaller white wine size. I feel stupid with a 750 ml balloon red wine glass, and they take up too much room for storage. Cheap wine glasses aren't easy to find in that shape - they are either a ridiculous half-sphere shape or made of absurdly shaped faux-crystal cut glass. Most annoying are the glasses that have thick rims that don't angle inwards, causing wine to splash out when you want to swirl and sniff. Plastic isn't an option - it kills the nose.

I bought a set of 6 tulip shaped white wine glasses just before Christmas last year. They were about £15 for the set, and they are all broken. Before that was a set of the Sainsbury's Chardonnay glasses. All broken. They were all quite thin glass (but the right shape!). This obviously isn't sustainable (and yes, perhaps I'm a bit rough with them), and I need another solution. The choices are either expensive, tougher crystal glasses, or....Kwarx.

Kwarx is a glass material that is supposed to have 3 qualities: strength, transparency, and the ability to endure almost endless washes without any degradation in colour (i.e. not turning white or cloudy after a few goes in the dishwasher). I found out about it after reading this article. The article is dated 2006, but I swear I only read it a few months ago in an RSS feed...not sure what happened there. The real attraction is the strength - they are marketed as 'unbreakable', and if you read the Decanter article I've just linked to (sorry if the link breaks), or watch the demonstration here, it's possible to drop the glass from 40 cm onto a table top and it won't break. This is just the thing I need.

Anyways, I googled Kwarx looking for somewhere that stocks these glasses in the UK. The (homeware?) site Torquato is selling sets of them for pretty reasonable prices. I ordered a set of what was advertised as '34 cl white wine glasses' for £34.90. This might seem expensive, but it's only really just under £6 a glass, and if they do what they say, it's worth it. Oddly, after I placed my order, the item on the website disappeared and a remaining one which looked exactly the same (only listed as 35 cl) is available for only £24.90. It might have been there and in my excitement to place the order I just didn't notice it.

So, I've had my Kwarx glasses for about a week and a half, and they've seen moderate use. No breakage, no cracks and no chips. They've been in the dishwasher almost every night, and look great. These are obviously early days, but it's looking good. I can't bring myself to actually drop them on the table, or clang them together with too much force - they really don't seem any different to glass or crystal, and I have a hard time believing they won't break (and I have to pay for this stuff myself). However, if they stand the test of time and live up to their billing, I really don't see any reason at all to ever buy anything else. Will keep you posted....


13 comments:

  1. If you search for "cabernet tulipe" you will find 35cl kwarx glasses for £16 for 6 - have not yet tried but now will.PS enjoy your blog v. much

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  2. Hi Stefan,

    You're right - they're available from Amazon.co.uk via Drinkstuff.com. Looks like I didn't look hard enough eh? It's because the Google search doesn't turn them up when you just search for 'Kwarx'. At least I know where I'll be getting my next ones from...:-) Thanks for that.

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  3. Kwarx - a strangely charming name...

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  4. Tim, iBood have ripped off your blog in their current advert:

    http://www.ibood.com/uk/en/product_specs/8825/Kahla_Set_of_12_Kwar_Glasses_that_keep_their_shine_and_remain_transparent_forever/

    Quote: "More information
    Do you use wine glasses frequently, not every day but more often than not? And do you, like us, also break an awful lot of them? We don't know about you, but most of the glasses we break are a result of putting them in or taking them out of the dishwasher, if they actually fit, or from hurriedly washing them by hand, knocking them against the tap or just being too forceful with them. Maybe that is because we buy cheaper glasses instead of pricey crystal because at least when they do brak you can say 'oh never mind, it was cheap anyways'. We definitely need a better solution and the choices are either expensive, tougher crystal glasses, or....Kwarx. Kwarx is a revolutionary new glass material that is supposed to have 3 qualities: strength, transparency, and the ability to endure almost endless washes without any degradation in colour like not turning white or cloudy after a few goes in the dishwasher. The real attraction is the strength though since they are 35% less breakable, so it's possible to drop the glass from 40 cm onto a table top and it won't break. This iBOOD with 4 white whine, 4 red whine and 4 waterglasses is just the thing we need!"

    Sound familiar?

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  5. Hi,

    Thanks for alerting me to this. They aren't the first to do this either. Someone on a Wordpress blog ripped off every post, and my complaints went unanswered. Not sure what I can do about it.

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  6. Tim,
    I don't know if you shop at Tesco (I usually try to avoid the place), but they have a promotion on; when you spend £20 you receive a token, collect 5 tokens and you can buy a set of 4 Royal Worcester Kwarx glasses from £3.99 (i.e. 70% off regular price). The range goes from tumblers to wine glasses and a decanter.
    Could be a good deal for regular Tesco shoppers.
    Regards
    Paresh

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  7. Reading this after finding a hunt on IBOOD. Now the question is. How many glasses did you break since? :)

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  8. Ibood have used your write up again! It did lead me here but surely you have copyright on what you've wrote And they can't just steal it?

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  9. http://ie-en.forum.ibood.com/17200-kahla_set_of_12_kwar_glasses_that_keep_their_shine_and_remain_transparent_forever/

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  10. I got here because my two out of four Kwarx glasses are broken one in washing one from drop and I am currently looking for replacement. They were looking good as you say so I will try to buy them again but... they DO break ;) so you would not have to try ;)

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    Replies
    1. May I ask if these glasses where the original kwarx or were they glasses that had included kwarx technology so to speak. I have found the ones with kwarx technology not too different to normal crystal glass strength

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  11. To add to the dialogue: New Zealand 'Countdown' supermarkets have just finished a promo thing for a variety of these glasses. Your post has convinced me to pay a little extra and get another set (didn't have quite enough tokens for two). They certainly seem very fine and clear.
    I have had some of my posts copied in various places, too. Copyright is going to be an increasing problem on t'interclacken.

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  12. We got 4 sets of these glasses from the Countdown promo. Both the tall tumblers and the shorter ones. We have had them for sometime and they are now starting to "pop" into pieces. We handwash everything in our house and we are very careful with our glassware. But for some reason recently the second the glass hits the water, they are popping chunks off from the top of the glass. And no, the water isn't too hot. It's annoying because they are nice looking glasses. Just a shame they can't tolerate everyday use. We are now down 4 glasses.

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