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Crystal glassware for fine dining and sophisticated cocktails

Posted on by Joanna Maya / Posted in Crystal & Glass, Crystal in Modern Time | Leave a comment

We are having lots of positive energy at the moment, which I wish to share with you. All positive vibes I experienced during our recent photo-shoot for Gurasu Crystal annual Look Book. Do you sometimes experience similar feelings that when something is about to happen you have this amazing intuition that it is going to be great?

On two sunny days in April, a team of talented creatives gathered in a photographic studio of Lydia Evans in Queens Park to shoot the new look book of Gurasu Crystal.

The brief was simple: to keep the look contemporary and simple, but most importantly, to be able to capture the quintessential, British style of a manor house. We were fortunate to work with the natural light on both days in the morning and afternoon and managed to achieve a sense of drama through the use of props, flowers and composition.

birds of paradise coloured crystal glassware

Birds of Paradise Crystal Coloured Glassware

Beautiful, bold surfaces were selected including black marble from Ashlar Mason and fine linen for The Cloth Shop. He linen was crucial to create the look of fine dining expressed by crystal and silver salt and pepper grinders crystal and silver salt and pepper grinders, carafe carafe and tumblers.

limited edition crystal salt and pepper grinders

Gurasu Crystal Fine Breakfast Collection includes salt and pepper grinders, carafe and tumbler

However, the marble, which was set against the opulent-coloured selection of glassware, created the sumptuous “atmosphere” of sophisticated drinking experience full of style and flair.

The background walls were painted in two Farrow & Ball shades of pale grey and prussion blue. We worked closely with Achillea Florists who selected mainly rural but contemporary flowers, which gave the right sense of drama to our mood board.

fine contemporary crystal decanting carafes

Crispy Pale Grey Linen and Shining Star and Diamante Carafes

The final ‘look’ of these two stylings was achieved by adding a selection of “minimal” home accessories by George Jansen and The Conran Shop which delivered much desired, eclectic dimension to the traditional, luxurious British feel of Gurasu Crystal collections.
I hope you like the result.

To shop our crystalware follow the links to Gurasu collections
Shining star collection Shining star collection
Salt and Pepper GrindersSalt and Pepper Grinders
Pineapple Luxe Pineapple Luxe
Birds of Paradise Birds of Paradise

The power of colourful dining: flowers, crystalware and china

Posted on by Joanna Maya / Posted in Crystal in Modern Time, Decor Trends | Leave a comment

Colour is a powerful and versatile decorative tool that can be used in many ways – both tonally and in combination – to create different moods, themes, and effects. A well–dressed table doesn’t have to be grand in style, but the setting should be relevant to the occasion. A simple and fine setting can create intimacy, a feeling of calm and relaxation.

As my house has neutral palette and contemporary decor it work super amazing as a canvas for my coloured, textured crystal.

sky blue crystal glassware

Gurasu Sky Blue Crystal Glassware

Coastal blues

Blue is a colour I associate most strongly with Italy or Greece. It reminds me of the vivid turquoise sea and the cloudless azure sky. Blue is also a colour that features in all styles and periods of tableware, from eighteenth – century Chinese ceramics to blue glass of the early nineteenth century.

My favourite styling with blue would accompany colours of white or pale grey linen with a splash of yellow. Yellow would take a form of a vase placed in the centre filled up with yellow fruits such as lemons, bananas or grapefruits. I would also fill a decanting carafe with water and infuse it with mint, lemon and lime. Flowers would be delicate and simple. Thus, I would use sky blue crystal glasses for water, clear crystal for wine and a large vase in the middle for flowers or lemons. It is up to your imagination whether you use flowers of fruits to decorate. A couple of tea light candle holders in sky blue and clear. I often use tea light holders as bud vases as they look sweet and glamorous.

Burned orange, amber gold

Celebrating the introduction of new piece to our amber gold range of stemware, we would like to say hello to a water tumbler and tea light candle votive tea light candle votive in amber gold. Amber is my favourite hue when I want to create an opulent feel.
Set against dark backgrounds or pale linen accessorise with flowers ranging from yellow to red and burgundy. The vibrant colours of flowers are followed through at different levels – from the tallest vase to a bud vase and some rose petals sprinkled throughout the table.

Jewel shades

Any room lit entirely by candlelight has a magical theatrical feel.
The colours of ruby, amber gold, amethysts are the perfect colour palette to create warm and opulent atmosphere. Flowers such as pink lilies, red roses, purple hydrogen would accompany gold, ruby, and clear glittering crystal table setting. White and crispy linen tablemats placed under beautiful bone china accompanied by silverware will add a style of luxury to this setting.

More to come

Next week we will be styling our next photo shoot and we are looking forward to showing you a couple of more ideas on how to style your home with china and crystal glassware.

Three, crystal clear inspirations for Mother’s Day gift

Posted on by Joanna Maya / Posted in Crystal & Glass, Crystal in Modern Time | Leave a comment

The countdown to Mother’s Day has begun and we’re all looking for the perfect gift to thank and celebrate our mothers. The pressure can leave us reaching for the sensational chocolates, stunning jewellery or finest flowers as we debate the many choices available.

Gurasu Shining Star Lavender crystal tealight candle holder

Gurasu Shining Star Lavender crystal tealight candle holder

I dare to think that thoughtfulness is the most important part of present choosing. Buying a gift that represents your mother’s interests which she can treasure for life or an experience that she can enjoy for a day is the ideal way to combat your gift-planning panic and make your mother smile.

Spending some good old quality time and taking her out for the afternoon tea

Few things are more sophisticated than settling down about 4pm to a meal dedicated to indulgence. That is Afternoon Tea. It should be all about lip-smacking sweetness, crustless sandwiches, freshly-baked, crumbling scones, and, of course, a good cup of tea. Thus, I think this is a fabulous experience to give to your mum. One of the places that I would take her out to is Maison Assouline in Piccadilly Road. The cafe is inside a gallery style shop with various books and artwork. An interior balcony on the first floor overlooks the whole space. A hidden gem in Central London and she will feel very special.

Bringing a warm atmosphere to her home with a crystalware gift

For me of all the ways to decorate a room, candles, candleholders, votives are a personal favourite. This is why I think that Crystal candle tealight holders could prove to be a lovely gift. That’s because they tickle the senses while adding ambience and drama to a room. They bring a sense of occasion to even the most ordinary of moments and remind us that our home is our sanctuary; an oasis of repose. Gone are the days when candles merely served to illuminate your home. Nowadays, they are as decorative as a framed piece of artwork, designed to complement a wide range of styles and personalities.

Taking her out to a super cool exhibition

Fashion and photography fans-mums will enjoy the new Vogue exhibition, Vogue 100: A Century of Style, a glamorous celebration of the magazine’s centenary based at The National Portrait Gallery. The retrospective will cover the last 100 years of the influential fashion glossy and you and mum can peruse early original print magazines, vintage prints, Condé Nast archival material and shots by famous photographers including Mario Testino, Cecil Beaton, David Bailey, Tim Walker and Patrick Demarchelier. A seriously stylish feast for your eyes…
Visit: www.npg.org.uk/whatson/vogue/exhibition

See also our recommendations from 2015 and 2014.

MOTHER’S DAY CRYSTAL GIFTS? DOESN’T YOUR MUM DESERVE SOMETHING PRETTY?

CRYSTAL GLASSWARE GIFTS FOR MOTHER’S DAY

I would love to hear from you what have you planned for Mother’s day.

Trends for 2016 discovered this February

Posted on by Joanna Maya / Posted in Decor Trends | Leave a comment

Undoubtedly, Ambiente is one of the must visit shows for everyone who is a little bit obsessed with the business of Table Top.

We were excited to spend four days there and talk about stunning new collections that we had pleasure to see.

Ambiente trends 2016 collage

One of our favourite tasks each year is to visit design trends and listen to talks and show trips concerning this topic.  And here is what we’ve discovered.

The trends in the consumer goods sector for the forthcoming season are many and varied but mainly original, experimental, futuristic and unconventional. The trends delivered by stilburo bora.herke.palmisano were inspired by recent directions in design, art, fashion and architecture.

Trend No 1 Artisanal Gardening

Inspired by the garden. With warm shades of late summer and original materials, this trend brings nature into home. Artisanal processing and techniques are cultivated. The originality and authenticity of designs remind the times of hippy and folklore. The products are traditionally crafted from linen, ceramic and bamboo, wood.  The search for meaning and value is very clear in this respect as well as the sustainability aspect that is achieved through using natural materials and finishes. Motives of flowers, embroidery, insects and terracotta were highly visible in lighting, stationary and textiles.

Trend No 2 Futuristic Couture

From plastics , plexiglas, to neoprene and metal. A combination of innovative technologies and traditional production methods enables different materials to be turned into decorative and recyclable products. Due to its colour palette, that reminds the most delightful sweet shop, with light blue, quartz pink, lime green , peach and shiny nickel this trend presents hypermodern world with a science fiction character.  Crystal effects, passion for glamour, embroidery and a very detailed designs including, experimental jewellery, cut crystal or acrylic it is a combinations of fake, surreal, objects of luxury.

The image below presents a designer cut crystal collections from Bomma: Stone and Gem as well as crystal lamp Bamboo and Nut which were selected by the trends studio.

Stone and Gem by Bomma

 

Trend No 3 Functional Simplicity

Simple and high quality and unisex this trend is focused on maximising the functional aspect of product. The design was reduced to the minimum with outstanding workmanship. Maximum utility from reduced design. The most seen materials included glass, stainless steel, marble, concrete and rubber with a great attention to detail. The colour palette includes neutral greys, black and white and dark blue. The selection of glassware included Jakub Pollag vase and water decanter as well as food containers made out of delicate glass sealed with a string of rubber.

Trend No 4 Composing Freedom

This trend combines contradictions with an individual touch. It uses unconventional materials such as metal, plastic or artificial fur.

Unconventional fashion trends from the world’s streets bring great freedom also in form of product design. Strong saturated colours presented on a profusion of textiles with detail of artificial fur and metallic details. Contrasts come together to create astonishing combination with an individual feel.

My favourite pieces include the vase from Rosenthal with a pattern of unusual stripes with vivid contrasting colours.

Dare to be bold – the coloured champagne flutes for your wedding

Posted on by Joanna Maya / Posted in Champagne Love Affair, Crystal & Glass | Leave a comment

We would love to be able to tell you about the new project that we are working on. Unfortunately, we promised to stay silent until October this year. A little sneak peek is that we will launch our very new and innovative champagne glasses in collaboration with an exquisite, fine English sparkling wine brand.

Until then, we’ve started preparing for your wedding gift orders. Each year we select the most beautiful wrapping papers and ribbons that we use to gift wrap your presents and send out to the bride and groom to be…

We carefully wrap your preferred choice of glassware, which tend to be crystal wedding champagne flutes and tumblers. With you in mind, we have recently introduced champagne glasses, which are now available in sets of two. The new colours include powder blue and amber gold.

Sky Blue Champagne Glasses, set of 2

SKY BLUE CHAMPAGNE GLASSES, SET OF 2

Planning your wedding day?

While the venue is usually the biggest choice you have to make in your wedding planning, well except from the wedding dress, sometimes there are other details to consider that might come before choosing your colors too. Flowers, table accessories, chair covers. Have you ever through about champagne flutes in your favourite colour? If you’ve always dreamed of having your wedding overflowing with purple orchids maybe you would like to have your toast in purple, crystal toasting flutes?

