What is a Swarovski Crystal?

Y. Chen

A Swarovski Crystal is one of the most recognized brand of crystals in the world today. Sold under the Swarovski luxury brand name, these crystals have been famous worldwide for their precision cuts, clarity, and sparkle. Swarovski crystals have made appearances in all pieces of jewelry imaginable, including necklaces and pendants, earrings, rings, stick-on tattoos, and tiaras. They are now even used as appliques in clothing fashions and home decor, among myriad other things.

Swarovski crystals may be featured on tiaras.
Swarovski crystals may be featured on tiaras.

The Swarovski brand is managed by private companies under the municipality of Feldmeilen in Switzerland. The Swarovski group also manufactures products that are used in the making or application of crystal-glass. These include Swarovski Optik, a maker of optical instruments; Tyrolit, for crystal cutting tools, Signity, maker of synthetic gemstones; and Swareflex, manufacturers of luminous road markers.

The Swarovski company was first established in 1895 as a crystal cutting factory in the town of Wattens, Austria.
The Swarovski company was first established in 1895 as a crystal cutting factory in the town of Wattens, Austria.

The Swarovski company was first established in 1895 as a crystal cutting factory in the town of Wattens, Austria. Its founder, Czech-born Daniel Swarovski, invented the first automatic cutting machine in 1892. Three years after having patented crystal-glass abrasion methods using his machine, Swarovski moved to Wattens, where he could take fully optimize usage of the local hydroelectric power there. Hydroelectric power lent his factory the intensive energy needed for his patented processes. The Swarovski company first adopted the edelweiss flower as the logo until 1988, when it was replaced by the currently recognized swan. The logo appears on all sculptures manufactured by the company.

The characteristics of Swarovski crystals are unparalleled in both style and substance. Not only are their cuts distinct, but the assorted colors and shapes cover a broad spectrum. The brilliant sparkle of each crystal is actually resulted from a glass composition containing 32 percent lead. Besides this refraction maximizing strategy, special metallic coatings are used on some of the crystals to ensure that light refracts from the surface in a rainbow spectrum. One of the most utilized coatings is Aurora Borealis, simply known as "AB."

The Swarovski website features a couture line, their other fine products, a news center, and a members forum. This last feature is considered the homepage of the Swarovski Crystal Society (SCS), a group of crystal enthusiasts and collectors worldwide founded in 1987. Through signing up, all members receive access to a quarterly newsletter and access to special, limited edition Swarovski crystal products, among other benefits. Members come from all age groups and geographical origins. The SCS continuously sponsors events, tours, and banquets where members are able to meet and share their "passion for the beauty of crystal."

Swarovski crystals are known for their brilliant sparkle.
Swarovski crystals are known for their brilliant sparkle.

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Discussion Comments


I was recently in San Francisco and bought a crystal piece of the golden gate bridge. The cost was $200. I was under the impression it was swarovski, but noticed it says timeline on the side in very small lettering. It is beautiful so it makes no real difference but is it swarovski or is there a brand called timeline. Just curious.


Does anyone know a good place to buy Swarovski crystal that is older?

I am interested in some of their figurines that have been retired and am curious to know if anyone has found a good place to purchase them.

In the case of retired pieces, how much of a price difference should I expect from the newly released ones, for say, an animal figure that is two inches tall and in excellent condition.

Also, in the case of damaged figures, I know the price should be lower, but do you think that they are easy to repair? Would it be worth buying one and fixing it for the savings?


If you ever want to visit a gorgeous store with amazing displays, head into one of the larger Swarovski crystal shops that have the museum like setups.

While I was in Hong Kong, I had the change to visit one of the bigger Swarovski stores in Harbor City and it was stunning. They had a large central piece that was huge and covered everything in glittering reflections.

While I think some of the Swarovski pieces are over priced, they are beautiful to look at. Next time you have a chance, pop in to their stores. They are really works of art.

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