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Rhinestones How-To Library
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How to Use Rhinestones in Jewelry Design

Oh, jewelers. Does Swarovski ever have the goods for you. Diamonds are out of your materials budget and way beyond your customers' budget. There’s too much pressure there. In founder Daniel Swarovski's mind, he set out to create "a diamond for every woman." Something beautiful, sparkling, mood lifting. So what is the difference between a diamond and a rhinestone? A diamond is mined, created over decades/centuries from the pressure of earth on natural coal until its molecules are squished, heated with friction and eventually condensed like a balsamic reduction on a nice breast of duck. Cubic zirconia was developed to replicate the blazing white sparkle of diamonds. Rhinestones, on the other hand, were created to mimic the rainbow effect seen in leaded quartz pebbles that gleamed on the banks of the Rhine River. Since no one has to wait centuries for rhinestones to be formed or blast them out of caves and bypass stringent trade barriers, they cost a whole lot less than diamonds.

Rhinestones can be manufactured from acrylic, glass or doctored up glass: crystal. Traditional crystal recipes added lead to glass, which breaks up the light, bringing out the full color spectrum. It also makes the glass denser, softer and easier to cut, which means finer precision facets to really bounce the light around. Modern crystal recipes, such as Advanced Crystal from Swarovski® (PDF), have basically eliminated lead from the manufacturing process, but still managed to create a crystal that sparkles just as brilliantly. It’s their own secret, I guess. For more on the making of crystal, read our blog article, What is a Rhinestone? A True Fairy Tale.

We offer access to the full lineup of Swarovski® crystal elements, whether or not they are part of our regular stock. Fine jewelers will gravitate towards itty bitty pointed back chatons to set in their metals—we have sizes as small as 1.35mm. That’s tiny! For those who like to string 'em along, there's a whole collection of pendants, bicone beads and sew on stones in all shapes and sizes. The BeCharmed series features large hole pavé beads in every color and texture. Bold and chunky styles love the 3D cushion back crystals, referred to as Fancy Stones. They can be pressed into resins or acrylics, captured in metal settings and sewn onto fabrics or encased in felted fibers of wool. Leatherworkers can make cuffs and creative bib necklaces with the crystal & metal fusion elements in the Crystal Applicator Tool collection: rivets, snaps and buttons can inspire endless ideas, and are applied with the squeeze of a hand tool.

We can also help with branding your jewelry and accessories with the Swarovski logo, thanks to the Ingredient Branding Program. Let your customers know they're getting the biggest name in crystal. What's in a name? The unbeatable worldwide standard in quality.

But, don’t forget, we carry more qualities than just Swarovski. If you work with flat backs, we have a line for every budget. We can help you choose your quality. From there, choosing your color will be easy, as each quality line offers its own selection of beautiful colors.

Size plays a very important role in the design of small pieces such as jewelry, as opposed to, say, a full bridal gown or a large wall panel. The largest selection of sizes will be offered in the Swarovski quality line. We have tools and charts available to help you choose your size.

We offer small quantity and bulk packaging options to ensure that you are getting the best value for your project needs. We can help you choose your quantity.

See other sections of our How-To library for more help with the design process or application.

Rhinestones Unlimited: Learn. Shop. Sparkle.