China from England has always has a special cache and continues to reign supreme, especially recently following the grand spectacle of the Royal Wedding. The rest of the world has also done well, giving us Lenox in the US, Limoges in France, Rosenthal in Germany, Royal Copenhagen in Denmark, Noritake in Japan and Herend in Hungary, but it's hard to compete with the powerhouses such as Wedgwood, Royal Doulton, Royal Crown Derby, Royal Albert, Minton, Staffodshire, Spode and myriad others.
But that dominance may be restricted to china and china alone. Sure, all of the English companies mentioned above produce crystal, but they don't have quiet the same level of excellence in crystal and glass products. Crystal appears to be more diverse with such long time stalwarts such as Waterford in Ireland, Baccarat, Lalique, St. Louis in France competing with relative newcomers such as Varga in Hungary, Portieux in France and William Yeoward in the US for recognition as the style and trendsetters in the field.
It's hard to pinpoint exactly the reasons why, although the very different history of crystal vis-a-vis that of china may have much to do with it. Be that as it may, the savvy consumer may want to broaden the scope of his/her search for the “right” crystal pattern to those that mat be further afield. Your table may end up looking like a veritable UN when you set it with Jammet Seignolles china (France), Varga crystal (Hungary) and Lenox flatware (US), but who says that's a bad thing? It definitely helps with the conversation, especially with foreign guests, so why not give it a try? 🙂