I firmly believe that glassware plays a big role in the experience of a drink. Many time I’ve been to a new restaurant – an exciting culinary concept or much talked about summer pop up – and ordered a drink that made my taste buds tingle in anticipation, only to find it served in a casual glass. Or a jam jar, as if it was marmalade. While fine crystal flutes are choice of glasses for fizz of young couple, the art -deco style coupe or saucer is the proffered glass for the vintage wedding theme.

Taking both of these types of glasses into consideration from the sparkling wine’s perspective, flutes are popular because they showcase tiny, rising bubbles perfectly – the enduring and visualised appeal of sparkling wine’s power to refresh. The flute also has other advantages: it preserves the effervescence that so easily dissipates in coupes and saucers. It is also much harder to spill your precious bubbles in a flute, while its serving size is ideal for parties. However, its shape doesn’t do justice to fine sparkling wine.

Are you planning for the wedding gift?

Unlike years past, today’s couples want modern twists on the traditional wedding gifts, and the most coveted gifts still hail from the kitchen, dining, bedding, and bath departments. A unique, luxurious crystal wedding champagne flutes that tell the story of brand, promote fine craftsmanship and good design will make for the treasured gift. It will tell the bride and groom that every time they pour this special fizz, you thought of them gifting something beautiful and right up their taste.

For the gift giving etiquette I am recommending you this article as whatever gift you choose, do ensure that this is within the couple’s taste. After all, this is one in a few, if not only, occasion in their lifetime that they can spoil themselves with plenty luxuries…

 

This Valentines Day it is all about bold red crystalware

Posted on by Joanna Maya / Posted in A History Lesson, Crystal & Glass | Leave a comment

The tradition of celebrating Valentine’s Day has many legends. A common one is the story of the priest, St. Valentine, who was martyred in the third century for marrying young couples against the emperor’s decree.
Although, the topic of this post sounds very obvious and the selection of crystalware too, my intention was to explore the reason why red is the most chosen hue for the colour of Valentine’s Day?

Birds of Paradise Champagne Glasses

 

Birds of Paradise Champagne Glasses

Traditionally, we always assumed that red is a colour of love. It’s been accepted that it symbolises energy, passion and deep love.

For instance, red flowers are reserved for intimate, romantic relationships. From earliest times, a red rose has been valued for its fragrance and beauty. Giving a red flower to a friend for Valentine’s Day could send the wrong message and create an awkward situation.

Red Effect on Attraction

However, in 2008 the groundbreaking study conducted by two psychologists, Andrew Elliot and Daniela Niesta, revealed that the color red makes men feel more amorous toward women. And men are unaware of the role the color plays in their attraction.

The research provided the first empirical support for society’s enduring love affair with red. “From the red ochre used in ancient rituals to today’s red hearts on Valentine’s Day, the red colour has been tied to carnal passions and romantic love across cultures and millennia.” However, this study is the only work to scientifically document the effects of red color on behavior in the context of relationships.

Men’s response to red stems from deeper biological roots.
What many women have claimed before, the men affection to red was studied on human and non-human (chimpanzees) and confirmed that it both relates to the sexual context as well as to the overall physical and mental “chemistry” towards females.

Red Crystalware

Thus, by bringing this topic to your attention, it was somehow obvious for me to focus on red crystalware and bring a selection of champagne flutes, wine goblets, tumblers and vases, in this bold and opulent ruby hue, to your attention.

Beautiful flowers can always work well (as does a good bottle of champagne). They are there for a reason. However, we can’t ignore the completely OMG things that we can’t technically afford but really, really want…and for this occasion the red is the only colours to go for.

Most coveted glassware this Valentine’s Day:

RUBY RED WINE CRYSTAL GOBLETS, SET OF 2

RUBY RED WINE CRYSTAL GOBLETS, SET OF 2

Glass and crystalware trends for 2016

Posted on by Joanna Maya / Posted in Crystal in Modern Time, Decor Trends | Leave a comment

First of all, Happy New Year from Gurasu Team and myself.
January and February are always very exciting for me. These months we attend a number of leading design fairs where we meet our colleagues, suppliers and seek inspirations…

Gurasu Shining Star Lavender crystal tealight candle holder

Not long ago I was interviewed for one publication on glassware trends that we will see at shelves of department and independent stores. I wanted to share this with you with a great excitement and announce that crystalware and cut glass is one of the main trends of 2016! My New Year’s wish is to see all our British and European crystal craftsmen having full hands of work, the crystal industry thriving and providing new apprenticeships for our future, home grown glass blowers and glass cutters!

What do we see as emerging glassware trends of 2016?

In 2016 we will see a number of trends that have already emerged in 2015. However, what makes me particularly delighted is the fact that crystalware is coming back in trend. The industry that have suffered a decline over the last 15 years is proving that crafted glass is what people will buy in to. One of the main emerging trends is cut glass. We will see a number of glasses being cut or etched. As Gurasu focuses on maximalist, patterned designs, crystal is a luxurious product that will receive a significant interest. Craft and quality will be key.

The second trend we have already seen in 2015 is ombre effect on glass – whether achieved by sandblasting or engraving. The milky, frosted clear and coloured glasses will be popular in Spring/Summer 2016.

The metallic effect is another trend that we will be seeing in 2016.
We will be very excited to show you our new, made in England collection that will combine copper and crystal…

Finally, the colours which will be dominating shelves are pastel lilac, lavender, blush pink or ruby red as well as deep blue hues including teal, prussian blue and smoke.

So my New Year’s second wish is to see lots of coloured glassware on your beautifully-styled tables in 2016. And remember, the well-dressed table doesn’t have to be grand in style, it is about editing and selecting the right accessories – things that are elegant, appropriate and of good quality.

The history behind five Christmas traditions that we all love

Posted on by Joanna Maya / Posted in A History Lesson, Crystal & Glass | Leave a comment

Christmas is coming. The long awaited break after a busy 2015 is delightfully approaching. Most of us have their table setting sorted. Some have still little time to shop for late Christmas gifs. Others are waiting for the flight to the desired holiday destination.

I love cherishing traditions. This year the Christmas wreath will take a central place on my table, the stockings will hang and 12 traditional meals will be served. The festive time when family and friends unite all by one table.

Ruby decanter and ruby crystal collection

 

Ruby Red Crystal Decanter

 

This week I decided to devote my article to five Christmas traditions that we all love but we may not be entirely sure what is their origin.

Firstly, The 12 Days of Christmas

The 12 days of Christmas is now famous from the song about a person receiving presents for the “true love”.

However, the true is that The 12 Days of Christmas should start on Christmas Day and last until the evening of the 5th January – also known as Twelfth Night. The 12 Days have been celebrated in Europe since before the Middle Ages and were a time of celebration. The 12 Days each traditionally celebrate a feast day for a saint and/or have different celebrations and it is not really, about buying a gift each and every day.

Secondly, The Tradition of Mistletoe at Christmas

There are lots of legends and traditions surrounding mistletoe. The best-known tradition is about the kissing. Hanging mistletoe high in a room and kissing loved ones, or complete strangers, beneath it, is hugely popular Christmas custom.

Thirdly, my favourite Christmas Stockings

Although, Christmas stockings, might have been replaced by a Christmas Tree in many homes, they are still a wonderful decorative and meaningful element to this lovely custom.

The tradition comes from 1800 when they were hanged for St Nichols as a sign that we will soon come.

The legend tells about the widowed father who had three, beautiful daughters. However, he was worried that their poor status will not allow them to get married. St Nichols heard about his circumstances but did not want to offer money as the man would have refused it. Instead, one night, St Nichols slid down the chimney of the family’s house and filled the girls’ recently laundered stockings, which happened to be drying by the fire, with gold coins. And then he disappeared. The family became better off and the daughters could marry.

Nowadays, we fill them with sweets, small presents or oranges which is a symbol of well-being.

Next, Christmas Crackers

The history of Christmas crackers began in 1860. There are many assumptions as to where this tradition comes from but the most truthful to me is the one associated with Tom Smith, a confectioner from London. He travelled to Paris in the 1840s where he was taken with bon-bons, sweets wrapped in a colourful twist of paper. Some time later the crackle of a log in the fireplace of the Smith family home gave him the idea for the snap. After he died, his sons expanded the business with introducing big range of ‘themed’ cracker.

Finally, the Advent wreath

The symbolism of the Advent wreath is beautiful. The Advent wreath is part of the long-standing Catholic tradition. However, the actual origins are uncertain. There is evidence of pre-Christian Germanic peoples using wreathes with lit candles during the cold and dark December days as a sign of hope in the future warm and extended-sunlight days of Spring.

The wreath is made of various evergreens, signifying continuous life. Even these evergreens have a traditional meaning which can be adapted to Catholic faith: The laurel signifies victory over persecution and suffering; pine, holly, and yew, immortality; and cedar, strength and healing.

If you celebrate Christmas, what’s your favourite tradition? Candy canes, pantomime, Christmas Bells or something else completely?

A guide to cocktail glasses

Posted on by Joanna Maya / Posted in Crystal & Glass, My Favourite Cocktails | Leave a comment

With a festive season gaining the biggest attention over the next two weeks, the lead up can be almost as fun as the big day itself.

Amid choosing the presents and planning the food, selecting the drinks is a particularly exciting task, often started months or weeks in advance. As our cocktail glasses are almost selling out, it must be true that a sip of something special at Christmas means a lot to us.

With my recent post on my favourite G&T drink, I have to make sure that there is a bottle (or two) in the cocktail cabinet. I will also ensure that the rest of my family is satisfied too and a bottle of fizz and a Scotch will be in the fridge waiting to be consumed.

As festive drinks take time and energy to create – they deserve a beautiful glass!

I decided to compose a perfect cocktail glass guide to explain and clear any confusion you might have regarding different types of cocktail glasses for different cocktails.

In order to create a show stopping cocktail you will need to play a professional barista. You will need to prepare the cocktail in the “right” glass. So a martini will be served in a martini glass, or so-called “cocktail glass”, “margarita glass” and a Bloody Mary in a highball glass.

TIP: Unless you always serve particular drinks, it makes sense to collect a whole array of glasses from shot glasses to coupes and a variety of tumblers. They don’t have to match – they will draw the attention to the fact that every drink is unique.

A general rule of thumb is, the stronger the drink, the smaller the glass. But, this is also just a guideline.
Let’s investigate various types of glasses available:

 

Highball (long drink) glass; volume of 320 to 400 ml

Highball (long drink) glass; volume of 320 to 400 ml

General uses: Bloody Mary, Mojito or G&T

Shining Star whisky tumbler

 

Double Old Fashioned or Tumbler (short version of the highball) ; volume: 250 to 350 ml

Typical use: drinks with a high proportion of mixer to alcohol. Often, cocktails with whiskey, whiskey on ice or Scotch.

Cocktail inspiration – Ginger Whisky

Fill tumbler with ice. Squeeze in the juice from an orange wedge. Add 25ml blended whisky. Top up with ginger ale ale stir.

