crystal clear

If you haven't seen Nova Scotian Crystal you haven't seen Halifax. ~ Nova Scotian Crystal Brochure

I just returned home to Manitoba from a fantastic Nova Scotia vacation. Yesterday I sat down at my computer and started going through all the photos I took while on vacation. I started editing some photos I captured at Nova Scotian Crystal and just as I was running blog ideas about this company through my head I received an email from Nova Scotian Crystal indicating that it was bankrupt and was going out of business. The timing couldn’t have been more off for me.

You see, just days ago I had finally ventured into Nova Scotian Crystal for the first time. Even though I had worked just a stone’s throw away from them for many years in downtown Halifax I had never actually gone in and looked at their crystal or bought a piece. Nova Scotian Crystal opened in Halifax in 1996, the exact year I moved to Halifax, yet I had never given them the time of day. Finally, on my recent vacation back home to Nova Scotia, I decided it was time to check them out. I walked in and was greeted by a wonderful friendly woman who was very passionate about the crystal and the company. She indicated Nova Scotian Crystal was the last mouth-blown, hand cut crystal maker in Canada and that crystal making was a dying art.

I was immediately drawn to the gorgeous crystal pieces on display, many patterns named after Nova Scotia locations, and I began searching for a piece to take back to Manitoba with me. I settled on a crystal Christmas ornament, something small and suitable for my carry on, and something that wouldn’t break the vacation budget, I think it cost around $50. I was the only customer in the store and it felt like they were open especially for me. My ornament required a bit of work as the style I requested was not in stock and I was invited to view the crystal makers as they worked on it through a glass window. I could see guys hard at work making beautiful vases and stemware, all working with such concentration and certainty. Then I was invited in, behind the glass window, to get up close and personal with the crystal makers. They brought me in and introduced me and started sharing their story. They all hailed from Waterford Crystal in Ireland and began working in Halifax at Nova Scotian Crystal after Waterford had laid crystal makers off. They shared how crystal making was passed down through the family and that it took many years to develop the precision required for making crystal. They smiled and laughed, posed for photos, and generally made me feel welcome and special. These guys were the kind of guys you wanted to hang out with, go split a pitcher of beer with, laugh and tell stories with, they loved their job and were very proud of the crystal. I snapped photos as they finished up my ornament and moved on to an Annapolis pattern vase specifically so I could capture some more photos with a larger crystal piece. It was a fun and special moment in my Nova Scotia vacation and I was hit with this overwhelming guilt for not visiting them years ago. Why oh why did it take me 17 years to finally walk through their door and to finally experience firsthand this amazing beautiful Nova Scotia made pieces of art?

So now here I sit, staring at my beautiful Nova Scotian Crystal Christmas ornament, looking at the photos I just captured days ago, reading the sad bankruptcy message, and wishing I could change their fate. If only I had visited them sooner, purchased a piece sooner, perhaps I could have been one small piece of the puzzle in helping them survive and thrive, and helping them keep this unique Nova Scotia product and art alive. I can’t help but think that this morning when I logged into twitter and saw tweets about the crazy long lineups at Nova Scotian Crystal to purchase a piece after the bankruptcy was announced, that it is too little too late. We should have lined up sooner, we should have offered our support sooner, we should have helped this unique Nova Scotia product and art thrive. The loss of Nova Scotian Crystal is one that tears at our Nova Scotia identity, our tourism, our local products, and our hearts. I hope there are great things to come for all the Nova Scotian Crystal employees, and I wish them nothing but the best in the future. Thank you for the recent unique vacation experience, it is one I will never forget.

Nova Scotian Crystal can be found at http://www.novascotiancrystal.com/ and I understand they will be selling off remaining stock within the next three to four weeks.