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Swarvski® Crystal History & Guide

Swarovski® is the world's leading producer of precision-cut crystal. It is made in Austria and considered to be the finest in the world. Genuine Swarovski® Crystals are the only crystals used in Designs by Debi jewelry.

History of Swarovski and its Founder

Daniel Swarovski I was born in a small village in Georgenthal, Bohemia (then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire) in 1862. He was born into the world of crystal. His father owned a glass factory where Daniel eventually did an appreticeship, hand-cutting crystal for the glass and fashion jewelry industry.

In 1883, at the age of 21, Swarovski attended the First Electrical Exhibition in Vienna. He recognized the significance electricity could have on his industry and set out to develop an electric crystal cutting machine that could automatically cut crystals perfectly. He succeeded and took out a patent on his machine in 1892.

In 1895, Daniel Swarovski, financier Armand Kosman and his brother-in-law Franz Weis founded the Swarovski Company, originally known as A. Kosman, Daniel Swarovski & Co. He moved his family to Wattens, Austria to establish a crystal-cutting factory, taking advantage of the local hydroelectricity for the energy-intensive grinding processes of his invention.

During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, crystals were used in formal evening wear. This was Swarovski's first market. In 1908 Daniel's three sons, Wilhelm, Friedrich and Alfred, joined Swarovski; an addition that boded well for the future of the company. During 1908 the men started to experiment making, as well as cutting, crystals and by 1913, Swarovski had succeeded in making flawless crystals which they would only sell to the fashion industry.

The company managed to survive through hard times during World War I by developing tools like the grinding wheel introduced in 1919. They began offering crystal trimmings (crystals on ribbon) for clothes and shoes. And eventually expanded even more growing into an international company with multiple subsidiaries.

In addition to manufacturing crystals for the fashion industry and, of course, their world-famous crystal figurines, they now offer crystals to jewelry designers around the world through CRYSTALLIZED™ Swarovski® Elements; jewelry, handbags, watches and accessories in their Daniel Swarovski Collection; contemporary chandelier and lighting elements known as STRASS® Swarovski® Crystal and telescopes and binoculars through SWAROVSKI OPTIK.

The factory was relocated to a new site in Wattens and the famous Swarovski Crystal Worlds (Swarovski Kristallwelten) now sits on the original factory site. The museum, built in celebration of the company's first 100 years, showcases crystal works of art by renowned artists and is one of Austria's favorite tourist attractions.

Daniel Swarovski died on January 23, 1956 at the age of 94. The Swarovski Group is still family-owned and run by a group of 4th and 5th generation family members and continues its dedication to precision, perfection, innovation and exploring the endless possibilities of crystal.

About the Crystals

Swarovski® Crystal is lead crystal. It contains approximately 32% lead which is what gives the glass a higher refraction index creating the mesmerizing sparkling effect these crystals are known for.

Swarovski also applies various finishes to some of its crystals...AB, CAL, Golden Shadow...producing a variety of effects. The AB and AB2x, aurora borealis, finishes are my favorite. This finish gives them a brilliant sparkling effect inspired by the Northern Lights. AB crystals have the finish on one side and AB2x have it on both.

Taking into account all the crystal colors and all the effects, there are hundreds of possibilities available. You can find a guide to Swarovsk®i Crystal Colors here.

Swarovski® Crystals also come in a wide variety of shapes. You can find a guide to Swarovski® Crystal Shapes here.

Swarovski® Crystals are commonly used for birthstones as you see in my
Personalized Keepsake Bracelets. You can find a guide to the Swarovski® Crystal birthstone colors here.


SWAROVSKI, CRYSTALLIZED™ - Swarovski® Elements,
the Daniel Swarovski Collection, STRASS® Swarovski® Crystal and
SWAROVSKI Optik are all trademarks owned by The Swarovski Group.

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