Cocktail glass (aka martini glass, martini saucer); volume: 250 ml

Cocktail glass (aka martini glass, martini saucer); volume: 250 ml

This is my favourite glass, as any cocktail looks fabulous in Birds of Paradise glasses. Although, It’s very easy to spill your cocktail due to the glass’ shape, so be careful – this is not the type of glass you want to take onto the dance floor.

TIP: Always handle a glass by its stem (if it has one). This prevents your hand from warming the drink. It also prevents finger-marks on the glass.

Typical use: Martini, of course. Also used for margaritas. . A slight draw back is its small volume content which makes it less suitable for large cocktails with many ingredients. Cocktail inspiration: Espresso Martini. Add a shot of vodka and Kahlua, 10ml of sugar syrup and 25ml espresso to an ice filled cocktails shaker. Strain into chilled martini glasses and garnish with three coffee beans.

 

Champagne flute ; volume: 170 ml – 200 ml

Champagne flute ; volume: 170 ml – 200 ml

Typical uses: anything with champagne and bubbles. The tall shape of the glass helps prevent the drink going flat too fast. It also let bubbles rise slower, giving the best visual effect of the bubbles.

Cocktail inspiration : the classic champagne cocktail
Champagne , Angustura bitters – soaked sugar cube.

This is my favourite cocktail based on champagne. Place a sugar cube in the bottom of a champagne flute. Add two dashes of angostura bitters and fill the glass with champagne. Garnish with a lemon peel for a greater impact.

Shot glass ; volume: 25 ml - 50 ml

 

Shot glass ; volume: 25 ml – 50 ml

Typical use: shooters, designed to be hit back and swallowed in a single gulp.

Cocktail inspiration: Mince Pie vodka

It will require time for vodka to infuse aroma for 7-10 days but the results will be delicious.
Just add golden sultanas, caster sugar, cinnamon stick , cloves and zest of orange and lemon. Mix all ingredients together and pour to a jar to infuse for up to 10 days. Strain and decant into a pretty bottle.

Champagne coupe - volume: 300ml

Champagne coupe – volume: 300ml

Often seen at weddings, this is now a widely used glass for cocktails. In fact, it is totally unsuitable for champagne and drinks with bubbles as it shape results in the bubbles dissipating quickly and the drink going flat. Regardless of it, it is a beautiful glass that is suitable for any mixes drinks including vintage classics such as The Bradshaw or eggnog.

Cocktail inspiration: Eggnog

So retro and homely, is as chic as anything if served in a coupe glass. I favour bourbon or rum over whisky as I believe that whisky’s taste is so significant that adding spices should spoil it. I like adding grated nutmeg, cinnamon, chocolate or orange zest.

Let us help you celebrate the festivities with our range of crystal glassware.

Have a Happy Christmas!

My perfect Gin & Tonic in our Sky Blue High Ball Glass

Posted on by Joanna Maya / Posted in Crystal & Glass, My Favourite Cocktails | Leave a comment

There is something uniquely restorative about gin and tonic. It seems that it tastes always the same and there is no room for disappointment when ordering it. When I am caught in the moment and asked the question by a gentleman (my husband) “what would you like to drink?” – in those indecisive moments – I automatically pop out the answer “Gin & Tonic, please”.

Sky blue crystal high ball glasses

Sky Blue High Ball Glasses

However, despite G&T’s apparent simplicity, it’s often made terribly. The most common are Hendricks, Bombay or Gordon’s and these are often the one served to us on the night out.

So what is the secret of a good G&T?
Is it the spirit, or whether there is not enough ice? Maybe the glass is not right? When all the incorrect ingredients are combined it all spoils the reputation of my most-loved cocktail…

The spirit – Gin
Did you know that there are over 100 independent brands of Gin in England?
England has its reputation and history of making this trunk since 17th century when it reached the English channel, and became well known in Britain after William of Orange took the English throne in 1688. Due to a low taxation, locally produced gin was cheap to make and so, cheap to buy. The popularity of it was impressive.

Jupiter
Gin can be flavoured with a wide range of botanicals but the core ingredient must be Jupiter. The rest is left to different producers.

Recently I have been invited to a club and served the Berkeley Square gin. I soon realised that it is indeed the single malt of gins infused with botanicals including basil, lavender, kaffir lime leaf and sage that are wrapped in muslin and left for 48 hours to infuse its essentials oils. Handcrafted at the oldest distillery in England it became my favourite of all.

As much as my son loves ice cream/hot chocolate parlour in Camden, my husband and I found our glorious place too. In the heart of Camden Lock we came across the micro distillery called Half Hitch. Infused with black tea and bergamot is like a fragrance to my pallets.

The perfect glassware

The perfect glasses are high balls (hi-balls) or in other words Long drink glasses. It is a glass tumbler that contains 280-350 ml and predominantly used to serve highball cocktails and mixed drinks.
For every cocktail to taste great the well-chilled crystal glass is an equivalent to a sommelier tasting wine glass. My ever favourite crystal high ball glass is Sky Blue decorated with the golden berry.

Tonic:
A fresh, crisp tonic is the final secret to achieve the best tasting drink. Forget about the bottle that had been opened two weeks ago and was not consumed since than. It will only spoil the lovely spirit you decided to buy.

Garnish:
Decorating is the final touch, the sensory “wow” factor.
My favourite garnishes include gold berry (Physalis fruit-berry) as on the image, watermelon and lemon with mint.

The rule of thumb is keeping everything cold. Gin and crystalware in the freezer along with a tray full of good ice, and some small bottles of fresh tonic along with garnishes in the fridge.

Recipe:
2 shots (50ml/2oz) frozen gin
Cold tonic water
Sky Blue Crystal High Ball
Cubed ice
Physalis and star anise to garnish

Method:
Fill your high ball with ice, add the gin and slowly top with chilled tonic water. Stir gently then add a straw. Twist the star anise, cut one Physalis in half and add in . The second Physalis use to decorate.

Enjoy and have fun!

7 ways to make your table elegant this Christmas

Posted on by Joanna Maya / Posted in Crystal & Glass | Leave a comment

There are unavoidable moments in life when meals are rushed. Food on the run is unenjoyable. However, drawing attention to living the moment and starting to embrace on small luxuries will make us realise that a single morning coffee can be elevated by pretty china or glassware.

Xmas-2015-dinner-table
Festive celebrations such as Christmas are moments when there is no excuse. We all start to think about decorating our tables. I have already started 😉 Luckily, I have plenty of beautiful crystalware at home.

Invest in some beautiful luxuries that can be used not only for Christmas but every weekend.

China
Most of us use the term china when talking about ceramic tableware regardless of whether it’s made from porcelain, earthenware or stoneware. For a Special celebration, my favourite is bone china. As the name directs, a key ingredient of it is ash from animal bones. This china is pure white and very translucent. It is also very strong as it’s fired in a high temperature.
On my wish list this Christmas there are: House of Hackney mugs for my morning tea, and for a dinnerware, the latest collection called “Arc” by Richard Brandon.

As a focal point use a flat plate, small tray, platter or tile that will bring together all condiments – salt pepper, mint sauce, pickles – whatever you need for that meal.

Crystalware

It is obvious that crystal glassware is meant for fine dining but there is no reason why you can’t use your crystals everyday to add a touch of class to your life

You may already know from my previous posts that crystalware is a terms that refers to leaded glass. If you are planning to host a dinner for family or friends this Christmas you will probably need a minimum of six glasses.

When I was designing the Birds of Paradise collection, I aimed to have a set of glasses in six different colours. I had a purely practical reason in my mind. Guests tend to mix their glasses. With each colour being allocated to one person there is no room for such mistakes.

Crockery
Crockery is an essential. Getting it right will elevate your experience at the table. Solid Silver, silver-plated, stainless steel, or very popular this season – copper or brass – whichever you choose they must match the styling on your table.
How many pieces? A place setting for each person comprises seven pieces – two knives and two forks (for main and starter) a soupspoon, a dessertspoon and a teaspoon. Most sets do not include starter knives and forks so you may need to purchase more standard sets to so you don’t have to wash in between the meals.

Candleholders or tea light candle votives
Candles make any mealtime feel special. We lid a candle every dinner time, even for mid –week suppers. It became a ritual of ours that is ingrained now as putting out the
cutlery. I am against candles based on paraffin – it is true that they release a stronger fragrance however, often they cause a headache. I only use soya/rapeseed or beeswax candles. They will also not interfere with a smell of your delicious food.

Tablecloth & Napkins
The safest colour of  your tablecloth to choose for your set up is neutral.  Weather white, grey or beige – it all depends on what colours of tableware you are planning to display. I have fallen in love with a linen “Lario Petrol” tablecloth by Designers Guild. It is in stinking prussian blue hue but as my glasses are coloured it will make my table setting a theatrical play.

Place card holders
There are plenty of opportunities to add layers of decoration from the simple to the extravagant. Having place card holders on your table is a small detail that makes a difference and shows to your guest that you though about  every detail.

Flowers
Add flowers. Even just a few stems of buds taken from the garden or a Christmas tree will make a massive difference. Keep arrangements low (30cm maximum). Steer clear of powerful scented blooms – you don’t want any fragrance to interfere with your delicious food.

Joanna’s table setting’s colour board for this Christmas:
Wine glasses: Smoke Pineapple wine glasses
Water/juice tumblers: Mixed colours Pineapple tumblers
Tablecloth and napkins: grey/ prussian blue colour scheme
Flowers: Burgundy/green hydrogen and pine tree branches
Candleholders: Shining star votives in lavender and clear crystal
Cutlery: Brass finished
China: White with gold details fine dinnerware

Crystal trophies by Gurasu

Posted on by Gurasu Crystal / Posted in Design Inspiration, Interior & Consumer Shows | Leave a comment

Gosh, this was the night!

Two weeks ago we announced that Gurasu Crystal had been commissioned making trophies for the Independent Hotel Show Awards Ceremony, which took place last week, 20th October.

Gurasu's Independent Hotel Show Awards Ceremony

In its fourth year, the show brought together luxury, boutique and the independent hotel sector delivering an amazing business event.

Gurasu handcrafted trophies for the awards’ ceremony that were handed out to two winners: Jeff Ward of the Gotham Hotel for The Outstanding New Hotel and Olga Polizzi, winner of Independent Hotelier of the year.

Among number of crystal studios we decided to work with the one that had the best expertise in making similar pieces.

The crystal trophy:

Gurasu Trophy for Independent Hotel Show Awards Ceremony

Meticulously designed, beautifully cut and hand painted with gold leaf, transformed into modern, elegant trophies that represented the character of the show. Joanna Maya was influenced by the refreshed brand identity of the show and its new logo.

The trophy had to represent the client’s ethos and style. When you look at it the trophy supposed to bring to your mind this show. At the same time, it had to be unique and surprising. Finally, It had to represent Gurasu’s design aesthetics – a synergy between the past as present. Joanna Maya

The process:

Trophies were hand worked in Bohemia region of the Czech Republic and hand finished in England. Four specialist craftsmen worked for 18 hours to achieve the perfect shape in crystal, cut and clarity to each trophy prior to the pieces being lavishly lustred and finished in gold leaf.

The process of making presentation boxes was commissioned to the London printing studio, which uses traditional, binding techniques and posses a Royal Warrant. The wooden stands were handcrafted by the local craftsman and finished with an engraved Gurasu logo.

Gurasu commissioned to make crystal trophies

Posted on by Gurasu Crystal / Posted in General | Leave a comment

Gurasu Crystal was commissioned to make trophies for the Independent Hotel Show Awards Ceremony on 20-21st October.

