We have all seen celebrities showing off their bling and every now and then they mention Swarovski crystals being worked into some accessory. So what are those? Here is everything you need to know about them.
1 What are Swarovski crystals?
They are finely cut pieces of lead glass AKA crystal glass. Yes, your grandma’s crystal vase is made of same material as Beyonce’s jewelry.
2. Why are they called Swarovski?
Because they are made by Austrian company Swarovski AG. It was founded in 1895 by Daniel Swarovski who was originally from Bohemia (today Czech Republic).
3. Why are they made of lead glass?
Because of something called chromatic aberration. It’s a fancy name for something everyone has seen in prisms and rainbows. Did you ever see jewelry or broken glass glitter in what seems like rainbow colors? Oil spilled on water but also sun creme residue in pool water also produce such an effect. Obviously, rainbows do it too. You might have wondered where do the colors come from when there are no colored surfaces involved. After all, it’s a clear gem or broken glass and plain white sunlight. In case of a rainbow it’s just sunlight with some water droplets in the air.
In short, it’s all about how the light breaks in different media. Just like prism splits up ordinary white light such as sunshine into colors, various other materials do that too. The higher their chromatic aberration, the more they will break up the light and glitter in different colors. Glass with lead oxide added into it has a higher refractive index than just plain glass and that is why lead glass is used for vases and jewelry. It has a better glitter effect than ordinary glass.
4.What is the most famous item made by Swarovski?
That would probably be the famous Michael Jackson’s glove covered in Swarovski crystals.
Then again, they also made the star for the top of the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree. It doesn’t stop there. They also did some high profile product placements in the music videos of J-Lo ( “On The Floor”) and Nelly Furtado’s “Big Hoops “. The crystal chandelier in 2004 movie “The Phantom of the Opera” is also theirs.
5.How expensive are Swarovski crystals?
Not very expensive at all. Even if you take a superficial approach and look at online shops for some products decorated with Swarovski crystals and divide the product price by the number of crystals used, it comes down to well under a dollar a piece. Then again, there is a question of authenticity. There are products sold as “decorated with Swarovski crystals” when in fact those crystals are made somewhere is Asia.
6. Bonus – what is the most outrageous item decorated with Swarovski crystals?
This title easily, hands down, with every other contestant signing unconditional capitulation, goes to Daria Radionova’s Mercedes CLS 350 covered in Swarovski crystals. In 2014, this 21 years old Russian student girl living in London covered her entire Mercedes with those little crystals (well, obviously, she didn’t do it personally, she paid others to do it). Then she listed it on ebay. It sold for 154,600 British pounds (about US $ 237, 500). BTW, this car usually retails for about US $ 85,000.
And just to give you an idea of what a big world we live in, a foreign gentleman asked during the bidding “Is eBay a serious auction?”