The shimmering quality of a jewelled piece capturing the light, the beauty of its glow absorbed by its wearer – Swarovski does glamour like no other.
While defining luxury might be a fickle pursuit, Swarovski has always been at the top of their game. Constantly one step ahead of its competitors, the company has always astounded with its revolutionary and visionary innovations. In this article, we’ll delve into exactly what is Swarovski.
Worn by Marlene Dietrich in Blonde Venus, Marilyn Monroe in the film Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Swarovski crystals are very much in demand. The Swarovski range isn’t limited to jewelry, there’s also home decor and accessories such as smartphone cases and sunglasses.
What is Swarovski? | An In-depth Guide
While the brilliance of these products are easy to see, what history and hush-hush processes lie beneath their mesmerizing pieces? We’ll take you on a guide through the various elements of what makes and made Swarovski the cornerstone of the crystal cutting industry.
History of the Swarovski Company
Growing up in Bohemia, Daniel Swarovski was always intrigued by the wonders of glass. Born in 1862, the son of a glass cutter who owned a small glass factory, he was introduced to the art of this practice at a very young age.
In 1892 Daniel Swarovski patented a specialized electrical cutting machine to produce lead glass crystals. The advanced inner workings of this electric cutting machine created man-made gemstones like never before.
The family-owned company, first named A.Kosmann, D. Swarovski & Co, was founded in 1895 by Armand Kosman, Daniel Swarovski, and Franz Wens. To this day a descendant of the great Daniel Swarovski remains on the executive board, five generations down the line.
A Game Changer of the Fashion & Jewelry Industry
Swarovski is most widely associated with the sublime spectacles of the fashion and jewelry world.
The beauty and elegance of Swarovski jewelry has always dazzled its viewers. From gorgeous Swarovski rings to the iconic swan necklace, these crafted pieces can only be described as wearable art.
The Swarovski company, however, does so much more than merely produce jewelry. The unmatched abilities of their patented processes is where they truly shine, veering outside of the convides of ordinary crystal jewelry producers.
During 1956, Manfred Swarovki and Christian Dior collaborated to create Aurora Borealis crystals to incorporate in Dior’s designs.
This led to the creation of the Aurora Borealis (AB) effect, the manufactured crystal coating solution which produces a magnificent rainbow-like luster to its gems. This became one of Swarovski’s most popular contributions to the fashion community.
With their on-going success, Swarovski found a way to further expand into the fashion market. The company created Swarovski Elements, loose man-made crystals to be purchased and used by the fashion and jewelry industry to feature in their products.
These crafted crystals can be found in various luxury products by the tell-tale “Made by Swarovski Elements” label.
In addition to crystals, Swarovski also use zirconia in some of their jewelry. Swarovski Zirconia is considered to be superior to cubic zirconia, thanks to the Swarovski Pure Brilliance Cut which has 57 facets.
Swarovski Brand Production Process
Known for various game-changing businesses, Swarovski crystal production is what first comes to mind when this brand name is mentioned.
Taking a look at the most expensive diamonds of the world, it’s hard to imagine what makes these gemstones so costly. This could be due to the fact that diamonds are often associated with wealth and grandeur. People have always been drawn to the seemingly rare and unattainable.
The company’s vision is rooted in the desire to produce “a diamond for everyone”. Capitalizing on the diamond market, the brand focuses on offering a similar bewitching brilliance of a diamond, but as a cost-effective alternative.
While the company is primarily known for crafting high-quality crystals, their products can’t technically be classified as crystals. They are actually a type of crystal glass created at high temperatures.
A long-established company secret regarding their complicated manufacturing process remains protected to this day, an air of mystery embedded in each masterpiece.
The gems are fabricated out of a variety of materials such as sand, natural minerals, and quartz to ultimately produce lead glass that has undergone a patented process. A number of methods are in place to give Swarovski that diamond-like finish:
Higher Refraction Index
A refraction index in a gemstone is the bending of a ray of light through or outwards of the object. This ultimately means that a product with a high refraction index will be more sparkly and shiny.
