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I often see glasses described as having a "Cut" design or an "Etched" design but I was not sure of the difference. I recently read an interesting article that explained the difference. Cutting is a "mechanical" action - using a grinding wheel or stone to remove some glass to make a pattern or a design. Etching is a chemical process where the glass is exposed to acid to remove some of the glass to create the design. The color of the design does not indicate whether it has been etched or cut -- further treatment can make the design "clear" or "frosted." One distinguishing feature is the "profile" of the edge of the design. The edges of most cut patterns have an angled or rounded appearance, while the edges of most etched designs have a sharp right angle (under magnification you might say it looked like a cliff). Running your fingernail over the edge of the design may help -- on cut patterns it moves smoothly, while on etched patterns it shoud get caught on the sharp lip. Beware that if your "etched" pattern is actually made of applied paint or enamel, you might chip some of it off with this test, as I recently did with a "John Deere" glass.
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