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    

Signed Christian Dior Brooch Vintage Jewellery Brooch Swarovski Guilloche GoldVintage Swan Signed Swarovski Crystal Enamel Saturn Moon Stars Brooch PinVintage Swarovski Amethyst Crystal Bezel Set 36" Sautoir Necklace- Swan Tag Shimmering Swarovski Crystal Sun, Moon & Stars BroochJay Strongwater Enamel Swarovski Crystal Floral Flower Ladybug Brooch Pin SignedVintage 1950's 60s Swarovski 2 Row Sapphire Blue Ab Crystal Glass Beads NecklaceSwarovski Jewelers Collection Christmas Tree Pin Crystal GoldRare Swarovski Swan 1999 Pave Crystal Brooch Pin Rhinestone Christmas Tree 603Authentic Swarovski Bangle Silver Tone Bracelet - Crystal Pave + EarringsVintage Heidi Daus Ring Amethyst Stone Swarovski Crystals Gorgeous Vintage Gold Tone Signed Sal Swarovski Rhinestone Bracelet!!! 169kFab Big Vintage 1950's Swarovski Vitrail Ab Crystal Glass Bicone Beads NecklaceSwarovski Vintage Butterfly Brooch By Donna Hall-pommenville Mib No ReserveSwarovski Jewelers Collection Polar Bear Pin Broach Crystal Silver WhiteVintage Jewellery Sparkling Signed Swarovski Crystal EarringsV. Pretty Vintage 50's /60's Swarovski Rose Pink Ab Crystal Glass Bead NecklaceVintage Jewellery Genuine Signed Swarovski Bezel Set Open Back NecklaceSwarovski Jewelers Collection Koala Bear Clip Or Pin Broach Crystal Gold BlackSwarovski Vanilla Long Pierced Earrings 5008662 Crystal Jewellery RetiredSwarovski Crystal BraceletSwarovski Gold Plated Austrian Crystal Encrusted Grand Piano BroochSwarovski Jewelers Collection Turtle Clip Pin Broach Crystal And GoldSwarovski Slake Black Bracelet 1179237 Jet Hematite Crystal Jewelry Retired UsedLarge Carolee Pin Enamel Swarovski Rhinestone Juggling Clown Carolee Brooch Swarovski Crystal Rockefeller Center Star Necklace/pinStunning Signed Swan Swarovski Crystal & Black Hematite Drape Bib NecklaceEstate Disney Pin 3 D Mickey Mouse Enamel Swarovski Rhinestone Collectible Swarovski Jewelers Collection Clip Or Pin Broach Crystal Gold Emerald RubySwarovski Event Bee PinSwarovski Jewelers Collection Ribbon Bow Pin Crystal, Black And GoldSwarovski Jewelers Collection Clip On Earrings Crystal And Gold HoopsSwarovski Double Signed Sparkling Ice Rhinestone NecklaceVtg Estate Jewelry Lot, Rhinestone Brooch, Swan Signed Swarovski Red Mask PinSwarovski Swan Signed Authentic Rhinestone & Enamel Snowman Christmas PinSwarovski Signed Necklace With Sea Shell With RhinestoneSwarovski Jewelers Collection Clip Or Pin Broach Crystal Gold Pearl Flower StarVintage Art Deco Style Catherine Popesco Enamel Swarovski Crystals Pin Brooch Walt Disney Swarovski Flower Pin - Brooch, BambiSwarovski Jewelers Collection Clip On Earrings Crystal Gold HoopsSwarovski Channel Set Crystal Goldtone Swan Signed Hinged Cuff Bracelet 7"Swarovski Jewelers Collection Clip Earrings Crystal Pink RoseVintage Stunning 1977-1988 Swarovski & Enamel America Ltd Gold Plated Necklace Swarovski Sophisticated Ring Size 58 1156266 Crystal Jewellery Fashion RetiredVintage Duchess Of Windsor Enamel Swarovski Crystal Heart Crown BroochSwarovski Jewelers Collection Clip On Earrings Crystal Gold Saphire Emerald RubyBeautiful Vintage Signed Swarovski Sal Emerald Color Crystal Earrings & PendantBig, Bold Swarovski Amethyst Earrings W/ Crystal AccentsSwarovski Jewelers Collection Clip On Earrings Crystal Black Gold TeardropSwan Signed Swarovski Rhodium Clear Crystal Poodle Brooch Pin Rare Euc MintSwarovski All Pave Stars Authentic Swan Signed Christmas Tree PinSigned Swarovski Butterfly, Grasshopper, Frog & Snake Brooch PinsSwarovski Indicolite Nirvana Ring 1166791 (size52 Crystal Jewellery RetiredLot Of 3 Vintage Necklaces~10k Gold Clasps~swarovski~genuine Pearls~very Pretty! Swarovski-bezel Set-crystal-necklace-red Crystals-swan Tag-nwt-18 InchesGorgeous Duchess Of Windsor Carolee Enamel Panther Brooch W/ Swarovski CrystalsSwan Signed ~ Swarovski ~ Ruby Red Mask Masquerade Tac Pin Brooch Limited EdVintage Swarovski Swan Logo Gold Tone & Crystal Rhinestone Clip EarringsAdagio Face Starlet Series Porcelain Vtg Swarovski Crystals FlawedVintage - Now Wearable Jewelry Lot Rings Lockets Swarovski Germany 3+lbsNib Swarovski Lake Of Shimmer Ring 52 6 Small S 1157400 Tokujin Yoshioka