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    

Vintage Sal Gold Tone Rhinestone Swarovski Herringbone Chain Choker NecklaceSwarovski Crystal Galet Pierced Earrings Swarovski Swan Signature Parure "xo" Bracelet, Brooch, Earrings NrSigned Swarovski Pave Christmas Tree Pin Brooch 1998Vintage Rhinestone Jewelry Lot Swarovski Necklace Earring Set Broaches Charms Vintage Designer Signed Swarovski Enamel Nautical Boat Anchor Costume Bracelet3d Vintage Swarovski Enamel Rhinestone Bee Brooch PinGorgeous Vintage Swarovski Pin -- Jeweled Tassel Key Vintage Richard Kerr Clip On Earrings, Swarovski Aurora Borealis Rhinestones WowNib Swarovski Signed Polly Small Doll Pendant Mint In Box 1110381Vtg / Mod Lot Of 75+ Jewelry Many Designer Signed! Monet Swarovski Trifari Avon+Antique Sarah Coventry Rau Klikit Necklaces Swarovski Brighton Pendant Charm NrSigned Swarovski Rare Vintage Squirrel With Golden Acorn Brooch PinSwarovski Bella Golden Shadow Pierced Earrings 901640 Jewellery Crystal In BoxLarge Vintage Jewelry Lot Trifari Swarovski Coro Monet Crystals Sterling100% Swarovski Rhinestone Rope Lot Strips Settings Vtg Nos Jewelry Design CraftsCute Signed Eisenberg Ice Enamel Snowman Brooch Pin Swarovski Rhinestones WinterStunning Vintage Estate Gold Tone Signed Swarovski Rhinestone Earrings!!! 4074nVintage Swarovski Crystal Christmas Tree Pin Brooch NibSwarovski Crystal Pastel Bezel Set Necklace & Earrings - Swan Signed Slake Black Braided Bracelet Crystal Swarovski Jewelry #5005052Swarovski Petite Nirvana Ring 5/6Authentic Swarovski Teardrop Clear Crystals Swan Mark Gold Tone Earrings Swarovski Swan Signed Cherub Christmas Pin Gold Tone Enamel Wreath Pin Vintage Swarovski Necklace & Bracelet Ab Swarovski Crystal Bead'sSwarovski Empty Super Clean Jewelry Box Bracelet/necklace Etc.Old Swarovski Necklace & Earrings Set. Vintage Signed Swarovski Gold Tone Black Enamel Crystal Huggie Pierced EarringsSwarovski Crystal Retired 3d Enamel Emerald/amethyst Hot Air Balloon Pin Must C!Earrings Swarovski Hallmark Dangling Long Hoops And Round Post Back Huge Vtg Signed S.a.l Swarovski Crystal Faux Pearl Drop Earrings + NecklaceSwarovski- Signed-swan Logo- Tack Pin-gold Tone-pear Shape-green Crystal- Nice! New Vtg $92 Vonelle Swarovski Full Lead Crystal Earrings Faux Sapphire/ruby/goldVintage Beautiful Swarovski Crystal Stunng Enamel Tree Brooch PinPair Clip Swarovski Goldtone Hoop Loop Earrings W/ 2 Rows Pave Crystals On Card38mm Ab Swarovski Crystal 8950-8031 Fairy Wing Prism Pendant 1.5"Genuine Swarovski Swan Logo - Lot Of Two (2) Pairs Of Pierced EarringsVintage Signed With A Swan Logo Swarovski Crystal Black Enamel EarringsHeidi Daus Swarovski Crystal Pendant Necklace Pearl Bead Pink Purple VintageRare Vintage Sparkling Crystal Skiing Bear Brooch Pin Signed Swarovski Vintage Swarovski Crystal Sphere Necklace - Authentic/signedSwarovski Swan Signed Vintage Open Bezel Set Crystal Gold Tone Necklace Rare Swarovski Dog Puppy Crystal Pin/brooch PairJ1978 *swarovski* Swan Signed Blue/clear Crystal Dove In Flight Brooch Pin Vtg 80s High End Earrings Swarovski Rhinestone Runway Massive Long Byzantine ModVintage Joan Rivers Green Purple Enamel Swarovski Crystal Bow Brooch Pin RibbonSigned Eisenberg Ice Enamel Christmas Tree Brooch Pin Swarovski Rhinestones Vintage Gold Tone Bright Swarovski Cluster Swan Designer Round Clip On EarringsVintage Signed Art Swarovski Rhinestone Brooch 2" X 2.5"Swarovski Crystal Cut Daffodil Flower BroochNwt Authentic Swarovski Crystal Trema Ring # 1181269 Size: 58 (l)Vtg Laguna Six Strand Ab Glass Crystal Necklace Swarovski Saucer Cuts SparklyButler~fifth Avenue Coll. Swarovski Crystal "ginger Tea"necklace &earrings Set -Swarovski Crystal Gillian Y-necklace 678189Swarovski Crystal Double Strand Multi Color Bezel Bracelet - Swan Signed Swarovski Crystal & Gold Snail Brooch/pinBeautiful Vintage Swarovski Crystal Choker Necklace - Authentic/signed100% Swarovski Rhinestone Rope Strips Settings Lot Vtg Nos Jewelry Design CraftsJewel Pin DogEstate Vintage Retro New Jewelry Lot Monet Swarovski