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    

Estate Swarovski Swan Signed Crystal Pave Rhinestone Charm Bracelet W/boxAntique Vintage Krementz Danecraft Necklace Swarovski Crystal Sterling Silver NrEstate Swarovski Swan Signed Champagne Pave Crystal Rhinestone Dangle Earrings Estate Swarovski Swan Signed Pink Crystal Rhinestone Pierced Earrings W/bagAntique Vintage 1950's Swarovski Rainbow Ab Crystal Glass Beads Necklace Antique Vintage 1950s Swarovski Ab Aurora Crystal Glass Flower Beads NecklaceVintage 1950's Swarovski Peridot Green Ab Uranium Crystal Glass Beads NecklaceVtg Designer Signed Swarovski Paste Crystal Rhinestone Hinged Bangle BraceletVintage Swarovski Signed Coat Of Arms Jeweled Crystal Rhinestone Mint Brooch PinAntique / Vintage 1950s Swarovski Siam Ruby Red Ab Crystal Glass Beads NecklaceVintage 1950's Crystal Choker And Clip Earrings Might Be Swarovski ?? Swarovski Silvertone Retird Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Pin Brooch - Wow!Signed Swarovski With The Swan Logo Stunning Swarovski Crystal Bracelet 8"Antique / Vintage 1950s Swarovski Capri Blue Ab Crystal Glass Beads NecklaceEstate Swarovski Swan Signed Crystal Pave Rhinestone Dangle Charm Necklace Box Vintage Estate Metallic Tone Signed Swarovski Antler Like Clip Earrings 4465xPretty Vintage Signed Swarovski Swan Rhinestone Daisy BroochElegant Vintage Christian Dior Swarovski Crystal Double Sided Staff Pin Brooch Disney Lilo And Stitch Brooch, Swarovski Stitch Pin, With Box, Le 1500Swarovski Bezel Set Amethyst Purple Crystal Long Necklace & Bracelet Set~sgndVintage Swarovski Crystal Swan Mark Long Necklace Emerald Ruby Sapphire ColorsVintage Signed Swarovski Swan Tag Clear Crystal Open Back Bezel Set NecklaceDaniel Swarovski Butterfly Stick Pin Brroch Estate Swarovski Swan Signed Crystal Pave Heart Earrings W/unsigned Necklace BagStunning Signed Swarovski Brooch Lot With CrownSwarovski Rhinestone Rope Strips Lot Settings Vtg Nos Jewelry Design Crafts 714 Vintage Clear Rhinestone Brooch Pin Lot Swarovski Crystal Star WeissAntique Vintage 1950s Swarovski Harlequin Ab Aurora Crystal Glass Bead NecklaceAuthentic Vintage Christian Dior Gold Clip On Earrings Purple Swarovski CrystalVintage Estate Black Enamel Rhinestone Signed Swarovski Clamper Bracelet!! 4482fVintage Estate Signed Genuine Swarovski Crystal Austria Bead Necklace! 4464cVntg Warner Bros French Cartoon Pepe Le Pew Enamel & Swarovsky Crystals BroochStunning Vintage Estate Gold Tone Signed Swarovski Rhinestone Earrings! 4466nVintage Gold And Pastel Multicolor Swarovski Crystal Rhinestone Tennis BraceletGorgeous Christian Lacroix Bijour Enamel Inlay & Swarovski Crystals Brooch Pin"swarovski", S/silver, Mini Cross, Pendant/necklace, Clear Crystals, NwotNolan Miller Stanwyck Gardenia Pave Swarovski Crystal Gold Brooch PinRhinestone Jewelry Lot Swarovski, Dodds, Butterfly (5) Pcs Brooch, NecklaceStunning Vintage Estate Gold Tone Rhinestone Signed Swarovski Brooch! 5428uBrand New Swarovski 14k Gold Post Pink Crystal Round Stud Pierced EarringsLolita Lempicka Vtg Butterfly Pendant Necklace W Swarovski Crystals-rare!Vintage Gold Plate Pave Set Swarovski Crystal Black Enamel Panda Bear Pin/brooch4ct Lot Swarovski Crystal Swan Brooch Pin 1991 Scs Lapel 1987 Member Stick PinSwarovski Nirvana Clear Crystal Ring Size 8Vintage Swarovski Crystal Necklace & Bracelet Set By Walter Bauman JewelersSigned Swarovski With The Swan Logo Stunning Swarovski Crystal Flower Brooch Signed Swarovski Pave Rhinestone Crystal Elephant Brooch PinNwt Swan Signed Swarovski Crystal Flower Brooch With Citrine Color CenterSwarovski Mixed Shapes Single Rhinestones In Settings 50 Crystal Lot Vtg JewelryGenuine Swarovski Pink Crystal Heart Brooch - W/boxBrand New Swarovski Crystal Rhinestone & Enamel Half Circle Curve Clip EarringsAuthentic Swarovski Signed Bella EarringsSwarovski Swan Signed Gold Plate And Clear Crystal Moon Pin BroochSigned Swarovski Crystal Rhodium 2 Row Cross & Briolette Pendant Nib 1514936 Gorgeous Signed Swarovski Crystal Set & Figural Pin Jewelry LotSwarovski Stone Mini Black Bangle (medium) 5032852 Crystal Jewellery BraceletGenuine Vintage Swarovski Signed Gold Tone & Clear Crystal Choker Necklace.Stunning Large Runway Clip Earrings Ruby Red Swarovski Rhinestone Door KnockersEstate Swarovski Swan Signed Clear Crystal Rhinestone Pierced Earrings GoldtoneVintage Swarovski Pre Swan Signed Sal Red Crystal Marquise Cocktail Costume Ring