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 - Hello Kitty Necklace & Pendant - In Original Box (lot 10087Very Nice Vintage Signed Ciner Swarovski Pink Crystal & Turquoise Flower Brooch*rare* Very Pretty Vintage 50's Swarovski Pagoda Crystal Glass Beads NecklaceSwarovski Crystal Charm Bracelet With Breast Cancer Dice Shoes Etc Charms Sparkling Vintage 1950's Swarovski Rainbow Ab Crystal Glass Beads Necklace Joan Rivers Gold Chunky Chain & Lady Bug Enamel Swarovski Crystal Necklace LotGenuine Signed Swarovski Crystal Snowflake Pin Brooch JewelryStunning Vintage Estate Signed Swarovski Large Rhinestone Present Brooch!! 5590y Vintage Swarovski Crystal Gold Tone Necklace SignedSwarovski Swan Signed Snowman PinSwarovski 98 Jp Swan Signed Celebrate The Spirit "compassion" Bouquet PinSwarovski Authentic Swan Signed Black Clear Crystal Necklace, 36" Bezel SettingSigned Swarovski Swan Pave Crystal Christmas Tree Pin Brooch W/ Balls! ~retired!Elegant Authentic Vintage Swarovski Crystal Bracelet And Pierced Earrings Set.2 Vintage Swarovski Pave Crystal Brooch/pins Christmas Holiday Swan & Happy Cat Swarovski Crystal Rhinestone Enamel Christmas Santa Sled Brooch Pin Retired RareGorgeous Swarovski Crystal Pierrot PinVtg Vendome Aurora Borealis Swarovski Crystal Double Strand Silver Tone NecklaceVintage Kenneth Jay Lane Kjl Art Deco Jade & Swarovski Element Pin BroochBeautiful! Signed Swan Swarovski Cystal Multi-colored Bezel Set Necklace 32 InSwarovski Swan Signed Purple Stone Elephant PinLong Vintage Signed Swarovski Bezel Set Red Green Blue Clear Crystal NecklaceStunning Vintage Gold Tone Signed Swarovski Red Rhinestones Earrings! 5538cVintage 1950s *rare* Swarovski Ab Aurora Crystal Glass Flower Beads NecklaceBeautiful Swarovski Crystal Elephant NecklaceSwarovski Crystal Nirvana Crystal Silvernight Pendant Swarovski Crystal Necklace, Earrings ,star Pin Plus More Just Beautiful OriginalNib Retired Authentic Swarovski Crystal Tree Ornament Or PendantVintage Signed Costume Jewelry Necklace Swarovski Crystal On Silver Tone Chain Bracelet Mixed Costume Jewelry Lot Signed Swarovski Swan Rings Garnet SterlingVtg Signed Swarovski Huge Black Onyx Crystal Glass Gold Plated Clamper BraceletButler & Wilson Yellow Crystal Earring And Necklace Set Swarovski FlowerLarge Vintage Jewel Open Back Bezel Set Austrian Swarovski Crystal Necklace Vintage Sign Swarovski Bangle Bracelet Clamper Black Enamel Crystal Wow 511175 Pc Estate Lot *black&chic* 925, Swarovsky, Roma, Dabby Reid, Premier Design Swarovski Crystal Necklace And Bracelet SetVintage D'orlan Enamel & Swarovski Rhinestone Hummingbird Brooch PinVintage Swarovski Crystal Pin / Stud / BroochVintage 1950's / 60's Swarovski Amber Ab Crystal Glass Beads Necklace.fab Clasp!Lot Of 2: Swarovski Masquerade Mask PinsVintage Swarovski Swan Signed Crystal Black Enamel Faux Pearl Clip On Earrings Swarovski Crystal Gold Tone Reindeer Brooch Pin Designer Jewelry SignedVintage Bangle Lucite Clear Pink With Multi Color Swarovski Crystal Rhinestones Swan Signed Swarovski Crystal And Gold Plated Grape Cluster Brooch Pin2 Eisenberg Ice Pins~christmas Tree & Angel~brooch~clear Crystal~swarovski~mintLot Vintage Modern Earring Pair Lot Bezel Set Rhinestone Dangle Swarovski +Vtg Swarovski Crystal & Enamel Christmas Nutcracker Soldier Pendant Swan Mark AuSwarovski Authentic Signed Swan Pave Ab Crystal Gold Large Huggie Hoop EarringsSwarovski Red Dress PinVintage Genuine Swarovski Red Crystal Baguette Choker Necklace & Earring Set SalJoan Rivers Rare,vintage Ruby Red Enamel Bow Pin W/ Swarovski Crystals, 2.5 InchSwarovski Crystal Paradise Astara Fuchia Butterfly Brooch Sterling Silver GiltSwarovski Iris Arc Crystal Hot Air Balloon W/ Detachable Tie Down Rings Reduced!Nib Swarovski "erika Snow Globe Pendant" Necklace, 1119683Authentic Vintage Signed Swarovski Bezel Set Crystal Tennis Link Bracelet 6.75"Swarovski Swan Signed Silver Plate Blue Enamel Ab Crystal Fish Pin Brooch NwtSwarovski Bezel-set Cross Pendant #1058476 Bnib Great Value Sale Free ShippingVintage Swarovski Matte Gold Crystal Rhinestone Heart Cast Link Collar Necklace100% Swarovski Rhinestone Rope Strips Settings Lot Vtg Nos Jewelry Design CraftsSwarovski Swan Signed Silver Plate And Clear Crystal Heart With Arrow Pin Brooch