The Val Saint Lambert Crystal Works established in 1826 remains the crowning jewel of Belgian heritage and a symbol of unparallelled quality for almost two centuries. Master craftsmen and crystal among the clearest in the world have brought renowned international acclaim to the glassworks company from the industrial region of Liège that employed up to 5 000 workers by 1900.
For centuries, goods primarily moved from East to West along the Silk and Spice routes. By the 19th century, Maharajahs, Nizams, Nawabs, and other members of Indian aristocracy with a taste for opulence, were turning to Europe to procure the most lavish items their disposable incomes could buy.
Belgium's Val Saint Lambert, eager to export its savoir-faire, answered the call with panache offering made-to-order crystal chandeliers and other objects which soon adorned palaces, homes, mosques, synagogues and shrines throughout India.
This is the exclusive, untold story of a year-long journey in search of VSL crystal across India.
Published in National Geographic Holland/Belgium edition.