In the late 19th century, Austrian jeweler Daniel Swarovski devised a foil backing that made his high-quality faceted crystals almost indistinguishable from diamonds. Demand was so great that in 1892 he patented a mechanical cutter so his “stones” could be mass-produced.

The family business was originally located in the Gablonz area of Bohemia, but in 1895 Swarovski moved it to Austria near the Rhine River—his faux gems have been known as rhinestones ever since. Still manufactured in Austria today, the quality of Swarovski crystal remains unmatched.

While most people associate rhinestones with clear glass, these head-turning fakes aren’t only used as diamond copycats. Rhinestones also perform admirably as turquoise, carnelian, onyx, opals, rubies, and just about any other gemstone a jeweler might care to imitate.

Companies and designers who have used Swarovski rhinestones reads like a Who’s Who of the costume-jewelry world. In the 1920s, Coco Chanel catapulted rhinestones into the popular imagination when she made costume jewelry a fashion statement. The bright colors of her enameled animal and bow brooches were accented by clear rhinestones.

In the 1950s, fellow Parisian Elsa Schiaparelli, as well as Albert Weiss of New York, favored Swarovski’s aurora borealis crystals, which had been produced with Christian Dior. Named after the Northern Lights, aurora borealis rhinestones instantly date a piece as post-1955.

Other designers and companies whose work owes a debt to the sparkle of Swarovski include Eisenberg, Trifari, and Hobé.


Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

Researching Costume Jewelry

Researching Costume Jewelry

Jewelry lovers, venture through this amazing database of vintage jewelry articles, catalogs, and brochures, as well… [read review or visit site]

Emerald City Vintage Costume Jewelry

Emerald City Vintage Costume Jewelry

It looks like we're not in Kansas anymore with Elizabeth Rowlands' site on vintage costume jewelry from the 1940s a… [read review or visit site]

Morning Glory Antiques and Jewelry

Morning Glory Antiques and Jewelry

Jewelry collectors, feast your eyes on this internet gem! It's a goldmine of jewelry information featuring all styl… [read review or visit site]

All About Jewels Dictionary

All About Jewels Dictionary

This incredible reference dictionary on jewelry, from Enchantedlearning.com, is both beautiful and comprehensive. S… [read review or visit site]

Cathy Gordon's Jewelry Gallery

Cathy Gordon's Jewelry Gallery

With its vast galleries featuring clear images of jewelry and style, this site really covers it all! Divided up by … [read review or visit site]



