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History of Swarovski Rhinestones

Definition: rhinestones - colorless imitation stones of high luster made of glass, paste, or gem quartz

Rhinestones are pieces of faceted glass. The original rhinestones were pebbles of rock crystal from the Rhine River (Austria's western boundary). The true sparkle began in about 1775 when a French jeweler named George Frederic Stras had an idea to coat the lower side of glass with metal powder. The resulting quality closely imitated diamonds. They still were not real affordable because the stones were individually handcrafted.

1892 Daniel Swarovski, son of a Bohemian gem cutter, applied for a patent on his first invention: a machine that cuts crystal jewelry stones with unprecedented precision.

1895 Swarovski moves to Austria, where his invention could be powered by water, to set up a factory specializing in the production of cut crystal jewelry stones. Success in producing rhinestones economically without compromising the quality of the cut is achieved which meant acceptance in the jewelry industry.

1911 Daniel and his three sons refine methods to produce stones to a state of flawless brilliance. 1917 the company succeeds in producing grinding wheels for cutting crystal stones to increase production capacity.

1955 the Aurora Borealis is presented; a coating is applied to crystal stones to produce a rainbow of colors effect.

1956 Daniel dies at the grand old age of 94 leaving one of Austrians largest companies and one of the world's largest producers of rhinestones which exports 80% of its production.

Swarovski has continued to develop its line of rhinestones and crystal trims under the trade name "Swarovski Elements". Read more about Swarovski's latest flat back rhinestone, the Xilion Rose Enhanced Art. 2058. We also present the Swarovski Elements Advanced Crystal (PDF) brochure for your convenience.

As an authorized wholesale reseller of Swarovski Elements, we can special order any item that is not part of our standard product line. We can also assist you in joining the Create-Your-Style with Swarovski Elements program, created by Swarovski to assist retailers and designers.