The Swarovski Story
Daniel Swarovski was an Austrian glass cutter and jeweler born October 24, 1862 in Bohemia. His father was a Slovak glass cutter who owned a small glass factory, and Swarovski first learned the art of glass-cutting in his father’s factory. In 1892 Daniel Swarovski patented an electric cutting machine that facilitated the production of lead crystal glass jewelry.
To this day the Swarovski Company, now in the 5th generation, is still family owned. The company’s traditional production plant is in Wattens, Austria, where each crystal is subject to the most stringent quality controls. The exact recipe and the proportion of quartzes, sand, and minerals remain a company secret that is part of the legacy of pioneer Daniel Swarovski to his three sons.
Swarovski (Swar-off-ski) produces the world’s finest quality crystals. The company’s name has become synonymous with genuine crystal. Swarovski’s specialized manufacturing processes, together with the highest quality raw materials, guarantee the highest possible degree of precision, component quality, consistency, and unmatched brilliance. Imitators abound in every field and, with the ease of creating websites, they now sell knock-off products internationally. If caught, they merely change the name and create a new venue. You will also find these companies at craft, art and bead shows. These people / companies have very low overhead so can afford to sell the knock off products for much less than real Swarovski while still making substantial profits.
Swarovski solution –
Since the color of Swarovski’s hot fix glue was easily copied, they recently copyrighted and patented their newest hot fix glue. A rich rose gold color glue is now used on the back of Swarovski hot fix crystals. There are still a few products available with the older color glue but these will soon be replaced with rose gold backed crystals.
Swarovski quality –
When looking at Swarovski crystals you will find they are perfectly uniform. Since they are ma chine cut, each crystal is the same. This means that the height, width and slope are consistent. A hand polished imitator bead will not have as uniform a cut. You may also notice different dimensions from bead to bead. Because of its special glass compounds, Swarovski crystal will out-sparkle a bead of lesser quality when placed in a side-by-side comparison.
Why is Swarovski crystal so expensive?
Quality, quality, quality and protecting that quality. Creating the best quality products in the world and protecting them is an extremely expensive endeavor. It requires using the highest quality materials, superb workmanship, sophisticated machinery, marketing, patents, trademarks, etc. on an international scale.
Swarovski originally relocated to the remote Wattens
area specifically to protect their products.
Swarovski’s unique machinery precisely cuts each crystal. According to Swarovski, “cutting hard materials such as crystal and gems, in such a way that they have a hundred identical facets in several directions, is a very complicated task; each direction of the reflected light must first be calculated by computer, then this has to be simulated in 3D, optimized and finally converted into control programs for complex machinery.” This is just part of the technology that gives Swarovski crystals their unbelievable flash.
How can I know I am purchasing Swarovski crystals?
When it seems too good to be true, it’s probably not true! Ebay and similar shopping sites offer “Swarovski” at prices so low you can’tresist. These sellers also tend to have shipping rates so low it’s unbelievable. You will find many, many websites selling what they say is Swarovski. Some of these “pepper” their cheap products with a few Swarovski of the same size / color. That way they can say they ARE selling Swarovski! They have no fear of punishment since it’s “white collar crime” or they claim their shipping department made a mistake.
Ways of determining quality:
1) Sometimes glass fragments are inside the packaging. Cheaper rhinestones chip easily.
2) Faceting may be uneven and often appear smooth instead of sharply cut, stones lack true sparkle – often they appear dull.
3) Packaging is shabby and may appear unclean.
4) Factory 10 gross packs are not clearly labeled Swarovski or are not sealed tightly.
5) You can’t pick them up with the BeJeweler – they are not uniform in shape or size.
6) They fall off after a short period of time or just don’t adhere.
7) Shades vary within the same color family.