Is Colorful Glassware the New Crystal?

There's a place for both on the table.

Open Kitchen and Dining Room with Round Table and Pops of Purple and Green
Photo: Hector Manuel Sanchez; Styling: Kathleen Varner

Colorful glassware is not a new thing—it's been popular since the 1920s, when the world started embracing rosy-hued Depression glass, and has long been a treasure scored at vintage shops and stored in china cabinets at home. But, it wasn't until more recently—notably, when Estelle glassware became a nationwide sensation last summer— that colorful glassware became a staple on dinner tables, bar carts, and on wedding registries.

Personally, I am well into collecting my third color way of Estelle glasses (in lime green and two different, but important shades of pink). Colorful glassware has become a favorite treat-myself gift for me, as well as a go-to gift for friends and couples-to-be. Just yesterday, my best friend passed the Bar, so I dropped off a set of the blue martini glasses with a note that said, "Congrats on passing the bar!" (Get it?) While shopping, I also decided to buy a set for a hostess gift later next month, and considered another for a bridal shower this weekend. And, no, this isn't a new obsession for me or a fad I'm into just for the moment.

Last May, when my childhood friend got married, I gave her a gift I would give again today. She had registered for crystal, but instead of merely "adding to cart," I created my own mix-and-match set of Estelle wine glasses to perfectly coordinate with the China pattern on her registry. (Yes, I went off-registry, but I was an editor at Brides for eight years, so I've given myself permission.) My aunt and mother may disown me for saying this, but buying her crystal didn't even cross my mind. It was on the registry, sure, but it just didn't sound as exciting of a gift to me, the gift-giver. Obviously, the bride asked for the crystal, so she wanted it, but she also loved my off-registry stemware, too. And somebody bought the crystal.

In thinking about this, I decided to poll some of my friends who are newlyweds for their opinions on colored glassware versus crystal. Did they register for colored glassware, crystal, or both? The overwhelming answer: Both—and they're glad they did.

Take my friend Rebecca Magner Patrick, who got married in St. Augustine, Florida, in April 2021. She and her husband, Jack, registered for both crystal and colored glassware. For crystal, they asked for crystal double old fashioned glasses, water glasses, and a decanter, all by Waterford. For colorful glassware, Rebecca ended up choosing the Estelle colored glass coupes. "I felt they would liven up even the simplest tablescape," she says. "There's also something so fun about the coupe shape for cocktails and martinis—not just Champagne."

When creating their registry, Rebecca says she envisioned fun, creative dinner parties and didn't want anything to feel "overly stuffy." "I love how the colored glasses can dress up my everyday china but it doesn't take itself too seriously when I pull out my Herend," she adds. "My husband uses the old fashioned glasses and I use my Estelle glasses (sometimes, with just Kombucha) almost every evening, but I wouldn't have used a crystal wine glass except on special occasions. I think we made the right call."

I'd have to agree—in fact, my one (!!) newlywed friend who registered for crystal but not colored glassware got a set of blue wine glasses off-registry, and she's even glad she did. They are Tar Heel Blue for UNC, her alma mater.

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