Swarovski gemstones are therefore produced with a unique cutting machine for a higher refraction index to resemble the luster that natural diamonds produce.
Keep your Swarovski crystal jewelry clean by polishing it with a soft cloth. Avoid exposing your jewelry to direct sunlight for extended periods.
The Swarovski production process does not leave any stone unturned. Polishing processes are implemented to further offer the desired glitter of a diamond, for an extra added shine.
Aurora Borealis Coating
This process is usually implemented on specifically the Aurora Borealis crystals of Swarovski. This includes metallic chemical coatings that create a rainbow-like brilliance to the product.
In late 2012, Swarovski launched the “Advanced Crystal”, ensuring that all their products are manufactured virtually lead-free. This improved formula was incorporated to reflect the standards and importance of sustainability within the company’s business values.
Associated Businesses of the Swarovski Group
Various businesses fall under the Swarovski name. Their wide range of creative departments showcases the embedded relevance of the brand in various practices across the world. Some examples of these departments include:
Established in 2007 by Nadja Swarovski, Atelier Swarovski focuses on offering high-end jewelry and accessories to the world.
They expanded to Atelier Swarovski Homeware in 2016, producing luxury homeware to furnish and decorate your house in style. These products included exquisite crystal glass stemware amongst other lavish items to add a sense of class to any occasion.
This luxurious entity collaborates with iconic fashion houses to create a variety of high-tailored products with opulence ingrained within their every seem. These collaborations include working with fashion icons such as Karl Lagerfeld and Jean-Paul Gaultier.
The brand is also proud to offer Swarovski Created Diamonds, fabricated gemstones made by a simulation of natural processes which real diamonds undergo. These lab-grown diamonds are identical to their natural counterparts with the same chemical composition yet they are a fraction of the price.
Generally known for capitalizing on the delicate finesse of glass, the Swarovski Group also produces products for practical use.
Interestingly, Daniel Swarovski’s son, Wilhelm, created a customized set of binoculars that led to the creation of Swarovski Optik in 1949. Swarovski Optik manufactures optical instruments such as telescopes and binoculars.
If you are visiting Innsbruck in Austria, don’t miss Swarovski Kristallwelten. This amazing visitor attraction boasts a mirror room by famous artist Yayoi Kusama and many other immersive experiences.
Silent Light is a dazzling snowfall exhibit by Tord Bontje and Technoalpin. In the Swarovski Crystal World garden, admire the Carousel, decorated with 15 million Swarovski crystals and the Playtower spread over 4 levels.
How to Tell if Your Swarovski Crystals are Genuine?
Not sure how to tell if a Swarovski crystal is real? If you see bubbles or an oily layer on your purchased gem you possibly fell into the imitation trap.
Cutting hard materials so that they have identical facets is extremely hard to do and requires complex machinery. That’s why imitations will most likely be poor quality.
It’s a good idea to purchase your Swarovski crystals from a Swarovski store or accredited retailer. Here are some other tips to help you distinguish real Swarovski from imitations.
- Genuine Swarovski crystals should be presented in the original Swarovski branded packaging, with a laser-etched Swarovski Swan logo. This applies to all Swarovski products from 1989 onwards.
- For products made by Swarovski partner brands, such as Swarovski crystal beads and fancy stones for crafting, look for the silver colored seal emblazoned “Crystals from Swarovski”. Each seal tag comes with a unique 16 digit code that can be checked online.
- Each facet juncture should point upwards, with all facet junctures meeting at the same point.
- There should be no bubbles in the crystal.
- The crystals should be scratch free.
- Crystals from the same color range should be identical.
- Each crystal should have a high luster.
Final Thoughts on the Legendary Sensation of Swarovski
Swarovski has always been a pinnacle in the art of ground-breaking craftsmanship, unparalleled creativity and the highest quality, representing a prime example of a powerhouse company structure.
With the qualities of an all-encompassing luxury brand, Swarovski can simply not be placed in one box. From the bejeweled work featuring in the designs of Louis Vuitton to high-tech manufacturing tools, the brand captivates with its diverse expertise.
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Source: Luxury Columnist