The History of Baccarat
Baccarat (also known as punto banco) is one of the world’s most popular casino games. It is played in casinos all over the world, including Las Vegas. It is a simple game with no rules that requires no technical skill to play and is one of the best casino games for high rollers.
The History of Baccarat
Originally invented in Italy around the early Renaissance, the game spread to France where it became a popular gambling pastime. During the 19th Century it was particularly popular in France and England, where it was often hidden away in special rooms with posh leather chairs and high minimum wagers.
It was the French monarchs, Emperors and heads of state who became the biggest customers of Baccarat. At the 1828 Exposition Universelle in Paris, Charles X was impressed by a set of Baccarat glass vases and commissioned an extensive table service for his Tuileries Palace.
A long line of royal commissions followed, and in the mid-19th Century Baccarat would become Europe’s leading crystal glass manufacturer, making products for a variety of uses. By the start of the 20th Century, ownership of a set of Baccarat glasses was considered an important symbol of wealth and refined taste.
The company also produced a range of glass display pieces for exhibitions and the royal collection, often with floral decorations or geometric designs which closely resembled fine porcelain. Many of these pieces were exhibited at major fairs, including the 1855 Exposition Universelle in Paris and the Great Exhibitions of the late 19th Century in London.
As a result of its impressive success at the fairs, it won medals for many of its designs. In particular, the factory won gold for a pair of 17.5 foot tall candelabra in 1855 at the Exposition Universelle, which were finished in a milky ‘opaline’ glass that was prized by Victorian collectors.
While the factory was primarily involved in manufacturing glass for display purposes, it began to produce a range of tableware in the later part of the 19th Century. These ewers, tea services and water sets were especially popular with affluent Victorians.
Another important product of the Baccarat factory was a range of large, elaborate candelabras, made from thick, short-stemmed glass and completed with a glistening green-tinted crystal. These were renowned for their spectacular prismatic lustre, which reflected different colours depending on how they were placed in relation to light sources.
The candelabras were hugely successful at the fairs, and were commissioned by many of the most influential people of the day, including King Louis-Philippe of France and Napoleon III of Germany. At the Exposition Universelle of 1867, a Baccarat candelabra won a silver medal.
In addition to their dazzling display pieces for the fairs, Baccarat also produced many opulent, hand-painted ‘Baccarat crystal’ vases that were highly coveted among Victorian collectors. These milky, ‘opaline’ vases were frequently decorated with floral patterns or other ornamental detailing and were widely considered to be the most desirable form of glassware at the time.