What is Crystal Jewelry?

Sheri Cyprus

Crystal jewelry is jewelry made from natural quartz crystal. Both making and buying crystal jewelry is popular today. The sparkling beauty of clear natural crystal may also be enhanced with added colors and finishes. There are many types of finished crystal pieces of jewelry as well as crystal beads for creating jewelry available.

Austrian crystal can be used to make beautiful floral designs.
Austrian crystal can be used to make beautiful floral designs.

Swarvoski is the oldest and most recognized name in crystal jewelry. It is an Austria-based four-generation family business. Daniel Swarvoski invented a crystal cutting machine in 1892. Swarvoski crystals are known for their high quality, brilliance, and pure characteristics. Many jewelry designers that work with crystal use Swarvoski crystal pendants and beads.

An Austria-based family business, Swarvoski is the oldest and most recognized name in crystal jewelry.
An Austria-based family business, Swarvoski is the oldest and most recognized name in crystal jewelry.

The colors of Swarvoski crystal beads range from light to darker shades as well as transparent, bold, and smoky looks. The color range covers reds, yellows, greens and blues, blacks and grays. One interesting Swarvoski crystal color, cantaloupe, changes from pink to green to gray depending on the angle of reflected light. Some colors of Swarvoski quartz crystal have coloring added, such as the violets, greens and blues.

Some small jewelry design companies make custom bridal crystal jewelry.
Some small jewelry design companies make custom bridal crystal jewelry.

Some Swarvoski crystal beads have an Aurora Borealis (AB) finish, which is a blend of rainbow colors. Since Swarvoski crystal contains a minimum of 32% lead, many prisms are created when the cut crystal reflects light. The AB finish increases the effects by creating rainbow prisms of color in the light.

Crystal beads are available in many sizes and shapes such as round faceted, cube, heart-shaped and bi-cone. Bi-cone crystal beads have tapered ends. Drop bi-cones have a hole on one end only so the bead drops down in jewelry such as earrings, necklaces and bracelets. Many different types of beaded crystal jewelry can be created to suit different fashion looks.

In addition to crystal beads, Swarvoski and other companies make crystal pendants in shapes such as stars, teardrops, crosses, crescents and snowflakes. Completed crystal jewelry is sold, as well as beads and pendants to craft stores. Crystal beaded and pendant jewelry are popular for bridal fashions and these pieces are often clear with touches of the wedding color. Some jewelry design companies make custom bridal crystal jewelry, with the clients choosing the crystal beads and pendants they want in their wedding day accessories.

Bridal boutiques may carry crystal jewelry designed to be worn by the wedding party.
Bridal boutiques may carry crystal jewelry designed to be worn by the wedding party.

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Discussion Comments


In addition to natural quartz beads and other natural gemstone beads (e.g. rose quartz, amethyst, citrine, etc.), you may also want to wrap or mount natural crystals and minerals into your jewelry. This can add a cutting edge quality to your design, something completely original (since no two natural crystals - whether a crystal point, cluster, or tumbled stone) is alike.

It's better to pick them in person rather than to buy on the internet due to the huge variation in size, color and shape.


@lighth0se33 – Custom made bridal jewelry is very special. That's why my friend had hers made by her cousin, who owns her own crystal fashion jewelry shop. She comes up with all her own designs and sells them there.

Her designs are inexpensive, but my friend didn't care about having an outlandishly priced wedding, so she was glad to take advantage of the low prices on pretty jewelry. Her cousin designed not only her necklace, bracelet, and earrings for the special day, but she also made her a beautiful crystal tiara to go in her hair.

The crystals were super sparkly. They were clear, but they caught the sunlight and shot rainbows around the room as she walked down the aisle.


When my best friend got married, she and everyone in her bridal party wore crystal bridal jewelry. She picked out the colors to match the theme of her wedding, and I was glad to get to keep the necklace after the wedding was over.

As bridesmaid gifts, she gave us all pink crystal necklaces in the shape of a rose. They were beautifully crafted and went perfectly with our rose-colored bridesmaids' gowns.

In addition to the necklace, she also wore a pair of dangling rose crystal earrings. The fact that the church was stocked with roses that day made her jewelry very fitting.


