Val Saint Lambert in Liege, Belgium is actually the name of an ancient abbey. It was purchased in 1826 by two Frenchmen who turned it into a crystal making factory. Over the years the Val Saint Lambert crystal became famous and the factory reached it nadir just shortly before WWI. At its peak the factory actually made more than 160,000 crystal items a day. It also employed close to 5,000 people. The old abbey is currently being renovated.
The most notable thing about the Val Saint Lambert crystal was its superb purity and stunning brilliance. Unfortunately the Depression of the 1930's changed everything. Money became scarce and people stopped buying crystal because it was considered a luxury. Sales plummeted and the Belgian government subsidized the factory until 1987, but it never was able to resume its former glory. What happened next is a bit of a success story. One of the factory managers bought the place and turned it around. It now makes 1,400 different crystal items from vases to ash trays. Val Saint Lambert can be toured and you can see a demonstration of glass blowing and crystal engraving. Their showroom is quite stunning as well. Don't miss the museum on the grounds. It features a collection of ancient crystal from all over the world.
Address: Rue de Val 245, Seraing, B-4100, Belgium
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