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    

Swarovski Crystal Blue Stardust Bracelet - Beautiful!!Vintage Necklace & Bracelet Lot! Weiss,coro,kramer,rebajes,renoir,swarovski,moreVintage Swarovski Brooch Collectors Club Elephant Design With PouchSwarovski Swan Signed Green Enamel Crystal Rhinestone Dragonfly Brooch Pin Rare!Swarovski Jewelry Lot, Earrings, Necklaces, Pin + 2 Ballpoint Swarovski PensVintage Swarovski Crystal Arribas Mickey Mouse Pin Brooch In Original BoxVintage Swarovski Brooch Collectors Club Dolphin Design With PouchVintage Jewellery Signed Swarovski Crystals Baguette Clip On EarringsSwarovski Crystal Aline Pendant - Beautiful!!36" Long Vintage Swarovski Purple Crystal Bezel-set NecklaceSwarovski Stardust Beige Double BraceletVintage Swarovski Ornate Small Pave Crystal Rhinestone Pearl Flower Brooch PinSwarovski Crystal Bangle Bracelet With Original BoxSwarovski ( Swan Stamp ) Frog Brooch Pin Figural Crystal Rhinestone S23Lot Vintage Costume Jewelry Demario, Swarovski, Sterling, Sarah Coventry, Hobe+Vintage Swarovski Multi Colored Crystal Bezel Necklace Swan SignedVintage In Seattle Auctions: Great Bracelet Signed Sal By Swarovski Crystals Vintage Necklace Pink Glass Swarovski Crystal Long Gold Tone Rhinestone Lot ADaniel Swarovski Paradise Colection Crystal 925 Gold-sterling Vermeil Fly BroochSigned Swarovski Pave' Crystal Shield Brooch Rare!!Authentic Swarovski Crystal Bangle Bracelet Signed Swan MarkGrandmas Estate Beautiful Swarovski Swan Crystal Bear Rhinestone BroochRare Retired Swarovski Celaya Seahorse Brooch Pin Mint Condition In Box UnwornJacqueline Kennedy Jbk Camrose &kross Green Earrings Swarovski 24k Gold PlatedSwarovski Celaya Sea Horse Brooch 659349, Original Box, CertificateAuthentic Swarovski Stardust Double Wrap BraceletVintage Swarovski Crystal Necklace Red Bezel Set 36" LongBeautiful Vintage Whiting & Davis Swarovski Rivoli Rhinestone Earrings~estateBeautiful Swarvoski Crystal Dragonfly Pin / Brooch , Signed W/ Original TagSwarovski Open Bezel Pink, Blue, Green Crystal Necklace GoldNew Swarovski Jeweler's Collection Pave Crystal Rhinestone Cluster Clip EarringsSwarovski Nirvana Tanzanite Pierced Earrings And Necklace Mib #1144366Signed Swarovski Swan Logo Crystal Flower Trio Branch Brooch Gold Tone JewelryRare Swarovski Signed Hot Air Balloon Pin - Red Enamel Purple Crystal Basket Swarovski Swan Signed Rhodium & Crystal Deer Pin Brooch Orig Box Pamphlet PrettyAuthentic Swan Signed Swarovski Pendant100% Swarovski Rhinestone Rope Strips Settings Lot Vtg Nos Jewelry Design Crafts3d Rare Vintage Swarovski Rudolph Red Nosed Reindeer Brooch PinSwarovski Signed Swan Silver Tone Cross Necklace PendantSwarovski Signed Crystal Gold Tone BraceletVintage 80's Multi-colored Jewel Tone Crystal Swarovski Swan Signed Bracelet 7"Vintage Swarovski Gold Pave Crystal Rhinestone Earrings Swan SignedSwarovsky Turquoise Enamel Gold Tone Moon & Stars Bracelet, Brooch & Earring SetHeidi Daus Beach Party Swarovski Crystal Starfish Bangle Bracelet Size M/lSwarovski Swan Signed Ruby Red Crystal Necklace And Pierced Earrings SetVintage S.a.l Swarovski Gold-tone Metal Clear Rhinestone Hinged Bangle BraceletSwarovski Ring Size 7 (55) Signed Swan Swarovski Puppy Dog Brooch Pin, Black & White Dog, Dalmation?Mint Huge Magnificent Richard Kerr Swarovski Crystal&rhinestone Earrings-neat!Mint Huge Magnificent Richard Kerr Swarovski Black&red Earrings-stunning! Nr!Swarovski Tampico Long Pendant (1181283) - UsedSwarovski Loop Leather Bracelet - UsedLovely Vintage Swarovski Signed Rhinestone Starfish Brooch Retired Collectible100% Swarovski Rhinestone Rope Longer Strips Settings Lot Vtg Nos Jewelry CraftsSwarovski Brooch And EarringsGrandmas Estate Beautiful Swarovski Swan Crystal NecklaceGorgeous Boxed Gold Plated & Swarovski Crystal Necklace & Matching EarringsSigned Swan Mark Swarovski Christmas Toy Soldier Nutcracker Pin Brooch Red StoneTouchstone Swarovski Ice BraceletSwarovski Leopard Brooch With Crystals And Stones