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CRYSTAL CLASSICS - Enterprise in Action by Dick Suter

In a world where computer-aided design and high-technology robotics in manufacturing are ever more utilised, it's refreshing to know that there's still an important place for individual craftsmanship, that the day of the artisan is far from over. Not that there is anything wrong with CAD/CAM technology. On the contrary, we're the beneficiaries of much of today's design and manufacturing know-how. But there should always be a place for hand crafted, individual products as well.

Val Saint-Lambert, based in Seraing and close to Liege, has been creating classics in crystal for almost 173 years - longer than the Kingdom of Belgium has been in existence. Founders, François Kemlin and Auguste Lelièvre, with backing from a finance group, had purchased a disused monastery constructed in the 12th and 13th centuries by monks of the Cistercian order, ideally situated in an area rich in coal and with the River Meuse nearby.

Over the years, the company's hand-blown vases, bowls and cut-glass drinking glasses have been displayed at many prestigious international exhibitions, such as the 1992 World Fair in Seville. And if you're a tennis buff, you may have noticed that the winner of the Masters Tennis Tournament at Frankfurt, the climax to each year's ATP world championship, is presented with a magnificent trophy in crystal. Yes, that's from Val Saint-Lambert, too.

©Dick Suter - 1998

Original article appearing in "Internationals in Belgium" Dick Suter was an editor of the magazine and contributor and Ginny Suter was a regular contributor in the late 1990's and 2000's - The magazine had a circulation of 10,000 Please note that this article was first published many years ago and telephone and fax numbers are likely to be out of date.

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