YOU’LL REMEMBER THAT RECENTLY, when we discussed diamonds, we said that we would soon take a closer look at some of the fabulous faux diamonds enriching the costume jewelry field. So…let’s now look at crystal, an extraordinary form of glass which, when cut and polished, can become a faux gemstone of amazing, diamond-like qualities.
—You see the flash and shine throwing light waves across the room with drama and intensity? Yes, it may be a diamond. It may also be crystal and, if you think you would always know the difference, well…don’t be so sure!
When we speak of crystal, the name Swarovski almost automatically comes to mind.
The firm was founded in 1895 by Daniel Swarovski, an expert glass cutter born in North Bohemia. Swarovski, whose father was also a master glass cutter, started his company after inventing a machine that literally revolutionized the cutting of crystal glass.
Over the ensuing years, Swarovski’s creative impact on the glass industry was immense.
Specifically, his role in developing crystals for the jewelry and home industry was remarkable. Swarovski developed crystals to mimic diamonds in all their majestic beauty. Colors were developed that were inspirational, allowing the company to create jewelry-ready crystals almost indistinguishable from natural stones. Blue diamond-like crystals. Yellow-tinged crystals. One after the other, these fabulous faux diamonds entered onto the jewelry stage with glamour and fascination.
YOU CAN ENJOY SWAROVSKI CRYSTALS IN MANY DISTINGUISHED JEWELRY FORMS AT SURPRISINGLY AFFORDABLE PRICES. HERE ARE JUST SOME:
- Large round Swarovski crystals create three-row dangling earrings of spectacular fire and beauty. Crafted in the USA, these exquisite earrings offer a piece of jewelry history that is no longer produced. Understandably, supply is limited.
- Faux pearl and Swarovski crystal bridal jewelry features a gorgeous necklace on silvertone wire. Incredible sparkle and shine!
IN THE 1950s, TOGETHER WITH the famed French couturier Christian Dior, and inspired by the display of color at the North Pole, Swarovski created a special Aurora Borealis crystal effect, one of the firm’s most sought-after crystal products, which remains extremely important in the jewelry field..
The firm has also made numerous historical steps forward in the field. In 1976, for example, Swarovski introduced its famous Silver Crystal Mouse, in honor of the Winter Olympics being held that year in Innsbruck. The loveable little creature represented the first time ever that any figurine had been made from crystal chandelier parts. It was also the start of the company’s Silver Crystal Collection. Crystal Paradise is another famed Swarovski collection representing objects from nature, from flora to fauna.
–Collections are big with Swarovski and include many special jewelry groupings. They are invariably sought after with gusto by customers, world-wide.
A Little Background
THE VERY WORD CRYSTAL IS confusing because it stands for so many different things, from sugar, to salt, to ice, to jewelry. This simple word, derived from the Greek, means a hard, solid substance made of molecules that bond together in patterns to form a shape with straight edges and flat surfaces. That may seem very specific but actually, within that form, there are many, many different shapes and kinds of crystal.
Diamonds, sapphires, amethysts and rubies are all types of crystals that, when cut and polished, become gemstones.
–But did you know that many cultures see these stones and their basic crystal forms as having healing qualities? Quartz crystal, for example, is thought by many to clear the body of negative energy and to realign the chakras, or energy centers, of the body. What New Age Spas could exist without crystals? They are central to their very essence.
In the United States, unlike many other countries, any glass that is perfectly clear is considered crystal. Of course, lead oxide is essential to that clarity. Fine crystal is a glass mixture with 6-to-10 percent lead oxide content. Lead crystal is 10-to-24 percent lead oxide. And full lead crystal is 24 percent lead oxide or more. Crystal used for jewelry is full lead oxide.
The highest quality crystal, which is used by Swarovski, has a 30 percent lead oxide content.
The Color Palette
COLOR IS AN IMPORTANT characteristic of crystals used in jewelry. Swarovski crystals come in an amazingly large variety of colors, one more mesmerizing than the next. Think Amethyst, Bermuda blue, Black Diamond, and Citrine, just for starters. Spectacular Swarovski beads have exquisite coatings and are called Hematite, Satin, Heliotrope, among so many, many others. Crystals are made in cubes, rounds, hearts, and dozens of other popular shapes, reflecting the enormous demand that has existed for these beautiful stones since they were first used in jewelry.
The marketing of crystal jewelry has also been exceptionally imaginative and useful. Retailers can make use of many basic concepts associated with real and faux gemstones, helping to boost sales and increase profits. Take the Anniversary and Birthday Month connections to these stones; the designations help to sell faux and real gemstone jewelry all year long as a special, highly personalized gift product.
Here are some quick examples of the Stone-Anniversary/Birth month connections: February is Amethyst. April is Diamond. July is Ruby. Real or faux, these stones mark the date with a special kind of light-intensity and importance!
YOU CAN MATCH THE MONTH WITH ITS STONE COLOR FOR A HIGHLY-SALABLE ANNIVERSARY/BIRTH MONTH REMEMBRANCE. CONSIDER:
- Large Swarovski crystal heart pendant necklace in choice of rich colors (including Bermuda Blue and iridescent color) surrounded by clear rhinestones. Spectacular real gemstone look!
- Swarovski Austrian crystal earrings in several intense colors offer amazing clarity and shine!