It seems as though many makers of traditional luxury goods have lost faith in the casual smoker and discontinued any items even remotely pertaining to cigars. Thankfully, the world's finest crystaliers have refused to turn their backs on the cigar enthusiast, offering interesting crystal ashtrays that bring a bit of Park Avenue directly into the smoking den.
In their undying respect for cigar culture, France's finest glass masters—Lalique, Baccarat and Saint-Louis—produce crystal cigar ashtrays that are thoughtfully cast yet at the same time ingeniously designed to blend into almost any environment. No conservatory is too dainty, nor man cave too masculine, nor study too austere, that it can't benefit from a bit of fine, decorative crystal.
Consider the expressive contrast between clear and translucent crystal on the four-sided Lalique Jungle Ashtray ($2,100). Embossed jaguars prowl the sides of this piece in twinkling relief against a frosted surface—the same signature frosted surface that endeared America's wealthy class to Lalique's vases and hood ornaments in the 1920s. In this case, the ashtray's misty satin-finish adequately says Lalique without screaming it.
Jaguars and jungles a little too Kiplingesque? Saint-Louis, Europe's oldest glassmaker, makes its statement in a less literal fashion by relying on deep geometrical grooves along with simple transparency. According to Saint-Louis (owned by Hermés International S.A.), the Adiante Cigar Ashtray ($785) gets its inspiration from the Art Deco period. No matter the era, its clever ridges and bevels result in a charming circular design that few rooms would reject.
The studios at Baccarat have fully embraced the cigar smoker with the striking, six-sided Harcourt Abysse Ashtray ($845). The hexagonal Harcourt design, based on Baccarat's oldest pattern, comes to life rather brilliantly in ashtray form. With its flat cuts and series of bold angles, it's almost as if Baccarat specifically chose this shape to defy the stuffy notion that all crystal ashtrays have to look like candy dishes.
For those who might be suspicious of the term "crystal" (and the high price that comes with it), it's defined by the European Union as glass with a minimum 24 percent lead content, which lends the material a flawless optical clarity—and signature heft—otherwise unattained.