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    

Iradj Moini 3d Beetle Pin Genuine Corals, Amethyst, Citrine & Swarovski CrystalsBeautiful Swarovski Crystal Rhinestone Bracelet Signed Swan 3 Row Tennis NibVintage Swarovski Austrian Usa Crystal Aurora Borealis Bezel Set Necklace 35"Signed Swan Mark Swarovski Amethyst & Pink Bezel Crystal Necklace 36" LongLot Of Vintage Jewelry Sterling Silver 925 Gold Filled Swarovski Laurel BurchVtg.sterling Ring Gold Overlay Signed Nvc 100's Cz's Swarovski Trinket Box Lot !Vintage Swarovski Signed Crystal Rhinestone Massive Hinged Cuff BraceletVintage Signed Swan Swarovski Clear Crystal Gold Tone Tennis BraceletVintage Swarovski Art Deco Style Rhinestone Crystal Dangle EarringsSigned Swan Mark Swarovski Geometric Colorful Crystal Cord Pendant Necklace 17"lErmani Bulatti Deco Revival Modernist Choker Necklace Swarovski Crystal Runway 12 Ring Vintage Lot! 18k Gold Plated! Large, Swarovski! High End!Vintage Austrian Swarovski Red Bezel Crystal Necklace Signes Swan  Signed Swarovski Vintage Brooch Pin Ribbon Bow Crystal Rhinestones Swan Wow! H42Vtg Designer Signed Swarovski Teal Blue Bezel Set Crystal Gold Plated Bracelet SVintage Runway High End Designer Swarovski Necklace Art Deco Open Bezel CrystalGenuine Swarovski Signed Swan Logo Black & Clear Crystal Goldtone Bezel BraceletSwarovski Crystal/rhodium Flicker Pierced Earrings (973533)Amazing Signed Swarovski Sterling Silver And Crystal Toucan Bird Pin BroochSwarovski Swan Signed Crystal Bells Brooch Retired Rare BeautifulSwarovski Crystal Elephant Brooch Swarovski Swan Logo Raised Trunk Retired NrAuthentic 100% Swarovski BraceletVintage Savvy Swarovski Aurora Borealis Crystal Bracelet Orig. Tag! Swarovski Crystal Memories Mini Rose Pin/brooch Mint W/box W/ Swan LogoSigned Swarovski Swan 70s Couture Gold Red Green Purple Crystal 24" Vtg NecklaceVintage Lot Of 11 Picture Portrait Cameo Brooches Warner Florenza SwarovskiSwarovski Swan Signed Crystal Dangle Hoop Pierced EarringsGenuine Swarovski Signed Swan Logo Multi-color Crystal Gold Tone Bezel BraceletVintage Rare Givenchy Bird With Swarovski Crystals Broche/pinSwarovski *rare* Vintage Toy Soldier Brooch Pin Enamel Crystals Ruby Navette K21Signed Swarovski Vintage Brooch Pin Golf Club Sport Pearl Rhinestone Enamel! 554Swan Signed Swarovski Crystal Guilloche Enamel Moon Celestial Earrings As IsVintage Swarovski Signed Ab/clear Square Crystal Bead And Rhinestone Bracelet****unique Heidi Daus Swarovski Crystals On Turquoise Beaded Necklace****Huge 400+ Vintage Jewelry Swarovski Ab /colorful Rhinestone Lot~crafts~repairVtg Designer Christian Dior Gold Tone Clear Swarovski Crystal Clip On EarringsVintage Signed Coro Crystal Necklace Swarovski - 99 Yr Old Aunt's CollectionSwarovski S.a.l. Signed Crystal "c" 3/4 Hoop Post Back EarringsSigned Swan Mark Swarovski Topaz Bezel Crystal Necklace 7.5" L W/ .50" ExtenderSigned Swarovski Swan Vintage Charm Pendant Crystal Purse Handbag Mint! J27Swarovski Swan Signed Bracelet And Earrings Set Gold Tone With Swarovski CrystalSwarovski Crystal Memories Angel Accessories Brooch Pin Box & Booklet EucSwarovski Crystal Gorilla Charm Bracelet100% Swarovski Rhinestone Rope Strips Settings Lot Vtg Nos Jewelry Design CraftsSwarovski Pink Crystal Y Necklace - Snake Chain - SignedGenuine Signed Swarovski Swan Logo Pink Crystal Gold Tone Bezel BraceletGenuine Swarovski Signed Swan Logo Green Crystal Gold Tone Bezel BraceletVintage Signed Sal Swarovski Crystal Red Rhinestone Goldtone Earrings - PiercedSwarovski Austrian Crystal Point Pendant Prism Ornament Suncatcher Carved Spear Swarovski Crystal Gorilla Charm BraceletSwarovski Crystal Small Pin Tie Tack Gold Ladybug Crystals Shine So Beautifully Vintage Estate Swarovski Crystal Bronze Tone Dangle Pierced Earrings!! Lot 3504mVintage Necklace Dual Strand Yellow Glass Beads Swarovski Crystals All Glass K44Authentic Swarovski Nirvana Ring - Size 58Big 600+ Vintage Jewelry Swarovski Ab /colorful Rhinestone Lot~crafts~repairSwarovski Crystal Small Pin Tie Tack Bumblebee Crystals Shine So Beautifully Hot!pink Swarovski Clip Earrings & Sweater ChainGenuine Swarovski Signed Swan Logo Rose Crystal Gold Tone Bezel BraceletSwarovski Leaf Display -(2) Brooch Not Included -3 Pair Genuine Swarovski Crystal Pierced Earrings Signed Sa.l. Blue, Red & Clear