Independent Hotel Show is the only forum in the UK bringing together luxury, boutique and independent hotel sector.

Hotel show promo - women in jacuzzi

Gurasu is a London-based crystal design studio set up by Joanna Maya, a young entrepreneur with a passion for fine crystalware.

Behind the exquisite tableware, which adorns stylish hotels and homes across the UK is a passion to keep the craft of crystal making alive.

By championing the best of Britain’s young crystalware designers to hand cut their designs in England and Czech Republic using traditional techniques, Gurasu aims to offer luxury collections that bring a fresh maximalist aesthetic to modern interiors.

Gurasu handcrafted two trophies for the Event’s awards ceremony that will be handed out to the winner of the Independent Hotelier category and The Outstanding New Hotel in the evening of 20th October.

The project was very complicated due to the shape, which had to be achieved with lead crystal. Gurasu has been working with the best studios across Europe to make its trophies.

Look out for the next post with Images and more information about the craftsmanship process.

Follow the conversation on Twitter #IHS15

Why Choose Crystal as a Gift?

Posted on by Joanna Maya / Posted in Crystal & Glass, Decor Trends | Leave a comment

I thought that writing a piece on this topic is just right in time when everyone is slowly starting to plan what to get as a Christmas gift.

Joanna Maya with Gurasu Crystal Display

Crystal products can be put in several categories, respective of their use – drinkware, tableware, giftware, art glass, interior decorations, lighting etc.

Regardless of their use, all of the listed crystal products are distinguished for their colour clarity and material purity, as well as their transparency.

If you decide to buy a crystal gift you should consider what type of gift will serve this person’s personality the most. Here are some keywords you may want to use when searching for this perfect present.

 

Gurasu Crystal Collection on Display

DRINKWARE AND TABLEWARE

Drinkware or beverage is a general term for a vessel intended to contain beverages or liquid foods for consumption.
When it comes to style, the choice is endless. Patterned or plain? Coloured or clear? And that is even before you have decided which type of glasses this special person will most enjoy drinking from.

TUMBLERS

Are flat-bottomed drinking glasses, for example: highball glass, for mixed drinks, iced tea or juice glass, double old fashioned, shot glass.

GOBLET

Is a universal name for a stem glass, mostly used for wine incl. Chardonnay, Burgundy, Bordeaux … There is a variety of different stems, depending on their use: champagne flute, champagne coupe also known as champagne saucer – has a wide shallow bowl. Cocktail glass or martini glass with a wide, shallow bowl, cordial, a stem glass for ice cream, sherry glass or a sniffer – for brandy or cognac.
My advice: cocktail glasses and champagne coupes are perfect for these mini desserts too. Shot glasses can be commandeered for use at parties to serve tiny portions of soups or mousse.

Among barware we also find sake cups, tea cups, pitchers, decanter, ice buckets, beer glasses, bottle stoppers etc.

Crystal tableware complements drinkware – serving plates, serving bowls, cake plates jars, napkin rings, vases, candleholders, coasters etc.

GIFTWARE

Crystal giftware is a reliable choice uniting appreciated and popular designs. Aesthetic perfection yet functionality have enabled them to enter many homes, business offices and become gifts of choice for various occasions.

Giftware includes everything we present our friends, family, business partners or ourselves.
Vases: Think of the smallest bud vases for single stems, vases for bouquets, large footed vases that make a statement on their own.

Bowls: from small confetti bowls, which are popular as giveaways for weddings, to bowls that make a perfect centrepiece on a table, footed fruit bowls, small nut bowls, keepsake bowls.

Lighting: including lamps and crystal candle tea light holders also known as votives. These decorations will prove very helpful for someone who likes raising the bar and makes a special effort with the table. For me candles are the absolute must for dining at night. I light the candle pretty much every mealtime.

When thinking about buying crystalware try not to consider this as a “formal” gift. As there is a clear shift toward craftsmanship and quality, everyone will appreciate the effort and the luxury that you wanted him/her to experience for life.

Q&A – lead vs lead free and what makes crystal special and luxurious?

Posted on by Gurasu Crystal / Posted in Crystal & Glass | Leave a comment

If a potential customer comes to our website it means that he or she is in pursuit of fine crystalware. She/He either looks for a special gift or crystal glasses for themselves. We decided to put together a new post interviewing our founder, Joanna Maya to answer questions we sometimes are asked. Namely, what is fine crystalware? Which factors distinguish one brand from another and what is the difference between lead and not lead crystal.

Rainbow Ruby Crystal Collection

Q: What is a crystal and how is it different from glass?

JM: Crystal is one of the most precious materials, just after diamonds, gold or precious stones. It is essentially a leaded glass. According to an European guidance you can call a crystal, only glass which contains at least 24% of lead. Many manufacturers or retailers call fine glass a crystal even though it has less than 24% lead. However, the truth is that any glass that contains over 10% lead but less than 24% should be called a crystal glass or fine glass. If you therefore, intend to buy crystal ware check on the packaging whether and how much lead it contains.

Q: Why is it important for a crystal to have 24% of lead or over?

If a customer is interested in buying lead crystal, and not lead-free glass, which is really a matter of personal preferences, the 24% of lead in crystal is the optimum percentage for weight, durability and clarity. There are still factories who do 30% lead crystal and this type of product is called full lead crystal. Lead content makes the crystal dense, providing a much higher index of light refraction than normal glass, and consequently much greater sparkle, exceptional colour and brilliance.

Q: What is a lead free crystal and does something like this exists?

Well, as I mentioned above the only glass that can be called crystal is if it contains 24% or over. If a crystal is called lead free it means that it simply should not be called so. It should be called crystal glass. This is governed by the EU directive which states which type of glass is and can be called crystal.
A so-called “lead free crystal” is essentially fine crystal glass without the lead content. On this occasion lead is substituted with another ingredient for instance, zinc, barium and potassium to allow the piece being heavy, transparent and possible to be hand cut or engraved.

Q: Is lead crystal more luxurious than lead free?

The lack of lead does not mean that the product is less luxurious – It is a matter of personal choice.
We need to remember that luxurious product is a make of craftsmanship. In one of my previous posts I was investigating what is a luxurious product and contemplating on the exhibition I had seen in V&A “ What is luxury”. I stated that during this exhibition one of examples of luxurious product was a set of six engraved crystal glasses. The value of each was justified by a number of dots engraved. This was a reference to the time, precision and craftsmanship devoted to engrave each one on a thin crystal glass. The maker of fine glassware commits himself to refining skills, inventing techniques, challenging conventions and creating the unbelievable. Therefore, whether the piece is machine blown or hand blown, hand cut or hand decorated, how many hours craftsmen spend on the production of one piece.

Q: Often on a label we see a crystal is blown, hand cut or pressed? What does this
terminology stand for?

There are different ways of glass blowing. Of course I don’t consider discussing machine blowing or, recently a 3d printing on glass, which is outside the scope of this discussion. On a high production scale a crystal can be machine made by pressing or blowing. This does not involve glass blowing by a craftsman.

Q: Why one crystal glass is more expensive than another?

There are many factors that can justify the price. As I mentioned above, it depends on the amount of craft put into production of each piece. How has the piece been finished, whether it’s been hand cut, hand engraves, whether the colour is in the glass, between two layers of it or hand painted. How well known is the brand. Whether the piece is a designer piece or not. However, it is important to mention that when one crystal piece is significantly cheaper than another usually it was machine made. Also, often the country of origin is the factor behind the price too.
I would recommend, to read about the brand, what are the brand’s values and check if the piece is handmade, hand cut or hand engraved before purchasing crystal.

A short lesson on wine tasting

Posted on by Joanna Maya / Posted in A History Lesson | Leave a comment

Lately I presented you with the perfect type of wine glass and what it should possess to benefit your experience with wine. This week I would love to focus on how to taste wine.

Discovering what the wine world has to offer should be delicious fun. Often in restaurants however, we may feel confused about what to do when the waiter hands us the glass with wine to taste.
A few skills can help you take charge of the wine experience and it definitely does not have to be though using pretentious prose.

KLASIK Red wine small

Klasik Red Wine Crystal Glass, set of 2, 300ml

Wine’s most fundamental qualities can be identified by taking one sense at a time.

Thus, the goal is to isolate and amplify the impact of wine’s sensory experience – colours, scents and flavours – in order to distinguish one wine from another.

The waiter should pour the glass with one third of a wine glass. Hold the glass by the top of its stem – never by the bowl – unless the wine is too cold and you want to warm it with hands (this should not really take place in any good restaurant).

Look at the wine – what colour it has? How deep it is? Is it showing signs of browning with age? The depth of color, gives a clue to the density and saturation of the wine. (Saturation is related with the amount of oxygen in wine)*

* When wine is exposed to excessive amounts of air, some of the alcohol becomes oxidized. The colour of the wine becomes deeper, and the wine takes on a sherry-like characteristic. Although prized in sherry wines, these oxidized smells and flavours are considered major flaws in table wines.

Swirl the wine in the glass – making a swirl is important to smell the wine better. Swirling increases the wine’s surface area, which in turn boosts its rate of evaporation and aromatic intensity.
*Notice if the wine forms “legs” or “tears” that run down the sides of the glass. Wines that have strong legs are wines with more alcohol and glycerin content, which generally indicates that they are bigger, riper, more mouth-filling and dense than those that do not.

Sniff the wine deeply – smells is the main sense used in wine tasting so sniffing wine before tasting is an essential step. Dip your nose in to the glass and take two to three sniffs. Try to interpret the aroma, how intense the smell is? Can you smell fruits, herbs, vegetable, spices or perhaps an oak barrel?

Sip the wine – take a slightly larger sip than usual. Instead of swallowing immediately, take 3-5 seconds, letting it coat your tongue, cheeks and palate.

Swish it around – by swishing it like a mouthwash, you dramatically intensify the sensory perception of taste, smell. Well. I ma not sure if you would like to do this in the restaurant as this is clearly a step for a serious aficionados.

Savour – wine taste does not disappear after your taste it – its aftertaste for a minute or more allowing you to think about it and make your judgement.
Aside from simply identifying flavors, you are also using your taste buds to determine if the wine is balanced, harmonious, complex, evolved, and complete.

Well, some of you may ask if mere drinking wine is worth the trouble of trying to explore it. I would say that playing with wine and trying to asses and judge it is a fun exercise – it’s like with whiskey or food tasting – the more you passionate about life the more you want to explore and learn about it…

If you wish to explore wine tasting in detail, here’s what I came across during my research which I found very informative and fun to read.

In the meantime, from today until next week I would love to feed you with some interesting tips and facts about the wine on our social networks including Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+. I will be delighted to welcome you there.

The considered design of whisky glasses

Posted on by Joanna Maya / Posted in Crystal & Glass | Leave a comment

As a woman, I find it challenging to befriend whisky. Not saying that women cannot enjoy it. I know many who do but still I know there are fewer than men. Although, my husband is passionate about this dram, I tend to leave the sniffing and tasting to the New Year’s Eve while I am in Scotland. After all, this drinking business is meant to be fun. So, I keep this moment only for very special occasions.
Icebreaker whisky tumblers

 

Icebreaker whiskey tumblers by Iskos & Berlin


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The origin of champagne – is French champagne the best?

