Swarovski Crystals - History

Daniel Swarovski and Creation of Swarovski Crystals

Towards the end of 19th century, Austrian jeweller Daniel Swarovski created a foil backing that made his high-quality faceted crystals almost indistinguishable from real diamonds. Demand was so great for the crystals  that in 1892 he patented a mechanical cutter so his “faceted stones” could be mass-produced.


Rhinestones named after the Rhine River

The family business was first located in the Gablonz area of Bohemia, however, in 1895 Swarovski moved it to Austria close to the Rhine River—his faux gems have been known as rhinestone ever since then. Currently still manufactured in Austria today, the quality of Swarovski Crystals remains high and  unmatched  by others.

While many people associate rhinestones with clear glass, these head-turning faux gems aren’t only used as diamond type copycats. Rhinestones also perform admirably as turquoise, onyx, carnelian, opals, rubies, and just about any other gemstone a jeweller might wish to imitate.

Top Costume Jewellery Firms and their love of Swarovski Crystals

Designers and companies who have used Swarovski rhinestones include all the big names of the costume-jewellery world. In the 1920s, Coco Chanel propelled rhinestones into the popular imagination when she made a fashion statement with costume jewellery. The bright colors of her bow brooches and enamelled animals were accented by clear rhinestones.

Aurora Borealis Crystals

In the 1950s,  Parisian Elsa Schiaparelli, as well as Albert Weiss of New York, favoured Swarovski’s aurora borealis crystals, which had been produced in conjunction with Christian Dior. Named after the Northern Lights, aurora borealis rhinestones automatically date a piece as post-1955.

Other designers and firms whose work owes quite a  debt to the sparkle of Swarovski include  Trifari, Eisenberg and Hobe.


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