Don’t let the simple façade fool you, there are treasures inside Cristal Artesanal’s warehouse in La Candelaria. As soon as we stepped inside, I immediately regretted bringing a purse…firstly because I wanted to buy everything in sight and secondly because I quite literally felt like a bull in a china shop and was terrified I’d knock something over. This past week I spent an hour happily (and carefully!) browsing through the seemingly endless shelves of glassware, adding things to my “spot” at the checkout counter.
One important thing to know is that depending on where you live, a visit to Cristal Artesanal can be quite a trek. Because I live towards the north (and don’t have a car!) I probably never would have visited this place unless my girlfriend asked me if I’d care to join her and let me mooch a ride. That being said, it makes a great outing with folks you have visiting or with a group. And, the prices make it well worth sitting in traffic.
As this post’s title implies, all the items at Cristal Artesanal are handmade in their shop nearby. You can find practically every permutation of vase, carafe, decanter and glass (tumblers, goblets, flutes, martini and margarita glasses, brandy snifters, beer mugs…the list goes on!). In addition there are decorative plates, as well as hand blown glass fruits, hearts and figures. Most of the items are colored amber, blue or a green-tinged clear. Drink ware offers a few more color varieties, most being clear with a colored rim. If you are looking for big vases, you’re in luck–they had several different pieces that were 2-3 feet tall.
The folks at Cristal Artesanal take a lot of pride in their work. As we set items on the counter for tallying, the gals ringing us up cleaned each piece (believe me, it’s dusty in there!), checked the bottoms to make sure all of the edges were smooth and wrapped them in newsprint. And because everything is made by hand, no two are alike. They kindly checked all our purchases for symmetry and quality and pointed out any quirk we could have thought was a defect, just to make sure we approved.
To give you an idea of pricing, glasses range from 8,000-9,500 COP. For vases and non-drinkware items, the things pictured below were priced as follows: decanter 20,000 COP, jar with two handles 12,000 COP and the little jug 5,000 COP (to those of you not familiar with Colombian pesos, my purchase was about $14 total). If you purchase items in sets or have a large order, be sure to ask if there is a discount available!
Cristal Artesanal is located at Calle 7 Sur #5-12. If you’d like to browse online, their entire catalog is available on their website (here). Happy shopping!