Posted on by Joanna Maya / Posted in A History Lesson, Champagne Love Affair | Leave a comment

It is traditionally considered that sparkling wine was invented by the French Benedictine monk and cellar master, Dom Pierre Perignon in Champagne around 1697. Controversially, however, the English winemakers including Ridgeview claim that a Gloucester doctor, called Christopher Merret, recorded a recipe for a Champagne-style drink some 20 years before Dom Perignon.

Gurasu Champagne Flutes and Decanters

Is the French champagne the best?


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The three glasses for champagne

Posted on by Joanna Maya / Posted in Champagne Love Affair, Crystal & Glass | Leave a comment

I firmly believe that glassware plays a big role in the experience of a drink. Many times I’ve been to a new restaurant – an exciting culinary concept or much talked about summer pop up – and ordered a drink that made my taste buds tingle in anticipation, only to find it served in a tumbler. Or a jam jar. As if it were marmalade.

When it comes to champagne, the glass is even more crucial, not just in terms of aesthetics but the effect on the wine too. It’s important to understand the different options, whether you’re a French champagne nut or exploring the exciting new breed of British sparkling wines like those from the Nyetimber estate in Sussex.

Of course, now that Wimbledon has arrived, there is even more cause to seek out the perfect glass from which to enjoy a crisp mouthful in the sunshine and, hopefully, toast another British victory. So, what are the options?

Birds of Paradise Crystal Champagne Flutes

Birds of Paradise Crystal Champagne Flutes, set of 6

 

Champagne flute


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Special and unique crystal glass is a gift to treasure for your dad.

Posted on by Joanna Maya / Posted in Crystal & Glass | Leave a comment

A unique, handmade and luxurious crystal glass is a lifelong gift. It tells your dad that every time he pours himself a drink, whether it’s a fine whiskey or brandy, fills the carafe or serves his favourite chocolate brownies on his serving dish, that his kids thought enough of him to give him something beautiful and right up his taste.

Your Dad might be box-sized and shaped, he might fulfill the stereotype in everyone else’s eyes, but you know better. You know that he is as far from fitting into the box as you are. I would recommend buying him something which shows his individuality and we will pop it into a box for you! I selected for you our bestselling and favourite glasses of our clients as well as my favourite which are far from being ordinary crystal.

The studio Iskos & Berlin combined aesthetics of a traditional cut tumbler with a modernized twist resulting with the winning contemporary finish.

The bestselling design is from Bomma called Icebreaker.

Icebreaker whisky tumblers

 

Icebreaker whiskey tumblers by Iskos & Berlin


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A cocktail glass perfect for enjoying The Ascot Meeting 2015 in glamour

Posted on by Joanna Maya / Posted in A History Lesson, My Favourite Cocktails | Leave a comment

With racing season underway The Royal Meeting is the event under my investigation this week

Royal Ascot has it all! Having been the world’s most famous race meeting, it was founded in 1711 by Queen Anne. Although the traditional name is Royal Ascot you should really call it “The Royal Meeting”.

Ascot cocktail glass

A cocktail glass perfect for enjoying The Ascot Meeting 2015 in glamour 


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The Royal Tea with crystal champagne glasses

Posted on by Joanna Maya / Posted in A History Lesson, Champagne Love Affair, Crystal & Glass | Leave a comment

There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea.

Henry James

Few things are more decadent than settling down about 4pm to a meal dedicated to indulgence. That is the Royal Afternoon Tea.

Gurasu Champagne Flutes Abbey Hotel in Bath

Gurasu Fluorescence Champagne Flutes

Yes, we all have heard about a creamy teas and afternoon teas. The ‘Royal Tea’ is a less widely used term signifying the addition of a glass of champagne to a traditional Afternoon Tea.


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What is luxury for me?

Posted on by Joanna Maya / Posted in Design Inspiration | Leave a comment

The idea for my topic, without doubt, was inspired by the recent curator’s talk of the new exhibition in V&A museum “What is Luxury”. I was looking forward for almost two months for its release as my passion for craftsmanship and luxuries products has always been unquestionable in my mind.

The exhibition investigated the luxury at the deeper context of this world. Far from superficial shopping plazas which are more hyperbolic, market – driven it asks a visitors questions about the emotions about emotions and passions that make us human.

Luxury afternoon champagne

What is a luxury does not possess a straightforward answer. It is a relative concept for most of us.
I was amazed by the selection of pieces during a journey through the exhibition’s themes and concepts including opulence and exclusivity, pleasure and preciousness, precision and expertise, innovation and rarity, authenticity and inauthenticity.


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Rhubarb Mojitos – the cocktail of distinction for your extravagant garden party

Posted on by Joanna Maya / Posted in A History Lesson, My Favourite Cocktails | Leave a comment

Mixing cocktails has become one of my favourite creative outlets as of recent years, so I couldn’t resist using some seasonal beauties as an inspiration for my cocktail of tonight.

Rhubarb Mojito

Rhubarb Cocktail Tonight

You may or may not know that May is the season of Rhubarb which is one of my favourite ingredients for pies and juices and so and they call for a celebration! Why not to take advantage of what English spring has to offer and apply to my ever favourite mojito.

Cocktail History
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Do Champagne Flutes Really Make A Difference?

Posted on by Joanna Maya / Posted in Champagne Love Affair, Crystal in Modern Time | Leave a comment

We have attended glamorous parties where we have been served fabulous champagne in the most ordinary glasses. We have also been to evening events where crystal champagne flutes were polished to perfection, laced with raspberries and filled with the best of champagne.

Aurora Champagne Flute, set of 6

Aurora Champagne Flutes

Yes… the subsequent looked fantastic and made you feel special. Still some of my friends ask me if crystal champagne flutes are necessary. When the cork is popped and years of delicate aromas and flavours are released, does it really make a difference what glass you are using?


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Colourful Easter table

Posted on by Joanna Maya / Posted in Decor Trends | Leave a comment

Whether it’s your first time hosting Easter lunch or your 20th time, everyone can use some fresh inspirations. And when you ask me why should you style your table with crystal rather than pressed glass I would say that it is all about little luxuries that counts which make a huge impact on whether your table is elegant and sophisticated or just casual.

Gurasu Shining Star Lavender crystal tealight candle holder


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Spring events – London favourites

Posted on by Joanna Maya / Posted in General | Leave a comment

Spring has sprung! The new season might not officially kick off until late March, but the days are noticeably longer and warmer already. So, we have decided that it’s time to get out and about and enjoy the warmer weather with our favourite London Spring events. (And should those infamous April showers strike, we have a few indoor options for rainy day play, too).

Show with angel wings

Shoe with angel wings

 

1. Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty


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International Women Day – #PaintItPurple

Posted on by Joanna Maya / Posted in Design Inspiration | Leave a comment

To celebrate International Women’s Day, I am sparing a thought for the women who, as a female designer and entrepreneur, I found intriguing and inspirational. I strongly believe that each of us needs strong female role models to personally progress – women we can relate to and understand, women just like us, who have overcome difficulties and hardships, who’ve survived and achieved.

#paintitpurple women's day hashtag banner

What I found the most inspirational in women that I interviewed are optimism and a desire to follow certain passions with a hope of fulfilling the mission. They have many attributes in common that made me call them successful. They are perfectionist, hard-working and ambitious and never give up…

Diana Van Nieto – the CEO and founder of Positive Luxury seems that she has achieved a lot. However, she says it did not come with an ease.
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Crystal Glassware Gifts for Mother’s Day

Posted on by Joanna Maya / Posted in Crystal & Glass, General | Leave a comment

The countdown to Mother’s Day has begun and we’re all looking for the perfect gift to thank and celebrate our mothers. The pressure can leave us reaching for the sensational chocolates, stunning jewellery or finest flowers as we debate the many choices available.

Citrine crystal wine goblet

I dare to think that thoughtfulness is the most important part of present choosing. Buying a gift that represents your mother’s interests or one that she can enjoy for many years to come is the ideal way to combat your gift-buying panic and make your mother smile.

Crystalware full gift range
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Crystal in Boutique Hotels

Posted on by Gurasu Crystal / Posted in Crystal in Modern Time | Leave a comment

Crystal works beautifully in the home, but how can a hotel incorporate it as successfully?

We talked about the impact of crystal in home design in the new year, but what about interiors that have to appeal to a lot of people? We’re finding more and more boutique hotels contacting us for advice on incorporating pieces of crystal into their spaces.

Whether it’s a classic glassware set for the bar, a statement piece for a lobby or drawing room, or decorative elements for the dining room, hotels are beginning to think about the subtle effect these pieces can have in a public space.

SOLID crystal centrepiece by Olgoj Chorchoj

 

SOLID crystal centrepiece by Olgoj Chorchoj


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Valentine’s Day Gift Edit from Gurasu Crystal

Posted on by Joanna Maya / Posted in Crystal & Glass | Leave a comment

Unless you want to be that person who shows up to a Valentine’s dinner with carnations and a heart-shaped box of chocolate, you need a thoughtful, one-of-a-kind gift to show your No. 1 you really care. ..

Beautiful flowers can always work well (as does a good bottle of champagne). They are there for a reason. However, we can’t ignore the completely OMG things that we can’t technically afford but really, really want…

Valentine’s Day could be this perfect time to spoil your No. 1 for the fine, luxury glasses.

With a curated selection of raspberry, fashionable lilac, ruby, black and smoke-shade crystal glasses wrap up your valentines gift in a beautiful paper (leave this with us) and surprise with an item of luxury.

Gurasu smoke Shining star Crystal tumbler

Shining Star Tumbler in Smoke, set of 2
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Maison and Glass Objects – Maison & Objet 2015

Posted on by Joanna Maya / Posted in Decor Trends, Design Inspiration | Leave a comment

I love going to Maison & Objet not only because it is a Mecca for all passionistas of best interior where everyone breathes the same atmosphere but also because it is an invaluable experience to see brands I have always admired like Lalique and Baccarat, Ligne Roset, Missoni Home and many more.

This is the place you go and you officially know what will be trending in interior retail. Like the Spring/Summer catwalk shows of the fashion world, Maison et Objet January’s exhibition sets the interior trends for the year. Celebrating its 20th anniversary, this was a year I would dare not to miss. One of my favourite quotes at Maison…

Love my little day - Joanna at Maison & Objet

Of course we are always interested in the tabletop the most. So to summarise, there are our reflections on trends shown this year:

1. Tabletop
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SS15 trend report – bringing fashion into the home

Posted on by Joanna Maya / Posted in Design Inspiration | Leave a comment

Everyone has a style. Whether you know it or not, what you like, what you wear, and what you surround yourself with all tie into an aesthetic that is uniquely you. Maybe you love neutrals – your wardrobe is a capsule collection of classic cuts and colours; your home is full of elegant pieces that beautifully complement one another.

Glass Mount crystal bowl by Arik Levy

Glass Mount crystal bowl by Arik Levy


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Gurasu Exclusive – Salt and pepper grinders

Posted on by Joanna Maya / Posted in Crystal in Modern Time, Design Inspiration | Leave a comment

A shimmer of light, glinting from perfectly cut facets, a bold splash of colour, rich against the clear crystal; a contemporary design given form and structure using traditional hand-crafted techniques. This is exquisitely designed crystal tableware and I am very excited to make it now available in limited quantities at Gurasu for the luxurious, exclusive gift.