I prefer Austrian crystal jewelry to real stones. I love how the facets catch and scatter the light, and the pieces I have seen have been very affordable.

At my local store, I can find Austrian crystal jewelry designed for kids and teens, and it costs under $10. This type of jewelry makes a great gift, and they always appreciate getting shiny things.

I have a pair of Austrian crystal stud earrings that have become my favorite. They are big, faceted purple crystals, and their simplicity is stunning.

There is something about crystals that is just magical. They seem alive with moving colors, and they are never boring, because they are always changing.


I have some pieces of Swarovski crystal snowflake jewelry that are so delicate and beautiful. When the sunlight hits them, they shine with rainbow colors. At sunset, they even reflect the bright orange that lights up the sky.

I have a snowflake crystal necklace and a pair of earrings to match. Each piece has several spikes emanating from a center. The crystal is clear, which is why it reflects colors so easily.

The set of jewelry was a bit more expensive than it would have been if it were costume jewelry, but for what it is, it wasn't a bad price at all. It is high quality crystal, and I am happy with it.


@DentalFloss- I agree with you. I'm not great at making jewelry myself, but I have a friend who does, and there are also a couple of nice and sort of funky little jewelry stores in my town that sometimes have unusual pieces. So many stores sell really generic, wholesale crystal jewelry with almost no character to it. I prefer handcrafted jewelry of all kinds, crystal or otherwise.


I love making handmade crystal bead jewelry. Beads made from semi-precious stones, cut glass, and crystal is not very expensive, and it can be really fun to experiment and try new techniques. It is not so hard to learn, whether you're using elastic string, wires, or another type of stranding, and I think it can be so much more interesting looking than a lot of the fashion crystal jewelry in stores these days; a lot of it looks way too similar to me, and it's not really that high quality.


Is there a place where I can buy crystal costume jewelry? I love the look of crystal but honestly I cannot afford many of the pieces that catch my eye. I have looked around in several local jewelry and resale shops but I have never been able to find costume jewelry that contains crystals. Maybe there is someplace online that someone can recommend? Thanks!


I have a crystal brooch that belonged to my grandmother. It is absolutely stunning and one of the nicest pieces of jewelery that I own. I am not real big on jewelery in general but I love this piece and wear it as often as I can.

Unfortunately, for all it beauty it is kind of gawdy. It is pretty big and it definitely catches the light. When you are wearing it it can't help but be seen. I usually wear it on fancy or formal occasions. regardless, it is kind of a family heirloom at this point and I would never dream of getting rid of it.


@anon85240-- You're right. Swarovski crystals aren't quartz because quartz is a natural mineral found in the earth. Swarovski is completely man made and the different colors of the crystal is made by the use of various chemicals, so the colors aren't natural as it is with quartz.

I think the confusion stems from the fact that people often label Swarovski as quartz. Maybe it's done to compare it to real quartz gemstones but it makes people think that it's the one and the same.

I'm not sure but Swarovski might also offer real nature-made quartz gems as well, in which case it still will carry the brand name. So that might be another reason for confusion.

I've never bought man-made Austrian crystal jewelry so I'm not sure about the price. Does anyone know how jewelry with man-made and nature-made crystals compare in price?


I like sparkly jewelry because it catches the light and I think it highlights the face too because my skin appears brighter when I wear crystal jewelry earrings.

I don't have a specific preference for the kind of crystal except that it be conflict-free and environmentally friendly. I don't ever buy diamonds for example because not only is it very expensive but many diamonds are also conflict diamonds and come from places where there is conflict and slave labor is used.

Crystals like Swarovski, or any other crystal for that matter, has the same visual affect as diamonds, but it is affordable and people are not exploited in the process of acquiring them. I've already told my boyfriend that I prefer a crystal ring rather than a diamond when he proposes.


Pure quartz sand is used to make Swarovski crystal, but it's blended with natural minerals, then heated and cooled to form the product.


I'm not an expert on Swarovski crystal, but I know that it isn't quartz. Clear quartz can only be irradiated and heat treated into a limited number of colors.

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