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    

Vintage Jewellery Fabulous Signed 'swarovski' Egyptian Crystal Scarab BraceletVintage Tassel Necklace Made With 11mm Ab Swarovski Crystal Beads #399aCrystal Kitty - Swan Signed Swarovski Pave Crystal Tack/ Lapel PinSigned Swarovski 36" Multi Color Bezel Set Crystal Necklace Swan TagDaniel Swarovski Sterling Silver Insect Brooch/pin Swarovski Necklace And Earring Set. Parallele Mini/. Brief Pierced Earrings SiniSigned Swarovski Pave Heart Pendant Necklace In Original Box Retired!Swarovski Nirvana Blue Ring Size 8Vintage Swarovski Blue Crystal Necklace 19" Length #26 525Heidi Daus Bracelet Wristwatch W/swarovski CrystalsSwarovski Crystal & Gold Tone Heart Bracelet, 7 ½ Inch Long & ½ Inch Wide.28 Piece Vintage To Now Lot Costume Jewelry, Ciner, Swarovski, LisnerVintage Retired Swarovski Paradise Ab Crystal Rhinestone Dragonfly Brooch PinVintage Dsc Daniel Swarovski Paris Rhinestone Glass Brooch - Pin Green CrystalsSwarovski Swan Signed Multi Colored Crystal Dragonflybutterfly Brooch Pin Vintage Designer Gold Tone Link Bracelet W Swarovski Crystal Rhinestones #441a2004 Signed Swarovski Rockefeller Christmas Tree Brooch Pin100% Swarovski Rhinestone Rope Longer Strips Settings Lot Vtg Nos Jewelry CraftsSwarovski Silver NecklaceContemporary Swarovski Crystal Gold Layered Ladies Beetle Brooch Stone Set Designer Swarovski Clip On Earrings #26 118Swarovski Centenary Swan BroochVintage Swarovski Squirrel Slide Pendant Necklace 8.5gSwarovski Galet Blue Pierced Earrings 960082 Bargain Retired Crystal JewelryVintage Ciner Kenneth Jay Lane Nina Ricci Trifari Swarovski 9 Clip Earrings Vintage Swarovski Black Enamel Kitten Cat Pave Rhinestone Pearl Gold Pin BroochHi Quality White Crystal Rhinestone Bib Necklace Made W Swarovski Crystals #456aBeautiful Gold Tone Swarovski Crystal Heart Link Bracelet 7 In. Pre-ownedVintage Bonetto Gold Plated Tassel Watch Brooch W Swarovski Crystal RhinestonesVintage Joan Rivers Gold Tone Multi-color Swarovski Crystal Tennis BraceletSwarovski Crystal Memories Flower Brooch Pin Swan SignedVintage Swarovski Rhinestone Butterfly Figural Brooch Pin 2002 DhpVtg. Jewelry Lot-rhinestones-crystal-swarovski Swan Logo Brooch-butterfly-bug Swan Stamped Brand Swarovski Crystal Pink Pendant Necklace Earrings BeautifulSwarovski Rhinestone Rope Lot Strips Stone Settings Vtg Nos Jewelry Design CraftSwan Stamped Brand Swarovski Crystal Flower Pendant NecklaceSwarovski Swan Stamped Earrings Swarovski Crystal Swan Signed Gold Tone Dome Statement Earrings - Gorgeous!Vintage Kenneth Lane Swarovski Crystal Bee Pin Brooch Blue Stone Body No ReserveVintage Signed S.a.l. Swarovski Gold-tone Metal Deep Pink Rhinestone NecklaceAustrian Usa Swarovski Vintage Necklace Hot Pink Cased Bezel Set Crystal BeadsPrimo Signed Kjl Kenneth Jay Lane Swarovski Crystals Enamel Xl Flower Brooch PinSwarovski Attract Round Ring Size 58/8l 5139633 Bargain Crystal Jewelry In BoxVtg Kjl Milor Coro Orena Swarovski Sarah Cov Trifari Necklace Earring Pin LotSwarovski Swan Signed ~ Usa American Flag ~ Crystal Heart Tack Pin ~ Patriotic!!Giant Estate Jewelry Collection Lot - 14k, 925, Swarovski, Brighton, Ruby, MoreAmethyst Butterfly Necklace Stanley Hagler Swarovski Rhinestones FiguralMint Vintage Signed Silver Ciner Swarovski Crystals Pave & Rubies Clip EarringsSigned Swarovski Pave Crystal Swan Pin Brooch EucSwarovski Melrose Hoop Pierced Earrings 1070074 Bargain Retired Crystal In BoxSwarovski Blow Stud Pierced Earrings 1156233 Bargain Crystal Jewelry In BoxSwarovski "the Dolphins" Brooch95+pc Golden/silver Estate Lot*14k&10k Gold,925,swarovsky(sal),mamselle,israelUnique Cool Vintage Swarovski Signed Sal Coral Brooch Pin 18k GpVtg Necklace Made W Swarovski Metallic Sunshine Crystal Beads 335/5100 #403aSwarovski Blue Enamel BangleSwarovski Crystal Snow Man PinSwarovski Crystal Dog PinVtg Swarovski Signed Sal Half Hoop Crystal Earrings PiercedVintage Swarovski Bracelet