What is crystal?
Who has never at some time been captivated by the magical
sparkle of crystals? Adults and children alike are drawn
to the myriad colours emanating from these prism-like glass
Not to be confused with
naturally forming crystal, these
sparklers are manufactured from glass, which is then
skilfully cut and polished to produce items such as beads
for jewellery, vases and so on.
The House of Swarovski
This world-renowned company with its familiar
‘Swan’ logo is considered the market leader in the
production of fabulous crystal.
We see samples of their products all around us from
tiny crystal sculptures to magnificent chandeliers. Often,
the sparkle we see on stage and screen when only the best
will do, is courtesy of the house of Swarovski.
It is thought that the origins of glass go back to ancient
Mesopotamia. Archaeologists have managed to unearth early
samples of surprisingly good quality that date back to
around 3000BC. Over the centuries, techniques in glass
manufacture using the basic raw materials of silica
(sand), lime and potash have been perfected, including the
addition of lead which improved its sparkle and
Glass manufacture spread to Europe and flourished in Venice in
the 13th century. The industry expanded from there and by
the mid 1800s, Bohemia became recognised as one of the top
regions for quality glass and crystal.
It was in this environment, in 1862, that Daniel Swarovski
was born into a family of Bohemian glass cutters. He had
the opportunity to watch closely the skilled cutters at
work, and study their techniques. He entered the family
business and served his apprenticeship. At this time,
glass cutting was a long slow process with inevitable
It was Daniel Swarovski's forward vision, after a visit to an
Electrical Exhibition, that made him realise the
possibility of automating the cutting process. He worked
on designs for such a machine and succeeded in producing
one which far exceeded the quality of crystal cutting at
that time, a standard which has been maintained right up
to the present day.
Swarovski needed a
reliable and suitable water supply to operate his
equipment, so he and his family re-located to Wattens, in
Austria, where his business went from strength to
To ensure only the highest standard of raw
material for their crystal cutting and polishing, in 1913
Swarovski and his three sons expanded into glass
manufacture. The flawless quality and brilliance of the
crystal they produced was highly acclaimed and much sought
Swarovski crystals' fame spread round the world and were
used by top fashion designers and jewellers in their
creations. One fashion trend was to embroider gowns with
pearls and crystals. Swarovski saw an opportunity and
invented a crystal set fabric ribbon, which could be sewn
onto all manner of articles.
striving for the highest quality and innovation, the
Swarovski company explored new methods of production. In
the 1950s they developed a process which coated the stones
with metal particles. This had an enormous effect on the
crystals, not only increasing their sparkle but radiating
a rainbow of colours. This crystal was named "Aurora
Borealis" and is still popular today. This
lead to further creations of crystals with special colours
and effects such as the Mood stone which changes colour
depending on the wearer's mood, and the Scent stone which
can be filled with perfume.
Although the name of Swarovski is synonymous with quality crystal,
the group are also involved in the manufacture of
synthetic gemstones, cutting tools under the brand name of
Tyrolit, reflective road markings and optical instruments.
it will be for its beautiful crystals that Swarovski will
remain a household name, gracing the 'A' list celebrities
in their designer creations, but still affordable for the
rest of us to appreciate and enjoy wearing.
Swarovski Crystal Section of our catalogue