Perhaps — like many gift-givers on Father’s Day — you fall under the category of repeat tie offender. This year, consider giving Dad something custom-made. The Orange County company Dainte’ Inc. specializes in manufacturing miniature crystal figurines — everything from a saxophone to a replica of the Titanic.
Owner Joseph Stern combined his love of crystal art and his habit of touring the world’s historic landmarks to found the company in 2002, along with his wife Pearl and their daughter Roisy. The firm found its niche when a friend suggested “doing a crystal model for a client who wished to honor a few donors for a new building,” says Pearl Stern. “At that point, we decided to focus our business on custom crystal replicas.” One such order was for the New York skyline, complete with 15 different buildings, which was made to fit into a fish tank built into a wall.
Creating these unique items begins with an e-mail from a client with a design request. Stern gives the idea to several designers, who draw up drafts; these are then sent to the customer for comments and feedback. “We work hand-in-hand with customers to satisfy their needs and tastes,” says Stern. Once the drawing is approved, artists cut blocks of crystal by hand, grind them on a diamond wheel, then polish and glue the pieces together to create the final product. It may all sound easy, but the process can take anywhere from 30 days to three months. The result: a one-of-a-kind piece of crystalline art.