Swarovski is known to make some of the world’s best crystal. What exactly is it, though, and how does Swarovski work its magic? Swarovski is known to make some of the world’s best crystal. What exactly is it, though, and how does Swarovski work its magic?
If the Swarovski name sounds familiar, it should. It’s been around since glassblower blower Daniel Swarz first perfected his signature crystal formula in the 1890s. Today, Swarovski crystal surpasses all others for brilliance and sheen. While it sparkles under any form of illumination, it glows with a particular softness when viewed in candlelight. On any occasion, Swarovski jewelry makes the ideal gift since it serves as a perfect accompaniment to nearly every outfit.
When dressing up a sweater with a Swarovski bracelet or setting off a new haircut with the brilliance of Swarovski earrings,, the woman who wears this crystal is sure to attract attention. While this crystal can easily stand alone, Swarovski bracelets, rings, necklaces, and pendants often feature it in combination with precious and semi-precious gemstones. This is particularly true of the seasonal collections that frequently incorporate metals plated in gold and silver into their designs.
Swarovski Jewelry for Men
Swarovski’s designs are not for women only. The company’s current line of men’s jewelry includes bracelets,, watches,, and pendants.. This collection’s fashion-forward combinations of crystal with metal, leather, wood, or ceramic possess a robust quality that made Swarovski crystal a favorite of the late pop star Michael Jackson.
By keeping the percentage of crystal low, Swarovski achieves a subtle sparkle without losing the masculine appeal. The items in Swarovski’s men’s collection convey strength while enhancing the outfit of any man who enjoys making an impression.
Swarovski Collectables for House and Home
The Swarovski line includes something for every taste. Although jewelry might be the best known, other popular offerings include Christmas ornaments, vases, sculptures, and more.
How Is Swarovski Crystal Made?
Swarovski’s earliest experiments resulted in crystal of inferior quality. It was only after he added lead to the mix of silica, lime, and alkali that Swarovski’s crystal came to surpass anything that he had yet produced. In Swarovski crystal today, lead makes up 32 percent of the total mix. Through experimentation, Swarovski determined that this percentage would produce the greatest refractive quality, allowing the crystal to generate a rainbow effect whenever the light passed through. This high proportion of lead is also the reason for the warning labels that appear on any Swarovski crystal that is currently for sale in California.
Contrary to popular belief, Swarovski silver crystal contains no silver at all. It is actually composed of quartz sand and natural minerals. After the molten mixture has slowly cooled, the use of a special cutting method imparts the silvery color. Swarovski’s invention of a machine to mechanically cut and polish crystals greatly boosted his production. Today, the name Swarovski is synonymous with crystal. Since his methods for cutting and faceting surpass those employed by other manufacturers, Swarovski crystal has no equal.
Special Swarovski Coatings
The internal ingredients are only part of the Swarovski story. These crystals frequently receive a special heated coating of various chemicals that impart additional color and sparkle. Although the exact means of achieving these effects remains a carefully guarded secret, some of these coatings do contain metallic components.
