September 22, 2013

Glamorous History of Swarovski Crystals

Elucidating the mystery of the stones.

Swarovski Crystal is one of the most recognized names in crystal in the world. Noted for its unique colors and coatings, and sparkling clarity it's no wonder it is highly sought after by jewelry collector's everywhere. Many people recognize the name of Swarovski crystal in jewelry because it is so unique...

Swarovski crystals’ history is really interesting and even glamorous - we are after all talking about brilliant stones here – but before getting into that, we believe it is necessary to first clear up something: what are crystals? Yes, many of you probably already know the answer to this question, but we bet that there are many others who are awed by the beauty of this special glass (there’s a hint) without having an idea what it really is.

As mentioned above, glass and crystal are strongly related…like cousins we might say. This makes another thing clear: crystal glass, or lead glass, or lead crystal is not something that you find in mines, caves or under rocks. It is something that people make in factories.

Glass is made of silica (sand), burnt lime stone and soda (chemically combined sodium and not a refreshment, of course). All these, if melt together at extremely high temperatures, will form glass – the so common material that surrounds us everywhere today.

But if you add one more thing to the composition – lead – the result is substantially different. Only small amounts of lead can turn what should have been normal glass into a similarly looking material only much stronger and resistant. Another main characteristic of this “special glass” is its high refractivity. All these mean that the lead glass can be cut and faceted just like any gemstone and it has a fascinating glare.

Needless to say, the Swarovski company has its own secret recipe for their world-famous crystals, but what makes them so special is not the combination of ingredients but the superior cutting and polishing methods that they use.

Unique shine

You might have noticed the special glare that these stones have. Well you should know that they don’t come like that from the “oven”. In order to obtain a rainbow spectrum of refracted light, the cut stones need to be coated in a special metallic chemical. The most famous of these substance is the Aurora Borealis, which was a brilliant invention of the 1950s. other such coating substances are the Dorado, the Aurum, the Crystal Transmission and the Volcano. The stones can get two layers of coating and when they do, they are called Dorado 2X, Aurum 2X etc.

More than a century of tradition

The Swarovski name never stopped being famous. It is true that after the Great Depression and then the Second World War people did not feel like spending money on jewelry and crystals were not the first thing on ordinary people’s minds. But the company recovered soon from this period of illness and it continued to spread beauty and glare around the world.

On its 100th anniversary, the Swarovski company opened their amazing indoor theme park. The theme? Well crystals, of course! The Swarovski Kristallwelten (which means Crystal Worlds) is situated in Wattens, near Innsbruck. It is a wonderful place, decorated with crystal creations, beautiful waterworks, labyrinths and enchanting light effects. A place definitely worth visiting! Especially while wearing your precious Swarovski watch – just to match the scenery.

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