Swarovski crystal was initially created by a man called Daniel Swarovski I (1862 - 1956). Daniel was a glass cutter from Bohemia who worked for his father. However, in 1892 he patented his invention - a brand new type of crystal cutting machine.
Where does Swarovski crystal come from?
Swarovski crystal is created in a factory, in Wattens in Austria, using a combination of minerals and quartz sand, a process perfected by Daniel Swarovski and his sons. It contains approximately 32% lead. It does not occur naturally and is not mined. It's quality depends upon the way that it is produced and how the raw material is processed. It has to be cooled slowly to avoid imperfections and inclusions. Swarovski crystal is then cut and polished to a very high standard, in order to perfect its brilliance. Swarovski crystal is purer than glass and is of a higher density, hence the enhanced sparkle.
The crystal is used to make a whole range of ornaments and jewellery pieces, including crystal miniatures, and is highly collectible. The crystal is also sort after for use in light fittings such as chandeliers due to its highly refractive properties.
Sometimes Swarovski crystal is coated with a metallic chemical that enables the light to be refracted in the spectrum of the rainbow (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet). One of the more popular coatings is Aurora Borealis. Others include Volcano and Dorado.
Swarovski's visitor centre is called Swarovski Crystal World and is in Wattens, Austria. One of the items on display is the world's largest crystal, which weighs an amazing 300,000 carats. Perhaps a little too heavy for a ring!
How can I tell if the ornament I have purchased is genuine Swarovski?
The brilliant and sparkling appearance of an original Swarovski piece is self evident. Also, Swarovksi mark each sculpture with their seal of quality. This used to be an Edelweiss flower, but this was replaced in 1988 with the swan logo, which is used to this day. All the links on this page are to genuine Swarovski collectable pieces.
The company does sell beads for use in jewellery to other manufacturers. These are not individually marked, although if they are packaged by Crystallised Swarovski Elements then they are genuine. This enables other designers to create genuine Swarovksi jewellery.
How should Swarovski crystal be maintained?
Dust the pieces lightly. If they are very dusty you can rinse them in lukewarm water or use the proprietary Swarovski polishing cloth available in the Swarovksi cleaning kit.
No. Swarovski crystal also makes cutting materials for the car industry, and scopes for optical equipment such as binoculars, telescopes and rifles in their Optik department.
What is the SCS club?
Standing for Swarovski Crystal Club, SCS is a worldwide community of members who enjoy collecting Swarovski pieces. Some sculptures are only available to members of this club. In addition, membership allows you free admission to Crystal World in Wattens, an annual membership gift, a free subscription to the in house magazine and a membership card. You can also buy items from the members only section of the website.
A large range available online including a baby frog, rocking horse, mother cat, flower, butterfly, Christmas 2008 ornamnent, swan, a dozen pink roses and blue turquoise Kingfishers. Some items are reduced so look out for the bargains!