Not everyone wants a desk job. Standing at the mouth of the furnace, before a 2,642-degree inferno that is neither sworn enemy nor willing consort, that point has never been clearer. At the Saint-Louis crystal workshop, deep in the eastern French forest of Moselle, the act of creation has never seemed more primordial, or magnificently elusive. The fires here burn constantly. For the artisans, they are part of an effulgent destiny—a roaring connection that binds apprentices and masters from 1586 to the present—and the kind of work that reminds us that true beauty rarely springs from a desk job. Before the royal commissions or exquisite art de la table, Saint-Louis crystal is the instinctual, physical heroism of craft. A race between fire and time, it’s molten lava, muscle, and lung power that patiently cedes to intricate etchings, engravings, 24-carat finishes, and artistry guided by hand. Fragile is an understatement.