Salt and pepper black and white crystal

Black and White Crystal Salt and Pepper Grinders, pair


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Colourful New Year resolutions – Gurasu colour

Posted on by Joanna Maya / Posted in Crystal & Glass | Leave a comment

New Year is approaching and with it the sense of dread that can only mean one thing – time to think about your New Year resolution…

According to Forbes, only 8% of us keep our resolutions, partly because we challenge ourselves too much, or pick things that we just can’t feasibly achieve. Well, we have an idea for something we can all do – be brave. It doesn’t have to mean skydiving or trekking the Amazon, it can mean small things like trying a new skill, or stepping outside of your comfort zone.

Raspberry Pink set of six high ball glasses

For example – let’s think about colour. Colour frightens a lot of people. It’s bold, its daring and it can be overbearing. It’s fine for celebrations, and we love it at Christmas, but the rest of the year – it’s a bit nerve-wracking. But this time why not keep a little of that Christmas cheer into the new year and start experimenting with more colour in the home?

Interior designer and famous fan of brights, Jonathan Adler, told Telegraph readers to ‘choose one accent colour to add to the room’ – choose a tint or a shade and introduce it through accessories: a cushion here, a decoration there, a pattern or print that ties it all together, ’everywhere you look there should be a place for your eye to rest – on a cushion or vase, or a bowl full of lemons or limes’.

And it doesn’t have to come from traditional sources. It can be completely individual. Will Taylor, the man behind interiors blog Bright Bazaar encourages us all to feel free to experiment. He told the LA Times that we should ‘take yourself outside of your home to naturally find the palette that speaks to you. Maybe it’s a colour scheme in an artwork. Or maybe it’s something that has a personal memory for you like your wedding day. Your personal stories are significant things that you can call on to bring coluor in to your home and make you feel comfortable.

Taylor goes on to explain that we should introduce colour slowly, experimenting with what we like and what works in the space. Start with neutrals and add in your brights. Or choose a few colours and add in some contrast, mixing solid pieces with patterns, and adding pretty accessories like glassware or prints. The Gurasu coloured crystal collections are deliberately multi-hued, bringing a bright but sophisticated accent to any room. We love to mix and match, adding a sense of elegant anarchy to a colour scheme. It’s not something to be afraid of, its something to celebrate.

What are your New Year resolutions? And how do you introduce colour into your interiors?

Begining of Christmas season at Queens Parade

Posted on by Joanna Maya / Posted in General | Leave a comment

Dear Friends of Gurasu Crystal. I have to admit that I am looking forward to our very special Christmas event this Friday, 12th December.

We are collaborating with David Gee, the local Mapesbury artist. His ceramic centrepieces and bowls beautifully handmade in his studio are second to none. I am indeed very excited to showcase his latest collection here at Gurasu Concept store.

David’s pieces including bowls and platters remind me of decorative creations of flora and fauna you can find when travelling the world. He produces one-off pieces, using white earthenware clay, decorated with coloured slips, oxides and under-glazes covered in a range of coloured or transparent glazes.

Green Ceramic Platter

The whole event will be accompanied by amazing flute musician, Jemma Freestone this time performing in a duo with bassoonist, Gareth Hamphreys.

Jemma and Gareth are very talented musicians who won a number of reputable awards and I am delighted to have such skilled artists in Gurasu’s shop. Very much looking forward to their recital!

If it was not enough, I am doubled pleased because I now have the opportunity to give back this Christmas season so David and I decided to make our contribution to the local charity Ashford Place. 10% will be passed to the charity for every purchase we make during this event!

Schedule:

6pm – glass of champagne and a welcome talk delivered by Gurasu’s creative director Joanna Maya

6.15-7.15pm – recital of Jemma Freestone and Gareth Hamphreys

The evolution of Champagne

Posted on by Joanna Maya / Posted in A History Lesson, Champagne Love Affair | Leave a comment

As the festive season gets well and truly underway, we look at where everyone’s favourite celebratory drink comes from and how it should be served.

‘Pop!’ It’s the ubiquitous sound of New Year celebrations cross the world, the firing of a Champagne cork and the effervescing of the bubbles from the bottle. But what exactly is Champagne, why do we drink it to celebrate – and what exactly should we be drinking it from?

Fluorescent Champagne Flutes

Fluorescent Champagne Flutes

Origin of Champagne

In its most simple definition, Champagne is a sparkling wine from the Champagne region of France. If it doesn’t come from Champagne, it’s not Champagne, it’s sparkling wine. It begins like other wine: grapes are harvested, pressed and fermented. Where Champagne differs is that it also undergoes a second fermentation stage, giving it its characteristic bubbles and sweetness.

Initially, these bubbles were seen as a flaw in the wine-making process, which could result in unpredictable explosions in the cellar. That is until a certain Benedictine monk, Dom Pérignon, came onto the scene. He implemented production methods and materials that would reduce the number of explosions, experimenting with different grape blends and turning Champagne into a desirable drink rather than an accident waiting to happen.

It quickly became the drink of choice for European aristocrats, associated with coronations and celebrations, and by the 18th century, its place at the table was established.

History of Champagne glasses

Initially, it was served in coupes – wide, flat glasses (also known as champagne saucers). The shape of the glass allowed the bubbles to dissipate more quickly and prevented the aromas fully developing. At the time, this was seen as an advantage, as too much fizz was considered undesirable. The glass also allowed the opulant court of Marie Antoinette to dip their cakes into the drink (although contrary to rumour, the glass was not modelled on the Antoinette’s left breast…)

The coupe stuck around for centuries, and is an icon of the Gatsby-esq glamour of the ’20s and ’30s. However, as the 20th century progressed, glass fashions changed. 70% of taste is acquired through smell, so it seemed a waste to loose those aromas, and a shame to loose the bubbles that gave Champagne its individual style. And so the flute was born. The tall, slim glass allowed the bubbles to remain, and there were even designs which manipulated them for increased aesthetic effect.

To flute or not to flute

However, the aroma was still being lost. While most of us probably drink Champagne from flutes, those in the know are switching to either wine glasses, or specially-designed Champagne glasses which resemble wine glasses or tulips. The wide base allows the aroma to develop, while the narrower lip and tall sides funnel the bubbles and smell towards the drinker. This coincides with a change in attitude towards the beverage, with more people considering Champagne as a serious wine, rather than a frivilous aperitif. It’s a win-win situation for drinkers and Champane-makers alike.

However you choose to enjoy your festive season, don’t forget to check out the Gurasu Champagne flutes and wine glasses for a colourful crystal Christmas.

 

 

Here are some of our favourites

Bomma Dots Champagne Bowl 190ml, set of 2

 

Bomma Dots Champagne Bowl 190 ml

Bomma Gem Champagne Flute 210ml, set of 2

 

Bomma Gem Champagne Flute 210 ml

Black Friday Weekend: 15% Off Everything Starts Now

Posted on by Joanna Maya / Posted in Crystal in Modern Time | Leave a comment

15% OFF LIMITED TIME ONLY

Celebrate Black Friday weekend with 15% off everything and FREE delivery on all orders

Ends at midnight Monday 1st December

Enter BLACK15 at Checkout

Gurasu Black Friday Promo

Although promotions are unusual in the luxury industry the truth is that Black Friday is right around the corner. To prove that we are not “too-posh” here at Gurasu we would love to treat you with a 15% discount and Free delivery from 7am 28th November until 1st December midnight too.

What is the Black Friday?

The modern definition: “Black Friday” is the day immediately following the Thanksgiving Day holiday in the United States, which falls on the fourth Thursday of November. It’s an unofficial commencement for the holiday shopping season. The interesting fact is that many employers give their employees a day off to enjoy the shopping spree. Hmm… should this apply to the UK too..?

However, according to another source the real definition of Black Friday comes from the phenomenon of a horrendous traffic which happened straight after the Thanksgiving in the mid 20th century. Before traffic lights, traffic police were the way that traffic was regulated. Nowadays, the traffic police are required to direct motorists during these especially congested moments all day due to crowds of shoppers.

Why Gurasu is in? We just want to give you an opportunity to indulge in luxury.

Gurasu’s top five exhibitions in London this winter

Posted on by Joanna Maya / Posted in General | Leave a comment

Escape the Christmas crowds with our insider guide to some of November’s best exhibitions

London is an amazing city. We love it. A city at the forefront of fashion, yet with its own innate individuality; somewhere that shouts contemporary spirit amid ancient buildings and streets of history; a place where Michelin-starred restaurants sit next to classic cafes. And it’s no secret that it offers some of the best shopping in the world. That’s why, come Christmas, the streets are thronged with crowds looking for the perfect gift.

Fisherman In The Lagoon Moonlight By Turner

Fisherman In The Lagoon – Moonlight

Image Credit www.tate.org.uk

But sometimes retail therapy isn’t enough – you simply have to escape those crowds and find a spot for some serious R&R. One option, of course is shopping online. Another is to take a break in the heart of town, a few hours of peace and contemplation. The perfect spot for these secret moments? A museum or gallery. There is nothing better than peppering the Christmas madness with a trip to one of London’s exceptional exhibitions, so we have picked our top five to help you find your own inner calm.

1. WILDLIFE PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR

This annual treat of an exhibition opens every autumn at the Natural History Museum, displaying that year’s very best wildlife photography. 2014 is the 50th anniversary, and historic images will be displayed alongside this year’s winners. Intimate animal portraits, incredible still lives and action shots, beautifully technical or creatively imagined – the talent and vision on display is spectacular. Plus the subject is a real crowd-pleaser and appeals to all ages, meaning you can keep the kids in tow without any moaning.

Natural History Museum
Until 30 August 2015

2. GRAYSON PERRY: WHO ARE YOU?

The National Portrait Museum is always a treat; wandering between its famous faces is a lesson in who’s who throughout history. From society portraits to commemorative pieces, each one executed with talent and creativity. However, at the moment, there is an additional surprise in store for visitors. Turner Prize-winning artist Grayson Perry has interspersed 14 new portraits amidst the classic and contemporary collections, portraying 21st-century subjects and asking the question: who is worth commemorating in this day and age, who represents our identity and country, and what does it mean to be British? It’s a fascinating insight into our changing times and an easy way to introduce yourself to Perry’s sometimes kitschy aesthetic.

National Portrait Museum
Until 15 March 2015

3. LATE TURNER: PAINTING SET FREE

Coinciding with Timothy Spall’s representation of the landscape painter in the film, Mr Turner, the Tate Britain is hosting a collection of the Turner’s later paintings. Exploring how his style changed as he aged, and how infirmity and illness affected his technique, the exhibition is an exploration of both a body of work, an the actual physical skill behind it. It’s an interesting angle, and one which adds a personal dimension to some stunning paintings.

Tate Britain
Until 25 January 2015

4. COLLECTING HISTORY: THE FOUNDERS OF THE WALLACE COLLECTION

Rather than focussing on one artist or genre, this fascinating exhibition details the creation of a collection – the Wallace Collection, housed at Hertford House, Manchester Square [Link to Google maps]. It tells the story of the Seymour-Conway Family and the paintings, sculptures and objets that they amassed over five generations. Letters, photographs and even art are employed to lead visitors through the family history, introducing the collectors and those around them who helped them to collect. An insight into not only one of the best preserved formerly-private collections in the city, but also into the people behind them and their personal and contemporary tastes.

