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    

Marked Swarovski Tag Encased Bezel Ab Rainbow Crystal 36" Long Vtg NecklaceSigned Swarovski Christmas Tree Brooch - Pin, Costume JewelrySwarovski Crystal Flower Pendant & Necklace~both Swan Signed~cloudy Cream ColorMarked Swarovski Tag Encased Bezel Purple Crystal 36" Long Vtg NecklaceSwarovski Jewelry, Dragon Pin- Brooch, Scs Member Annual Edition AccessoryAuthentic Swarovski Helios Rosaline Moonlight Pendant Necklace 1035220 With BoxSwarovski Swan Signed Red Flower Brooch /pinSigned Swarovski 2000 Christmas Tree Brooch - Pin, Costume Jewelry 1 7/8"Swarovski Swan Signed Crystal Pastel Bezel Necklace, Ring, Earrings Set: Swarovski Signed Multi-colored Sw Crystal Crown Brooch Retired Nwt $65.00Vtg Signed Swarovski Teal Green Blue Pink Bezel Set Austrian Crystal NecklaceSwarovski Tag Encased Bezel Purple Teal Royal Blue Crystal 36" Long Vtg NecklaceSigned Swarovski Christmas Tree Brooch - Pin, Costume Jewelry 2 1/8"Marked Swarovski Tag Encased Bezel Blue Amber Crystal 38" Long Vtg NecklaceVintage Signed Swarovski Crystal Necklace Double Silver Chain Rhinestone BailSwarovski Swan Signed Crystal Purple Bezel Bracelet & EarringsVtg Swarovski Swan Signed Austrian Crystal Heart Silver Rhodium Necklace 18 1/2"Vintage 15" Necklace Triple Strand Swarovski Crystal Bead Red Yellow Ab Wow J40Swarovski Jewelry, Dalmation Mother Pin- Brooch AccessoryAuthentic Swarovski Angelic Ring Size 8 1081949Swarovski Multi Color Bezel Set Crystal Bracelet Signed Swan Jewel Tone Rare Swarovski Light Topaz Crystal Fish Brooch Swan Signed Vintage Swan Signed Swarovski Pave Crystal Conch Snail Shell Seashell Pin BroochSigned Swarovski 925 Vermeil Sterling Rhinestone Insect Bug Beetle 1.75" BroochSwarovski Teal Blue Crystal Goldtone Necklace Bezel Set Swan Logo Signed AuthenGenuine Swarovski Signed Jewelry Interchangeable Crystal Silver Necklace Box CoaVintage Signed Swarovski Jewelery Crystal Memories Tulip Flower Gold Brooch Pin Swarovski Crystal Dazzle Ring Size 58 (8) U. S.Beautiful Swarovski Crystal Rhinestone Ball 50" Long Wrap NecklaceNice Swarovski Crystal Rhinestone PavÉ Sun Sunburst Pin/broochVtg 22" Necklace Cluster Bead Earring Set Swarovski Crystal Aurora Borealis J68Kjl Raj Elephant 22kt Gp Enamel Bracelet Swarovski Crystals By Kenneth Jay LaneSwarovski Encased Formed Crystal Purple Teal Royal Blue 32" Long Vtg NecklaceSigned Swarovski Swan Crystal Rhinestone Exotic Flower Gold/silver 1.5" BroochAwesome Swarovski Crystal Flower Dangle Drop Pendant Necklace #1510452Vintage Clip On Earring Cluster Bead Swarovski Crystal Red Orange J413 Swarovski Empty Boxes Jewelry Box,community Plaque,endangered Wildlife PlaqueSwarovski Crystal Angelic Ring Gold Size 58 (8) U. S.Swarovski Brand Erika Silver Pendant Swarovski Slake Bracelet Jet Hem/blackVintage Estate Signed Swarovski Crystal & Gold Tone Pendant Necklace ReversibleSwarovski Swan Bezel Set Multi-color Crystals Gold Tone Link 2 Strand BraceletSigned Swarovski Swan Rhinestone Gecko Lizard Pin Gold Plated 2 1/8" Vtg BroochMarked Swarovski Shades Of Purple Crystal Pave Rhinestone Buckle 6-7.5" BraceletMarked Swarovski Gold Plated Rope Chain Opera Length 30" Long NecklaceSwan Signed Swarovski Emerald Green Gold-tone Dangle Earrings - L@@k!Marked Swarovski Pink Rectangle Crystal Silver Plated Cross 3" Pendant NecklaceJoan Rivers Twisted Bangle W/clear Swarovski Crystals, Red & Green CabachonsSwarovski Celestial Moon Stars Large Blue Enamel Rhinestone Pin Brooch Swarovski Medium Newborn Bangle 1082377 Retired Bargain Jewellery BraceletSwarovski Green Crystal Goldtone Necklace Bezel Set Swan Logo Signed AuthenticGenuine Swarovski Bracelet Doorknocker Earrings Set Pave Diamond Crystals GoldMarked Swarovski Teal Pink Crystal Gold Plated Chain Statement 16" Vtg NecklaceSigned Joan Rivers Swarovski Crystal Flower Brooch PinSwarovski Crystal Pin Candleholder Signed 3 1/2"tallSwarovski Signed Rich Black Enamel & Crystal Penguin Brooch Swan Hallmark EcSwarovski Swan Mark Rhinestone & Faux Pearls Christmas Bells Pin Vtg Brooch Vintage Swarovski Gold Tone & Blue Crystal Earrings Signed S.a.l.Swarovski Sparkling Ice Crystal Clip Earrings On Original CardVintage Swarovski Snowflake Rhinestone Crystal Pendant