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If you know jewelry, you know that Swarovski is one of the great names on the market.
And while not all of Swarovski jewelry is quite as bombastic as the Mercedes SL600 studded with 300,000 crystals, they certainly make a statement.
Here are nine amazing things you never knew about this classic jewelry.
1. SWAROVSKI CRYSTALS AREN’T NATURALLY OCCURRING
Crystals might occur in nature, but Swavorski crystals don’t.
They’re actually lead glass crystals created using quartz, sand, and minerals. In fact, they’re about 32% lead. Why lead, you might be wondering?
As it turns out, lead helps maximize the refraction in the crystals. Colors are created using chemical coatings, but clear crystals are actually more difficult to produce since they cannot contain any impurities.
2. SWAROVSKI CRYSTAL ISN’T ACTUALLY CRYSTAL
Don’t let the name fool you–technically speaking, Swarovski crystal isn’t crystal at all. It’s not a gem either.
It’s actually a form of glass created with a patented process.
Crystal nerds will be able to spot the difference on sight, as Swarovski has a higher refraction index than true crystal, closer to a diamond. This is achieved with precision cutting and polishing for the sparkle you love.
3. SWAROVSKI WAS CREATED IN AUSTRIA IN 1892
The crystals you know and love were dreamt up by one David Swarovski of Austria, a man who dreamed of making crystal more accessible–a “diamond for everyone”.
In 1892, Swarovski patented an electric cutting machine that would allow the user to cut crystals more accurately and consistently than they could achieve by hand. Three years later, he founded the Swarovski company in Wattens, a small town in the Austrian Alps.
4. SWAROVSKI IS MORE EXPENSIVE THAN GLASS
You might be wondering–if Swarovski is more or less a glass crystal, then why is it more expensive than glass jewelry?
This is because of the production process required to create glass vs crystals.
Compared to other glass jewelry products, Swarovski uses higher quality materials. The process of creating even one crystal is also complicated. Keep in mind, in order to be considered high quality, the crystals need to have a hundred identical facets in several directions, which takes time with a hard material.
5. THE JEWELS DEBUTED IN BLONDE VENUS
Besides bringing Marlene Dietrich back to the stage, this 1932 film served as Swarovski’s silver screen debut. Costumes and jewelry all glittered with the crystals, and not long afterward, an endless line of blonde starlets appeared onscreen and on the red carpet in the crystals.
6. COSTARRING MARILYN MONROE AND AUDREY HEPBURN
Among the most famous blondes to wear Swarovski jewelry?
Marilyn Monroe in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes in a now-iconic pink satin gown and glittering jewels, singing, ironically, “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend”. More recently, Swarovski teamed up with supermodel Karlie Kloss to recreate the moment.
But perhaps the most famous film moment for the jewelry wasn’t actually with a blonde, but with Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Holly Golightly wears a small tiara at certain key moments in the film, and if you weren’t sold at that point, well, you probably weren’t watching the movie in the first place.
7. THERE ARE EIGHT WAYS TO TELL IF YOURS IS REAL
You might be wondering if there’s any way to tell whether your Swarovski is real or a convincing imitation. As it turns out, there are eight ways to test the authenticity of your jewelry:
- There shouldn’t be any bubbles in the crystal
- All facets should meet and point upwards
- Each crystal should be identical in size and cut
- If the crystals are part of the same color family, they should look identical
- There should be no scratches on the surface or any oily sheen
- Only Swarovski pearls are sold strung together; crystals are sold loose
- The crystals should have a shine comparable to a diamond
- Ideally, the crystals should come from an authorized retailer
Remember: since these crystals are machine-made, they are far more consistent than naturally-occurring crystals and gems. Identical crystals are in fact a sign of good workmanship and authenticity.
Furthermore, Swarovski crystals are designed with painstaking attention to detail. Imperfections in the crystals like scratches, bubbles, or a lackluster shine wouldn’t meet the company’s quality standards.
8. THEY STOLE THE SHOW AT THE 2018 OSCARS
If you watched the 2018 Academy Awards, then you witnessed one of Swarovski’s most outlandish achievements to date (and the most over-the-top setup in the history of the awards show).
All that sparkle on the mainstage? That was thanks to the 45 million crystals decorating the stage. The whole display took over 3,000 hours to create and, when completed, weighed approximately 15,000 pounds.
And you thought your diamond earrings were heavy.
9. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MR. PRESIDENT
Another one of Swarovski’s most famous (or infamous) moments was once again with a certain famous blonde–Marilyn Monroe.
One of the most iconic moments of Marilyn Monroe’s history is her sultry rendition of “Happy Birthday” for President John F. Kennedy at Madison Square Gardens.
Where was Swarovski in all of this? Monroe wore (or rather, was sewn into) a sheer, flesh-colored dress with 2,500 crystals. Under the spotlights, the dress seemed to melt away, leaving only the sparkle of the crystals and Marilyn Monroe at her sultry best.