Swarovski® is a familiar brand name on our high streets today and whilst we may be aware of its association with quality, many are unfamiliar with the interesting and diverse history of this amazing brand.
What is Swarovski® crystal?
Based on founder Daniel Swarovski's notion to create a diamond for everyone, Swarovski® was founded in 1895 when it's founder patented an electric cutting machine so Swarovski® crystal was cut much more precisely than by hand. The superiority of Swarovski® crystal is largely due to the way in which it is cut and the machinery used. Swarovski® crystals are a high quality lead glass man made crystal and also consist of sand and minerals, although the proportions of these are a company secret.
What are Swarovski® crystal pearls?
Swarovski® crystal pearls are manufactured by Swarovski® and are a perfect replica of genuine pearls: They are similar in weight and behaviour, adjust to the temperature of the skin and are resistant to rubbing, scratching, perfume, perspiration and UV light. Above all, they are the first pearls in the world with a crystal core and an innovative, silky smooth pearl coating. They are available in a variety of shapes and sizes and in an extensive colour range.
A history of Swarovski®
Based on founder Daniel Swarovski's notion to create a diamond for everyone, Swarovski was founded in 1895 when it's founder patented an electric cutting machine so Swarovski crystal was cut much more precisely than by hand. The superiority of Swarovski crystal is largely due to the way in which it is cut and the machinery used. Swarovski crystals are a high quality lead glass man made crystal and also consist of sand and minerals, although the proportions of these are a company secret.
In 1919 Daniel Swarovski created the company Tyrolit which today is one of the world's leading suppliers of innovative and precision engineering solutions to industry
Swarovski® crystals made their silver screen debut in 1932 in the movie Blonde Venus. Movie icon Marlene Dietrich dazzled in statement jewellery pieces and costumes adorned in crystals (Images courtesy of paramount pictures)
Continuing the involvement with the silver screen and iconic movies, the show-stopping jewels in the iconic cabaret scene in the 1953 movie Gentlemen Prefer Blondes are none other than Swarovski® crystals rather than the diamonds, as referred to in the famous song. Many of Marylin's opulent costumes in the movie are also adorned with Swarovski® crystals.
In 1956 Swarovski® unveiled one of its most memorable creations, that of the Aurora Borealis, the effect which makes the crystals shimmer with every colour of the rainbow and named after the northern lights. Christian Dior was among those designers captivated by the Aurora Borealis affect and adorned many of his fashion creations and iconic costume jewellery.
In this year Swarovski® founder Daniel Swarovski died aged 93.
In 1962 Swarovski® was part of a very iconic moment in history. In one of her most iconic moments, Marylin Monroe serenades American President JFK with her now infamous sultry rendition of the song Happy Birthday at Madison Square Garden in New York. Marylin wore a Jean-Louis designed sheer dress, which she was literally sewn into, and under the spotlights the flesh coloured dress appears to melt away leaving the utter brilliance of the 2,500 Swarovski® crystals to glisten. The dress was sold at auction in 1999 for 1.26 million USD. As recently as November 2016 the dress was put up for auction at Julien's Auctions in Los Angeles with a pre sale estimate of $3 million. The dress sold for $4.8 million (£3.87 million) by museum chain Ripley's Believe It Or Not and is thought will be displayed at various locations around the world due to its iconic status.
In 1965 Swarovski® began to manufacture precision cut Swarovski® gemstones, including Amethyst, Sapphire, Marcasite and zirconia.
In 1976 the first crystal figurines were created in the form of a lovely little mouse. Similar figurines were given to the athletes at the Winter Olympic Games in Innsbruck and proved so popular that the crystal figurines became a significant product line. There are millions of collectors around the world today collecting the vast array of figurines available.
Also in 1976 Swarovski® becomes the first company to offer machine cut cubic zirconia to the jewellery industry, showing that Swarovski® is renowned and respected for it's precision cutting.
In 1983 the very first Swarovski® boutique store, called Silver Crystal Suite opened in London's prestigious Old Bond Street. The shop sold crystal figurines which were in such demand a large turtle figurine was stolen on the store's opening day.
In 1987 the Swarovski® crystal society (SCS) was launched for collectors to share their passion for collecting the figurines. Today the society has around 325,000 members in more than 125 countries around the world.
In 1997 the development of advanced computer-aided technology allowed Swarovski® to perfect machine cutting of semi-precious stones including sapphire, peridot, amethyst and topaz.
1998 Swarovski® created the Nirvana ring, (pictured right) it's first fully faceted ring, which has quickly become iconic and still one of Swarovski's most popular jewellery pieces. The sophisticated arrangement of the facets creates an optical illusion of a heart within the crystal making it even more special.
2003 saw the launch of Swarovski rocks, in which cutting edge fashion designers are commissioned by Swarovski® to design one of a kind, one off pieces using Swarovski® crystals and gemstones.
In 2004, Swarovski® launched the xilion cut, another innovative advance in the way in which crystals are cut which increased the brilliance of crystal.
In 2009 Swarovski® launched the first Swarovski® watches at the famous BaselWorld fair. These watches combined elegance and understated luxury.
2012 saw Swarovski® redefine brilliance and precision cutting with the release of Xirius 1088. Named after the brightest star in the galaxy, the intricate gemstone-like cut, rich colour and enhanced foiling produce an exceptionally durable new generation of crystal, taking it one step closer to the diamond.
Also in 2012 was the launch of Lolaandgrace jewellery and accessories brand, designed with Swarovski® crystals and aimed at the fashion forward woman with a zest for life.
In 2013, Swarovski® launched Cadenzza, a multi-brand retail concept selling hand-picked pieces from top designers including Versace, Mawi and Atelier Swarovski. Swarovski® also acquired customisable jewellery brand Chamilia, best known for wonderful and alluring charm beads.