What You Should Know About Bacarrat

Baccarat (pronounced bakra) is the slow-moving casino table game that is portrayed as sophisticated and glamorous in James Bond movies. In reality, baccarat is a simple game of chance that requires no skill and offers the best odds in the casino. But if you want to play with the best of them, there are certain rules you should know.

Baccarat was founded in the mid-18th Century by a Catholic bishop, Louis-Joseph de Laval-Montmorency, who wanted to establish a prestigious artistic workshop in his diocese. At first, Baccarat’s production consisted of windows, mirrors and items of tableware. But in the 19th Century, Baccarat exploded onto the world stage with its opulent crystal glassware. In 1855 the company won its first gold medal at the Paris Exposition Universelle for a pair of monumental, 90-light candelabras. This would be the start of a long line of commissioned works for French monarchs and heads of state.

In the 1860s, Baccarat’s decorator, Jean-Francois Robert, developed an innovative technique for decorating opaque, milky glasses that resembled fine porcelain. These works, dubbed ‘opaline’ glass, often featured hand-painted floral decorations and were a hit among Victorian collectors.

Baccarat is made, like all crystal glass, by adding lead oxide to a mixture of silica and a ‘flux’ such as soda (sodium carbonate) or lime (calcium oxide). The resulting molten material is then blown or pulled into a desired shape and may be decorated with enamel colourings. The finished product is usually gilded or applied with gold powder that has been fused into the surface of the glass.