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 Rhinestone Jewelry Lot D&e Coro Renoir Victorian Art Deco Swarovski .925Adorable Swarovski Crystal Studded Koala Bear Brooch PinStunning Vintage Signed Swarovski Rhinestone Tear Drop Pierced Earrings!!! 338cVintage-now Jewelry Lot Rings Lockets Mosaic Pendant Swarovski Sterling 3+lbsSwarovski Swan Logo Vintage Rhinestone Necklace+bracelet Set,purple,blue,pink,Joan Rivers~"kaleidoscope"~bee~pin~brooch~swarovski Crystals~bronze Tone~ Vintage Swarovski Signed Gold Red Green Rhinestone Eyes Snail Brooch Pin Cute!Authentic Signed Daniel Swarovski Paris Large Crystal Rhinestone Mesh BraceletSigned Swan Swarovski Purple Elephant Brooch PinGenuine Swarovski Crystal Womens Slim Hinged Gold Plated Bangle Bracelet Nos NrStunning Vintage Gold Tone Signed Swarovski Rhinestone Clip Earrings!!! 335dSwarovski Signed Pink Crystal Heart Necklace Mom 2003 Pendant Vintage Daniel Swarovski D.s. Co Ruby Red Crystal Pave Clip-on EarringsVintage Swarovski Swan Signed Crystal Rhinestone Clip-on EarringsMib Erika Swarovski Necklace/pendant/charm RareSigned Swan Swarovski Gold And Black Crystal Bracelet And Clip On Earrings2 Pins-swarovski-eisenberg-stones-crystals-fish-crown-costume-signed!nr!Signed Givenchy Gold Tone Bar Austrian Foil Back Swarovski Crystal EarringsVtg Swarovski Pave Crystal Rhinestone Heart Gold Tone Pendant ~cord~ Swan LogoVintage Signed S.a.l Swaroski Crystal Pierced Earrings - MintAuthentic Swarovski Bangle Silver Tone Bracelet - Crystal PaveVintage Gold & Silver Tone Clip-on Earring Lot - Avon, Sarah Coventry, SwarovskiVintage Dragonfly Crystal Swarovski Pin Brooch Swan SignedSwarovski Crystal Scs Charm Bracelet Panda + 1 Charm 930685 Endangered Species100% Swarovski Rhinestone Rope Strips Settings Lot Vtg Nos Jewelry Design Crafts3 Bracelets, Earrings And A Necklace. Swarovski, Barrera, Richard KerrSwarovski Signed Ruby Red Crystal And Clear Crystal Rhinestone BroochAuthentic Swarovski Signed Cystal Lariat, Stunning Golden Overlay, Nr!Swarovski Crystal Cross Crucifix Prism Ornament Suncatcher Pendant , 40mmSwarovski Puzzle Clear Crystal Pierced Earrings 1108944 Jewellery Bargain In BoxVintage Swarovski Crystal Belt BraceletsSwarovski Cage RingSwarovski Angelic Ring # 1081945 Size 6/s 52 Gold Plated Crystal JewelleryVintage Signed S.a.l. Swaroski Crystal Pierced Earrings - MintSwarovski Rhinestone Rope Strips Lot Settings Vtg Nos Jewelry Design Crafts 7Large Swarovski Runway Couture Crystal Rhinestone Clip Earrings ~ Swan Logo100% Swarovski Rhinestone Rope Lot Strips Settings Vtg Nos Jewelry Design CraftsSwarovski Huggies Earrings Pierced Silver Tone Metal Clear Crystals Signed D Swarovski & Co Cut Crystal Bud Gold Tone Rose Flower Large Brooch PinStunning Vintage Estate Signed Sal Swarovski Crystal Beaded Necklace!!! 334aMarked S.a.l. Swarovski Crystal Rhinestone & Simulated Pearl Pierced EarringsSigned Swarovski~crystal~ Little Red Dress ~tack Pin Brooch~ Nib Swarovski Signed Gold Tone Rhinestone Bangle Bracelet Vintage ?Signed Swarovski Crystal And Enamel Honey Bee Pin / Brooch - Retired L@@k!!Swarovski Nirvana Raspberry Flash Ring Size 52/6 - Retail $190Nwt Authentic Swarovski Starlet Heart Pierced Earrings #5007741Authentic Swarovski Heart With Pearl Pendant Necklace 1058472Lot Vtg Rhinestone Costume Jewelry Swarovski Crystal Eisenberg Earrings PendantSwarovski Swan Signed Clear Crystal Circle Wreath Pin BroochVintage Swarovski Swan Crystal Collar NecklaceSwarovski Crystal Earrings Clips SignedSwarovski Runway Couture Crystal Rhinestone Honeycomb Clip Earrings ~ Swan LogoVintage Signed Swarovsky Praying Angel Crystal Pin Brooch100% Swarovski Rhinestone Rope Strips Settings Lot Vtg Nos Jewelry Design CraftsAuthentic Swarovski Pendant NecklaceAll Swarovski Single Rhinestones In Settings 100 Round Crystal Lot Vtg JewelrySilver Clip-on Earrings With Inset Square & Drop/dangle Swarovski Cube CrystalsSwarovski Vintage Estate Signed Rhinestone Crystal Clear Gold Tone Earrings ClipSwarovski Swan Signed Silver Christmas Peace Dove Pin BroochRare Swarovski 116 Pin Candle Holder - Retired