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Old July 31, 2020, 09:19 AM
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Cristal vs. vidrio

Would you say a store window is made of vidrio or cristal. Is a windshield made of vidrio or crustal. Could someone clarify me the difference between these two words?
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Old July 31, 2020, 02:59 PM
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The dictionary says that "crystal" is high quality glass, like the one in luxury ornaments and expensive glassware. But it is also the glass in a window, and optical glasses.


"Vidrio" is the normally translucent, hard and fragile silicate material. And it is used for everything from cheaper glassware, windows, ornaments, cars, etc.


In colloquial speech, we tend to use both words as synonyms, although some people believe it is more educated to use "cristal" instead of "vidrio" in some contexts (for example when talking about windows, optical glasses, mirrors, etc.).


In daily usage:
- Vaso de vidrio -> Cheap one
- Vaso de cristal -> Fine made and probably brought from Germany.


- Los cristales de las ventanas. = Los vidrios de las ventanas.
- Los cristales de los anteojos. = Los vidrios de los anteojos.
- Los cristales del coche. = Los vidrios del coche.
- Los cristales de la vitrina. = Los vidrios de la vitrina. (Here, the word "vitrina" already suggests "vidrio", so we might avoid the repetition of the etymology.)


And thinking about it, where I live, if you talk about big sheets of glass, we use more often "vidrio", like in a store window, a glass door, a shower panel, etc.
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Old August 03, 2020, 04:05 AM
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Thank you. That was very helpful.
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Old August 03, 2020, 09:36 PM
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Glad it was useful
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