Wallace Collection, Hertford House
Until 15 February 2015

5. WOMEN FASHION POWER

We’re pretty sure that alongside the games and books there are more than a few items of clothing on your Christmas lists. Whether you are buying for yourself or someone else, find inspiration at the Design Museum. Women Fashion Power looks at the wardrobes of 25 influential women, from Margaret Thatcher to Vivienne Westwood. Each woman has contributed one outfit, and the exhibition considers them as both tools of self-expression and power. It’s not only an interesting statement on the place of fashion in politics, art and society, but also a fantastic display of some of the most iconic outfits of our times.

Design Museum
Until 26 April 2016

Joanna’s top Christmas present ideas

Posted on by Joanna Maya / Posted in Design Inspiration, General | Leave a comment

The leaves are falling, the evenings are darkening and thoughts are turning towards Christmas.

As November gets underway, it is time to start planning the festive season and the gifting that goes with it. We’ve taken look at some of our other favourite London brands to find inspiration…

Glass Mount crystal bowl by Arik Levy

Glass mount bowl 365 BOMMA_f_Kristina_Hrabetova

For Her: POLLY WALES: London-based jeweller Polly Wales is inspired by antique treasures and ethnic adornments to create striking, organic designs. She uses a process called ‘lost wax casting’ which yields completely individual pieces, with the stones seeming to emerge from the precious metals they are embedded within. A stack of her delicate halo rings, paired with a chunkier constellation ring, is a lovely seasonal accessory.

MYLA: Beautifully crafted in an Italian atelier and tailored to gently enhance and flatter the body’s natural curves, Myla silk sleepwear is an indulgent way to ignore the cold and stay in bed. The brand’s iconic Isabella range has beautifully cut babydoll, camisole and robe sets, and the new AW14 collection pairs tactile velvets, tulle and delicate lace with on-trend metallic embroidery and innovative tailoring to strike just the right balance between elegance and allure.

PENHALIGONS: The classic British fragrance house, Penhaligons, has done it again this season with a selection of enticing and interesting fragrances. We think ‘Lothair’, with its refreshing and seasonal notes of grapefruit and juniper paired with green fig leaf, is a great Christmas scent.

ANYA HINDMARCH BESPOKE: We love Anya Hindmarch’s designs – elegant with a twist, injecting fun and personality into classic leather tailoring. Add a special touch for a loved one with her bespoke service: initials or a handwritten message or drawing embossed on her signature French calf leather.

For Him

BILL AMBERG: Bill Amberg is known for his men’s accessories – fun designs brilliantly crafted. The stylish backpacks and messenger bags are perfect for teens or young men who want to cut a dash, but we really covet the new Bridle Rocket, which adds a little individuality into formal wear with its unusual briefcase shape.

SMYTHSON / MARBY AND ELM: What to get the person who has everything? We are always fans of personalised stationary – it is the kind of thing no one buys for themselves. Smythson is the famous name, with a selection of classy, minimalist designs, but Marby and Elm is an excellent boutique alternative, with personal service and some interesting ideas, all printed on a vintage press in Clerkenwell.

For Kids and Teens

HUNTER: Traditionally associated with Wellington boots and practical outdoor wear, Hunter have stealthily entered the world of fashion, with some impressive collections emerging over the past few seasons. Their dedication to quality and durability remains the same, adding weatherproofing and interesting material and rubber accents to everyday wear. We love the high-heeled boots, in leather or rubber, paired with the sleek, fitted down jackets, to add a bit of dash to your splashing.

CARAMEL BABY & CHILD: Long-acclaimed for their beautiful infant clothing, Caramel Baby & Child have launched a lovely new winter collection. Our favourites are the brushed cotton ‘Willow’ dress. Snug and soft, it has pretty embroidery down the front and would look lovely for a festive gathering. If you’re searching for something for a new arrival, they also have baby gift sets, including adorable striped mittens and hats or merino wool jacket and bootie combinations.

For Pets:

MUNGO & MAUD: Let’s not forget Fido this festive season… Mungo & Maud have lovely pet clothing and accessories crafted in traditional fabrics. We think the ‘Good Dog’ treat jar filled with their organic granola dog treats would be the perfect gift for man’s best friend, while his feline counterparts can snug down for Christmas day in the Corduroy Hideaway bed.

Twist Crystal Whiskey Set

From Gurasu: And of course, we have some lovely gifts at Gurasu, from a minimalist whiskey set, Twist Crystal Whiskey Set, to elaborately coloured and engraved decanters Rainbow Olive Green Decanter. Bright hues also make our Birds of Paradise glassware sets a lovely festive addition to the Christmas meal, while the Glass Mount bowls by Arik Levy  are an architectural centrepiece to grace the most elegant table.

Birds of Paradise Crystal Cocktail Glasses, set of 6

Rainbow Olive Green Decanter

The gift of wonder this November

Posted on by Joanna Maya / Posted in Decor Trends, General | Leave a comment

Winter is the time to spoil yourself and your loved ones, so this year, at Gurasu we decided to create the most irresistible smaller gifts of luxury in a form of sets of two #setoftwo If your tastes run to sparkle, there are crystal glasses galore – from the jewellery-like and vibrant Birds of Paradise tumblers – the most loved product by our clientèle – or the set of two wine glasses to choose from.

Come and meet us at Country Living’s Christmas Fair in London

Country living fair London banner

On 15th of November take a look at our website to find out the pineapple tumblers in the most magnificent, newly-launched colours of crystals including aubergine, lavender, amber gold or sky blue. If you are always tempted by pink sapphire our raspberry hue is coming to our showroom too. So, please enquire or browse our crystal gurasu heaven…

Emerald Crystal High Ball Glasses, set of 6

Chic and elegant, raspberry is a princess among others. With a distinct nod to tradition which embraces a modern happiness and vigorous lifestyle, the collection of Birds of Paradise includes stemware and barware in a mix of colours. It invites the curation of modern “friends and family” drinking experience, which interplays between proportion, weight and size.

Crystal tumbler in raspberry

While for those who always succumb to retail shopping galore, there are the most beautiful destinations to start your treasure hunt for your Christmas gift. The top-quality Country Living Magazine’s Christmas Fair or the open air Belgravia Christmas Market. At both events we will have a pleasure of meeting our lovely loyal and new customers.

Emerald Crystal High Ball Glasses, set of 6

Highlighted by a bold emerald green hue, these stunning high ball glasses make a stylish choice for serving juices, gin and tonics or other long mixed drinks.

Emerald green high ball

The Christmas shopping experience is always enchanting is you choose the right places to shop and here we want you to spoil yourself with crystal at most fashionable, jewel-like crystal ware for your truly magical Christmas table. So start with a set of two tumblers for your best-friend, a crystal votive in amber gold for your mum, and end up with a set of emerald high ball crystal glasses for those unforgettable moments by your Christmas table.
Love
Joanna Maya

Contemporary design inspired by classic craftsmanship

Posted on by Joanna Maya / Posted in A History Lesson, Design Inspiration | Leave a comment

Hand made in countries famous from the best crystalware, each piece of Gurasu crystal represents generations of exquisite craftsmanship, combined with contemporary design for a modern, elegant finish

Man working hot glass

Gurasu Crystal is known for its contemporary flair – a modern take on classic crystal elegance. However, each piece is still crafted using an age-old process, with hours of skilled work going into every step of the process.

Our crystal is produced in the Czech Republic, Poland and Germany most of it is entirely handmade by local artisans who have been working with crystal for generations – says Joanna Maya. Glass and crystal production in Czech Republic has its origins in the 13th century, in the Lusatian Mountains of north Bohemia.

For centuries, this has been the centre of the industry, supplying demand from the finest houses and palaces of Europe. Production has changed little and the Czech Republic is still known as the home of some of the finest crystal in the world.

Glass factory production line

Taking the production to the Czech Republic doesn’t just make aesthetic sense, it is also part of the story of Gurasu. Founder Joanna Maya has been fascinated by crystal since childhood, when she would watch the blowers on family trips to the mountainside.

Mountains are the source of crystal and this is the reason why all factories were situated surrounded by them.  Wanting to preserve this beautiful craft, she established Gurasu in London what now enables her to collaborate with the best, aspiring, British artists on new designs.

London is the most amazing and inspirational design city and I am proud to live and developing the crystal brand here, surrounded by the best design talent! – says Joanna.

Production begins with the raw materials, heated to 2640 degrees Celsius. Historically, crystal was shaped by glassblowing the mixture by mouth and this is still the most valued technique in the industry.

Four specialist glassblowers are required for each piece of Gurasu crystal, dipping the blowpipe into the heated glass mixture and shaping it either by hand turning the pipe or blowing it gently into a carefully-crafted mold. Once it has been shaped, the piece is set to cool. A glass can cool within a few hours, but larger pieces can take several days.

Women working hot glass

Exquisite cut separates beautiful crystal from good crystal. Our craftsmen spend a further eight hours achieving the perfect cut and clarity, by hand and by cutters who understand that each design must be meticulously and finely etched using a two stage process.

It is a painstaking process, but one that produces the sharpest cuts. Once cut, the crystal is delicately coloured and polished by hand to bring out the brilliance and sharpness of the design.

Learn more about the traditions behind Gurasu in A History Lesson category.

What makes a good cocktail?

Posted on by Joanna Maya / Posted in A History Lesson | Leave a comment

The best cocktails mixologists don’t just focus on the ingredients. We talk to London’s finest to find out how the glass is just as important as what goes into it.

Birds of Paradise Crystal Cocktail Glasses, set of 6

17th Century England

The origin of the cocktail is one of constant dispute, however, hard liquors began to appear in England from the 17th century, and by the mid-nineteenth, the first cocktail recipe book had been printed, by one Jerry Thomas in the United States. Safe to say, since then, the mixing of spirits to create delicious drinks has been incredibly popular, with ever newer and more outrageous creations invented behind bars across the world.

Drinking Habits and Seasons

While everyone has their favourite, our general tastes shift as the seasons turn. According to Rachel Crozier-Clucas, Bar Manager of Hawksmoor Seven Dials, as the weather gets colder.

Tastes leans towards more ‘comforting’ drinks. The flip makes a reappearance, with the eggy, creamy drinks lending itself to scarf and hat weather. Hot cocktails become popular, especially as an arrival drink. Buttered rum is a firm favourite, although a few years ago I tried a buttered gin that was also astoundingly good.

Presentation is  Vital

And the presentation is important. According to Rachel, we don’t just eat with our eyes, we drink with them too.

People do make assumptions about a drink based on the way it is presented. A Martini served in a chilled cocktail glass, not overly filled and with an attractive garnish is a recognisable and attractive serve. A Tiki mug definitely gives some indication that the cocktail it contains is more than likely rum based and exotic.

Form Follows Function

And it isn’t just aesthetic.

Choosing the right glass for a cocktail can seem like a difficult decision, especially considering the number of options available. It all comes down to what will be going into it. A cold straight up drink, such as a Daiquiri, will benefit from a cocktail or coupette glass as the stem will stop the liquid becoming warm when the glass is held. A delicate, fragrant cocktail will be presented best in a sherry glass, the fluted sides will act as a funnel for the aromas while drinking, enhancing the overall experience. A drink such as an Old Fashioned, containing ice, will work best in a rocks glass as there is enough space for the liquid to move around and release aromas.