Clubs & Associations

Most watched eBay auctions    

Oscar De La Renta $1280 Swarovski Crystal Blue Lgreen Necklace Earring SetVintage Jewellery Silver & Tanzanite Swarovski Crystal Drop Bracelet 'fiorelli'Vintage Jewellery Stunning Swarovski Signed Crystal Link BraceletGiant Estate Jewelry Collection Lot - 10k, 925, Tiffany & Co, Swarovski, & MoreVintage Rhinestone Jewelry Repair Lot Trifari, Selro, Weisner, Weiss, SwarovskiRetired Swarovski Austrian Crystal 2 Ball Pin Style Art Glass Candleholder W BoxSwarovski Flower Pin BroochRetired Swarovski Austrian Crystal 2 Ball Pin Style Candleholder #7600 W/ Box NrSwarovski Star Rockefeller Center Retired Christmas Tree Pin *cib*Swarovski Swan Signed Clear Crystal Wave Tear Drop Bracelet BangleRetired Swarovski Austrian Crystal 7600 Pin Style 3 Ball Art Glass Candleholder Swan Signed Genuine Swarovski Purple Crystal Earrings With Solid 14k Gold PostsVintage 1960s Multi Strand Necklace Made W Swarovski Vitrail Crystal Beads #360aSwarovski Dragonfly Pin BroochSwan Signed Genuine Swarovski Bezel-set Black Crystal 36" Necklace - Gorgeous!Stunning Vintage Estate Signed Swarovski Green Windowpane Gold Tone Set!!! 6181mVintage " Clear White Bezel Set Swarovski Crystal Swan Tag Gold Tone NecklaceRare Ciner Conch Shell Enamel Brooch / Pin SwarovskiVintage Pearls & Baubles Necklace Lot Florenza Atelier Swarovski 5 Pc RunwaySwarovski Austrian Crystal Encased Channel Set Big Citrine Amber 12mm NecklaceVintage Swarovski Clear Austrian 8mm Crystal Channel Bezel Set Signed BraceletVintage 1960s Multi Strand Bracelet Made W Swarovski Vitrail Crystal Beads #230aVintage Signed Swarovski Red Blue Green Crystal Rhinestone Baguette Brooch R3Swarovski Crystal Jewelry Slake Bracelet Lmul Cry Ab/light Green # 5064289Vintage 1945-1950 Eisenberg Ice Gorgeous Green Swarovski Crystals Clip EarringsSwarovski White Ribbon Pin BroochSigned Swarovski Swan Logo Teal Blue Hot Pink Crystal Teardrop Pendant NecklaceSwarovski Signed With Swan Crystal Hinged Bangle Bracelet!Signed Vintage St John Swarovski Crystal~ Rhinestone Bead 18" Necklace~pastelSwarovski Tody Thin Multi Purple Necklace 5043355 Nib 100% AuthenticSwarovksi Slake Black Jet BraceletSwarovski Swordfish Crystal Rhinestone Green Enamel Vtg Pin 1 5/8" BroochDesigner Swan Signed Swarovski Gold Tone Focal Swirl Crystal NecklaceSwarovski Tanzanite Amethyst Bracelet Retired Bargain Crystal Jewelry FashionVintage 80's Glass Crystal Rhinestone Pin Brooch Clip On Earring Set SwarovskiSwarovski Stamp Vintage Brooch Pin Rhinestone Tree Elephant Sparkle W57Vintage Sarah Coventry Necklace Made W Swarovski Hematite Rivoli Crystal #195aVintage Swarovski Clear Rhinestone Circle Gold Tone Pin Brooch SignedJay Strongwater Crystal Pretty Butterlies Pin -(nib)Swarovski Crystal Memories Accessories Whistle Pendant.mib.austria10 Swarovski Bee Tack PinsSwarovski Crystal Earrings For Pierced Ears Cute Jewelry Dangle Stones StunningSwarovski Swan Logo Gold Silver Crystals Dove Pin Brooch Rare Late 1980s Retired Swarovski Crystal Large Grape Brooch 23ct Gold Plated Vintage In Seattle Auctions: Swarovski Goldtone Pearl Look Earrings Signed SalMajestic Heidi Daus Ring "shirli Stunning" Swarovski Crystals Sz 7 3/4Vintage Swarovski Bezel Set Open Crystals Amethyst Blue Green Necklace Swan Swarovski Ivy Ring - Size:55 - UsedSwarovski Bella Mini Pierced Earrings, Rose Gold, Crystal Silver Night (5084706)Authentic Swarovski Lighting Stretch Crystal Bracelet Dark BlueKenny Ma San Francisco Swarovski Necklace Bracelet Set Red & CrystalVintage Swarovski S.a.l. Signed Colorful Enamel Parrot Bird Rhinestone BroochVintage Swarovski Crystal Gold Metal Golf Bag And ChainUltra Gorgeous Weiss Style Brooch Swarovski Elements Golden Christmas Wreath PinSwarovski Crystal & Enamel Mask Pin Nwt Retired No Reserve!Vintage Sarah Coventry Necklace Made W Swarovski Bermuda Blue Rivoli CrystalStunning 20mm Retired Swarovski Heart Prism Red Crystal Suncatcher Pendant #8781Dazzling Vintage Swarovski Crystal Layered Bezel Silver Pierced Flower EarringsVintage Krikor Swarovski Crystal Drop Pendant Necklace Flicker Swarovski Crystal Stud Earrings & Star Pendant Necklace Set 5031325