Many times, a particular piece will receive two of these overlays: one for each side. These coatings will carry a “2X” designation. Of the many coatings available in Swarovski crystals, these are the most common:
|AB or Aurora Borealis||Ordinary Coating||This iridescent pastel finish imparts a rainbow effect. It is often, but not always, applied to only half of the crystal. Using AB on a piece of black crystal intensifies the rainbow effect.|
|AB 2X||Ordinary Coating||This designation identifies an Aurora Borealis coating applied to both sides of the crystal.|
|Aurum||Special Coating||This coating contains pure gold, adding to the price of any piece of crystal on which it is used. It is also available in 2X.|
|Bermuda Blue||Special Coating||This imparts an opaque and deep blue finish.|
|CAL or Comet Argent Light||Ordinary Coating||Often available in 2X, this silvery coating adds no other color.|
|Cosmo Jet||Special Coating||This black coating is applied before the final faceting, allowing the crystal’s basic color to shine through.|
|Dorado||Special Coating||Dorado imparts an opaque bronze finish.|
|Glacier Blue||Special Coating||This cobalt blue coating is often seen on a jet-black crystal.|
|Heliotrope||Special Coating||Heliotrope appears dull brown and gray on the surface but purple and green when viewed through the crystal.|
|Meridian Blue||Special Coating||This silvery coating has light blue overtones.|
|Sahara||Special Coating||Sahara imbues the crystal with a light yellow finish.|
|Satin or Hematite||Ordinary Coating||This finish imparts a sheen. Commonly found in 2X.|
|Tabac||Special Coating||This is a dark finish of copper and gold.|
|Transmission||Special Coating||The Transmission coating is similar in appearance to the Aurora Borealis finish.|
|Vitrail||Special Coating||Basically red and green in color, the aspect of this opaque coating changes with the light.|
|Volcano||Special Coating||While volcano appears silvery from the outside, its color is purplish-red when viewed through the crystal.|
Swarovski Crystal Beads
Swarovski beads are grouped into numbered series, each of which correspond to a particular design. Here are the main categories:
|#1000||Chatons and Rivolis||All crystals in this group have pointed backs to facilitate mounting in rings and necklaces.|
|#2000||Flatbacks||Some, but not all, flatbacks are available with a hotfix backing for easy attachment.|
|#3000||Sew-Ons||These crystal buttons include one or more holes for attachment.|
|#4000||Fancy Stones||This group includes such shapes as ovals, rings, teardrops, baguettes, hearts, and more.|
|#5000||Beads||Every crystal in this category contains a center hole for stringing.|
|#6000||Pendants||A single hole at the top serves as the pendant crystal’s distinguishing feature.|
Identifying Authentic Swarovski Crystal
The popularity of Swarovski crystal has unfortunately inspired the creation of some imposters. Anyone who wants to separate authentic Swarovski from the pretenders should check the following: Stated Origin: Authentic Swarovski crystal originates in the town of Wattens, Austria. Any crystal that is marked “Made in China” is surely an imitation. Consistency: Swarovski utilizes a computer-generated cutting process to impart a uniform consistency to its crystal beads. This degree of equivalence rarely exists in imitators. Faceting: In a genuine Swarovski bead, all facets will meet at precisely the same juncture.
This “pointing up” is similar to that found in diamond faceting, and it won’t appear in an imitation. Luster: The surface luster on a Swarovski crystal is even with none of the swirling marks and scratches that often impart an oily look to an imposter. Imperfections: If any bubbles appear in the bead, it is probably not authentic. Such flaws would not normally appear in authentic Swarovski crystal. Sparkle: Imitation crystal lacks the proprietary compounds and precision cuts that generate Swarovski’s extra sparkle.
Dating Vintage Swarovski Crystal
Throughout its history, Swarovski has identified its crystal in various and frequently changing ways. If there is any question, the trademark can often help to identify the period in which a particular vintage Swarovski crystal came into being. This chart illustrates the ways in which the Swarovski label has evolved over the years:
|K.S. & Co.||Edelweiss||1895|
|D.S.W.||Line drawing of a crystal||Prior to 1949|
|D.S. & Co.||Edelweiss||1970-1980|
|Swarovski Silver Crystal||SC Block||1976-1988|
|Crystal Swarovski Made in Austria||None||1980s|
|Crystallized Swarovski Elements||None||2007-present|
The fact some authentic Swarovski crystal contained no logo during the 1970s and 1980s can often serve as an additional dating aid. So can the knowledge that Swarovski only invented the Aurora Borealis (AB) finish in 1956. Any crystal that exhibits the AB finish cannot be older than that.
Caring for Swarovski Crystal Jewelry
Swarovski crystals are as delicate as they look. They are frequently set in plated metal, and many of the crystals themselves bear special coatings. Owners of this jewelry must take special care to preserve its original condition.
Here are some things to keep in mind: – Try to store all crystal jewelry in a soft bag or pouch to protect it from surface elements – Polish it often with a soft cloth to restore its original luster – Keep crystal away from water, and never wear it when swimming – Keep lotions and other cosmetic products away from crystal – Remember that crystal is leaded glass. Avoid knocking it against hard objects
Swarovski crystal jewelry makes a perfect gift, and it is one for which no special occasion is needed. Fine crystal’s sparkle speaks for itself, and when it comes to providing that special brilliance, Swarovski has no equal.