We hope you have enjoyed this post and would love you to read more of our posts on A History Lesson.

Autumn/Winter 2014: From the Catwalk to the Home

Posted on by Joanna Maya / Posted in Decor Trends, Design Inspiration | Leave a comment

The worlds of interior design and fashion often cross with each other, blending to create beauty in both the way we dress and the way we live. Autumn/Winter 2014 is no different, and we are seeing styles that have been successful on the catwalk become big in interior design. Here, we take a look at three of the biggest trends this season:

tropical home decor room and model shot

Image credit – Design lovers

1. Geometric Prints

Echoing the look of the 1960s and mod subculture, geometric prints are the ultimate in style and have been used by many designers this season. So, how can we take this trend into the home? You may be adventurous and use a bold geometric print on your wall, however, there are plenty of ways to bring in the shapes more subtly. Try using them when furnishing a room e.g. using a circular lamp in your living room. Dining rooms are also perfect for geometric shapes. Choose crystal whisky tumblers or original bourbon glasses for strong shapes that act as a unique, statement feature within the room.

2. The Natural World

Nature is everywhere on the catwalk and in homes for AW14. From leafy prints and mysterious florals to bird feathers and tropical animals, your home can really become the jungle! It’s easy to buy accessories and fabrics that are patterned with natural prints. However, if you want to bring something different to your rooms, try connecting nature and luxury. Juxtapose peacock- printed plates with luxurious crystal wine glasses or floral printed fabrics in the bedroom with an opulent chandelier. The opposing looks will produce a design that is unique and guaranteed to impress.

3. Blocks and Blues

This season sees colour blocks of all forms on the catwalk. From neutral caramels and whites to all shades of this season’s colour, blue. Whether it’s navy, midnight, pastel or royal, blue has been everywhere on the catwalk. It’s also a calming colour to use in your home. Try coloured wine glasses in different shades, unusual navy furnishings or delicate baby blue fabrics in the bedroom for three unique ways to use blue. As for colour blocks, choose two or three colours and use them in any room for a dramatic and eye-popping effect.

Experimenting with fashions and being inspired by catwalk trends will guarantee you and your home are always in vogue. Have the courage to be creative and give your home the same care you give your wardrobe!

We hope you have enjoyed this post and would love to read more of our post on design inspirations and decor trends.

Six Occasions When To Use Crystal Glassware

Posted on by Joanna Maya / Posted in Crystal & Glass, Crystal in Modern Time | Leave a comment

As a beautiful and sophisticated choice, crystal glassware is the perfect way to create an impressive setting at your dinner table. The opulence and style associated with fine glassware makes it ideal for special occasions when ordinary glass just isn’t enough.

Here, we take a look at six occasions when we can use crystal glassware:

 

Alfresco dining table with salad bowl


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Joanna Maya on how to keep the crystalware en vogue

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The Gurasu Crystal founder and creative director Joanna Maya on her dream to transform the way we think about crystal.

 

Birds of Paradise Cocktail glass

Birds of Paradise Cocktail glass

Crystal glassware has always been regarded as something special and treasured and until recently it was not something that was used as an everyday item. In recent years, that perception has changed as cheap, machine-made crystal entered mainstream retail and Internet stores. For the classic crystal manufacturers such as St Lambert in Holland this has led to a decade of struggle. Manufacturers have found it hard to find craftsmen with hand-cutting skills, leading to a decline across the entire industry.
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Making Colour Exhibition – The National Gallery

Posted on by Joanna Maya / Posted in A History Lesson, Design Inspiration | Leave a comment

It is worth seeing…

Luxury is a great patron of the arts. Perhaps not as intense in the past as it is in the present, the luxury became the driving force behind art in the economic world. As much as I am fascinated by luxury I am interested in artistic masterpieces too. Thus, I was delighted to discover the most recent exhibition at The National Gallery in London and tell you my perspective in the nutshell.

As the press release states the exhibition called “Making Colour”, is the first exhibition of its kind in the UK. It invites the viewer to an artistic and scientific voyage of discovery. From sparkling minerals to crushed insects by an interactive display that introduces a new world of contemporary scientific thought colour. Apparently, work on this subject has long been a specialism of the Gallery’s internationally recognised Scientific Department.

Wikiart - Pierre Auguste  Renoir - The Seine At Asnieres The Skiff

Wikiart – Pierre Auguste  Renoir – The Seine At Asnieres The Skiff
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An interview with Founder and Creative Director Joanna Maya

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Joanna Matyjaszczuk, the founder and creative director of Gurasu Crystal keeps setting up new trends in crystalware. Her design style’s secret? It must reflect on the past but live in the now.

 

 

Birds of Paradise Crystal Collection Banner

Birds of Paradise Crystal Collection

 

 

What was the reason you decided to form Gurasu Crystal?

My desire was to produce beautiful and timeless objects designed to enrich everyday lives through the use of artisanal skills of crystal craftsmen and craftswomen. The problem, I realised is that for the past decade crystalware was considered as an object too luxurious and traditional to meet the expectations of our modern lives.
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The culture of drinking beer in a glass

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Travel back in history and open your mind to 1980’s Great Britain. The tradition of drinking beer in a pint glass has changed over the last three decades. Since 1920’s drinking beer was synonym of a glass with a handle called a tankard, in other words, a jug.

In 1970’s this well – known tradition of drinking from a dimpled pint pots which some of you remember from episodes of Emmerdale was replaced with a straight glass.

Beer Glasses, set of 2

The main reason was that it felt more appropriate to drink lager from the conical.
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Wedding dresses as design inspiration

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Last Monday, as a member of my favourite, Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A), I was invited to attend the special members evening to enjoy the exhibition with a glass of champagne accompanied by a beautiful and delicate rhythm of a live music.

Joanna in wedding dress with hair stylist

With hair stylist before the big moment

However, it was not for a glass of champagne, although always my preferred companion to anything related to celebration, nor for the live music. My desire was to escape for a moment from the drawing desk of Gurasu and to contemplate on something intellectual. I was curious to find how the relationship between design and protest of different sorts influenced the ways people have created objects with a specific purpose – sometimes for effect, sometimes to communicate, often both.
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Gurasu meets Prezola the leading wedding gift list

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Many of us might have wandered around John Lewis when choosing gifts for either ours or our loved one’s wedding list. So did I. Until I have discovered something even better, it’s called Prezola, the leading wedding gift list online service.

A couple of weeks ago we were delighted to learn that Prezola was interested in inviting Gurasu Crystal to their crystal ware brands portfolio.

Wedding gift banner

The platform is very sophisticated and accessible at the same time. Sophisticated because couples can create a list of items for family and friends to choose from the most desired pieces out of a cool 30.000 products from leading brands. Accessible because all those items you have fantasized about are available from the comfort of their own armchair!

For Gurasu Crystal it is essential to be on such a platform as most of our crystal glasses or interior accessories are bought as a special wedding gift. Being a relatively new brand on crystal arena allows us to give our customers more trust and credibility in our brand. Once they decide to purchase from Gurasu, we can start surprising and exceeding their expectations.

Our collections at Prezola include all our bestselling coloured crystal ranges such as Birds of Paradise, Pure Lux or Pineapple as well as Dots crystal votives and empery candlesticks. If you however, cannot find the item on Prezola, they will talk to us and organize desired piece for you!

We would of course be more than happy to find you the perfect crystalware wedding gift from our vast and growing collection.

Summer Saturdays at Gurasu Crystal

Posted on by Joanna Maya / Posted in Crystal & Glass | Leave a comment

I have to truly admit that I am looking forward to our next Summer Saturdays event which Queens Parade, the super trendy shopping destination of Willesden Green High Street, is organizing.

The event runs every first Saturday of each month and this time, we promise, the event will be worth of your visit.

For this Saturday, 5th of July, we invited a stunning flute musician, Jemma Freestone to play in our boutique store at Unit 1 of Queens Parade.

Jemma is a very talented flautist who won a number of reputable awards and we are delighted to have such a skilled artist in our Gurasu shop.

Joanna May and Maciej Matyjasczuk

The idea for inviting Gemma came from a desire to combine classical music and crystalware so that these two can complement each other. For me both crystalware and classical music connect people in a very special way. We don’t listen to classical music and we don’t drink champagne from a crystal glass every day. However, when we do, they make us feel happy, inspired and uplifted. It affects our mood in all kinds of infinite ways and creates unforgettable moments.

We very much would like to welcome you at 4.30pm with a recital by Jemma Freestone over a glass of champagne – in crystal glass, of course.

Love

Joanna May

Founder & Creative Director

Patterned wine glasses – a history

Posted on by Joanna Maya / Posted in A History Lesson, Confessions of a Wine Glass Lover | Leave a comment

The earliest examples of the modern style patterned glass (also known as “pressed glass” or “pattern glass”) come from the United States at around 1850. These items were cheaply manufactured and made from patterns which were widely available to hundreds of manufacturers and these items were very popular with the masses. In fact, by the early part of the 20th century, these glass items became known as “depression glass” showing the simplicity and inexpensive nature they had.

Frantisek Vizner Crystal Large Bowl


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Dad’s don’t fit into boxes, but we know what does

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What is a Dad? Is he someone who goes out to work and brings home the bacon? Does he like to play sports or just sit on the couch and watch it? Is he someone who heads to the pub or has a few beers at home? Maybe he is the person you turn to when you need good advice or the man who you hold up as an example for all the men in your life. Your Dad is just that – your Dad. He is who he is and he can’t be defined.

Birds of Paradise Crystal Red Wine

Birds of Paradise Crystal Red Wine Crystal Goblets, set of 6


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How to clean and take care of your crystal

Posted on by Joanna Maya / Posted in Crystal & Glass, Crystal in Modern Time | Leave a comment

You wait for the delivery man to knock at the door, you carefully unpack your gorgeous crystal glasses, vase or bowl and you cannot help but admire how beautiful it is. It twinkles in the sunlight, the colours pop and your home is greatly enhanced by having such a gorgeous item in it. But one of these days, your crystal is going to need cleaning and this might be one of the aspects of owning crystal which you never even thought about.

Dune Crystal Bowl


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The glamour of Italian fashion

Posted on by Joanna Maya / Posted in General | Leave a comment

Last week I decided to visit Victoria & Albert curated exhibition. The Glamour of Italian Fashion 1945 – 2014

Italian fashion header

Image credit – V&A The Glamour of Italian Fashion Exhibition

When exploring all the marvellous costumes, the attention to detail and skill of a craftsman which was applied to each piece of garment, I was thinking how I could relate the topic of Italian fashion to crystal. When designing new collections, quite often, I take inspirations from objects which surround me. Very often the exhibitions I go to have a strong impact on a mix of particular colours or shapes used in the collection.
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Your home is your temple

Posted on by Joanna Maya / Posted in Decor Trends | Leave a comment

Your home is your temple…

We often say that my body is my temple – isn’t it? One will interpret this powerful statement and follow its true meaning which says that your body is a temple of Holy Spirit. Another can say that your body is your temple so we need to start looking after what we eat and how much attention we give to it. When analysing this famous saying  a clear conclusion came to my mind. Shouldn’t we also start considering our home as our temple?

SOLID crystal centrepiece by Olgoj Chorchoj


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