What Are Swarovski Crystals & What Makes Them Special?

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What are Swarovski crystals? Are they real diamonds or precious stones? In this article, you’ll find answers to both of these questions, and more.

If you have an affinity for fashion, then chances are you’re familiar with Swarovski jewelry. Around the world, Swarovski has become a household name for affordable luxury, bridging the gap between affordable jewelry makers like Pandora and more expensive fine jewelry brands like Tiffany.

Different types of Swarovski crystals have been featured in all areas of film, music, and fashion for many decades. The most notable film examples include the Swarovski crystal jewelry worn by Marilyn Monroe in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and a Swarovski tiara worn by Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s.

While in the realm of music, Madonna wore a Swarovski crystals dress on tour, and Rihanna wore a dress made entirely of Swarovski crystals on the red carpet at the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) award ceremony.

Swarovski crystals are a favorite of many people, whether it be for their beauty or the fact that they are from a well-known company. Their high-quality crystals are used in jewelry designs, as well as clothing embellishments, and they can even be added to home decor.

In this article, we will be discussing what Swarovski crystals are, how they started, and how much they cost.

What Are Swarovski Crystals Made Of?

Swarovski crystals are a form of glass that has been cut to have identical facets on the outside so that it reflects light in beautiful ways.

This special glass is mixed together from quartz sand, potash, soda and some other materials at a high temperature, following Swarovski’s patented manufacturing process.

This means that Swarovski crystals aren’t gemstones, nor are they naturally occurring crystals. While we don’t know the exact, patented process that Swarovski uses to produce its crystals, we do know that the final crystals used to have a high lead concentration in order to increase the shine and brilliance of the glass (referred to as lead glass crystals).

However, in 2012 Swarovski stopped using lead in its crystal glass, and all products since are lead-free. Now, they use a unique process of creating the same shine and brilliance for its crystals with better raw materials, but what are the materials? Well, that remains a company secret.

Another big reason why Swarovski crystals shine so much brighter than regular glass beads is thanks to Swarovski’s patented precision-cutting machine that cuts the glass beautifully.

They also diligently polish the crystals between all stages and finish some of the glass beads off with special metallic chemical coatings that refract light in a rainbow spectrum. The most famous coating type is the Aurora Borealis coating, which gives the crystal a rainbow appearance, but the brand has many others as well.

Swarovski crystal necklace
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Swarovski crystals have been used for years as decoration pieces on clothing and jewelry items. They’re perfect for anyone who loves the look of real diamonds but can’t afford (or doesn’t want to purchase) the more expensive jewelry.

Swarovski produces 400 million crystals every year and even has its own museum located in Wattens, Austria. These crystal beads can be found in many different colors including clear or colored glass which catch the light to create beautiful refractions on the surface.

Genuine Swarovski crystals are far more expensive than regular crystals because of the superior raw materials, as well as their secret production process.

The History of Swarovski

Now that we’ve covered what Swarovski crystals are and what makes them special compared to their competitors, let’s take a small look at how the Swarovski company came to be.

The Swarovski company is an Austrian glass producer that was founded in 1895 by Daniel Swarovski, the son of a glass cutter. Its crystal business has a global reach of approximately 3,000 stores in roughly 170 countries. This company is now run by the fifth generation of family members.

In addition to crystal jewelry, the Swarovski brand also produces high quality products like glass sculptures, miniatures, rhinestones, home decor, and chandeliers. Swarovski has even provided a 9 ft diameter and 550lb star or snowflake that sits atop the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree in New York City.

Swarovski watch
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Swarovski crystal cuff
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Over the years, they have been a part of many iconic fashion moments, but one of its first partnerships was with the luxury fashion house of Christian Dior in 1956, when the two brands merged to create the beautiful rainbow-like Aurora Borealis, or AB crystal.

The Swarovski brand has since worked with many other beloved fashion brands to create sparkling pieces that have a higher refraction index, without having to spend millions on diamonds.

There have been Swarovski crystal bags from Chanel, lingerie from Victoria’s Secret, and clothing and accessories from Richard Quinn, Alexander Wang, House of Holland, Jason Wu, and Brandon Maxwell. Swarovski has even collaborated with street style and sportswear brands, including Supreme and Nike.

Price Range

Swarovski has a wide variety of prices for its crystals. Because of their high shine, authentic Swarovski crystals are pricier than regular crystals that you see in a department store.

The cheapest item made with Swarovski elements will generally be around $30, while the more expensive Swarovski jewelry can go up to thousands or even millions!

Their crystal necklaces start for as low as $80 and can go up to $1,000 or more. This also goes the same way for their earrings and bracelets.

Swarovski necklace
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Swarovski earrings
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As for their individual beads that are to be sewn onto clothing, each bead (depending on style and color) will start at $3 for one tiny piece.

To be able to cover an entire dress made out of Swarovski crystals, one must have a bulk order with a minimum order quantity of at least 14,400 beads. But hey, nothing beats the feeling of strutting the red carpet with a dress made out of high-quality clear crystals!

Gold and green Swarovski Millenia open ring
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Pink Swarovski High smartphone case iPhone® 12/12 Pro, Rose gold tone
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As you can see from the incredible necklaces, earrings, watches, rings, and bracelets above, Swarovski has so many gorgeous pieces on offer! Whether you are looking for statement rings or earrings to accessory a special occasion look, simple pendants to add a little sparkle to your everyday life, or a striking watch you can wear with any look, Swarovski is bound to have something you love that will perfectly suit your personal style.

As we have mentioned, the prices are affordable too, so you don’t have to break the bank to add a little more sparkle and glitter to your stunning outfits!

You can even pick out some decorations from the Swarovski website for your home – with lots of characters, motifs, holiday-themed, and nature-inspired Swarovski crystal pieces available. Or add a little more sparkle to life with the Swarovski accessories, including phone cases, sunglasses, hair accessories, and key rings.

Commonly Asked Questions

Are Swarovski crystals and diamonds the same?

Not at all! Diamonds are composed of carbon atoms that are formed under high temperatures and pressure. They also come out as hard materials that are naturally irregular in shape but can be formed and polished into beautiful stones.

Crystals, on the other hand, are minerals that come in different shapes, sizes, and colors, and can be purchased for just a fraction of the price of genuine diamonds.

One of the main differences between Swarovski crystals and natural diamonds is the score they achieve on the MOHS Scale of Hardness. Swarovski crystals have a score of 6 to 7, which means they are very hard, but they are still susceptible to scratches and chips, whereas diamonds sit at the very top of the scale, at 10.

Another difference is the high refraction index of each stone, which is the amount a certain gemstone reflects light – Swarovski crystals have a refractive index of 1.7, while for diamonds it is 2.42. You can see how close the numbers are and how sparkling the Swarovski crystals are.

How can you tell if a Swarovski crystal is real?

Swarovski crystals are perfectly uniform since they are precision cut on a machine. Imitation beads usually have scratches, swirl marks that resemble an oily-looking surface. Plus, when you look inside an authentic Swarovski crystal, you will see no bubbles.

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