Rhinestone Facts
Frequently Asked Questions about Swarovski Rhinestones

Where does the color in crystal come from?
Crystals are formed by a very slow and controlled heat reduction process. Chemicals used during the process, as opposed to dyes, dictate the color. Different chemicals absorb different wavelengths of visible light. The result? We see the opposite of this color. For example, if the chemical added absorbed blue, we would see an orange crystal.

Interestingly enough, manufacturing a clear crystal is much more difficult than adding color. There can be no impurities during the manufacturing process as even a small contamination could change the clarity of the crystal.

Check out all the colors we have in stock in rhinestones, beads and other embellishments! You can also purchase a rhinestone color chart to see the actual rhinestone colors available!

How many rhinestones are in a gross?
12 dozen or 144 rhinestones are in a gross.

Where did the name rhinestone come from?
The name came from pieces of glass that were found in the Rhine River in Austria. When first produced, rhinestones were cut and finished by hand. In the 1700s, a jeweler in Paris created a way to apply lead to the back of glass, which greatly enhanced the complexity, brilliance, and reflective quality of glass.

Who was Daniel Swarovski?
Daniel Swarovski was born in 1862 in Bohemia (then part of the Austria-Hungarian Empire). In the early nineteenth century he began experimenting on methods of faceting glass and created a glass-cutting machine that cut faceted glass. This process produced a crystal far superior to hand-cut crystal. The company was enormously successful and soon produced many optical products, abrasives and grinding tools, as well as decorative stones made from crystal.

Fashion Industry ...
The arrival of these lovely stones caused quite a stir in the fashion industry around the world in the 1920's. They quickly became popular around the word. The “flapper” fashion for fringed and crystal creations brought about another patent: A ribbon of fabric studded with crystals ready to sew onto any garment. Fashion designers like Chanel and Schaparelli made costume jewelry not just acceptable but a fashion requirement for every fashion conscious woman of the time.

The development of the "Aurora Borealis" crystal ...
Around 1956 "Aurora Borealis" appeared in the crystal fashion world. These crystals were coated with an almost imperceptible layer of metal to give the stone a rainbow sparkle. Manfred Swarovski, Daniel's grandson, worked with Christian Dior to perfect this process.

All rhinestones are carefully and meticulously cut glass--or crystal--and have a foil backing with lead content to enhance the reflectiveness and brilliance. However, not all rhinestones are Swarovski nor are they all Austrian Crystal, which may be confusing. Rhinestones other than Swarovski are generally Czech, Korean, Acrylic, or Plastic.

Swarovski Rhinestones
The highest quality rhinestones by far are genuine Swarovski Rhinestones. Much like champagne, only rhinestones made specifically by the Swarovski company can be labeled Swarovski. Swarovski rhinestones are made of lead crystal with eight or fourteen facets.

Rhinestone Cuts and Sizes
Rhinestones come in a multitude of different shapes, sizes, and colors. The cut of the rhinestone greatly influences its brilliance! Remember:

* Rhinestones with more facets reflect more than those cut with fewer facets.
* Rhinestones cut with fewer facets will flash straight on more than those cut with a higher number of facets.
* Eight-facet rhinestones combine the best of both worlds.

Rhinestones are sold in many sizes, but the larger sizes have fewer colors, as there is less demand. Rhinestones are designated using the abbreviation "ss" (Stone Size) or "mm" (millimeter).

Rhinestones stone sizes are as follows:

ss6 = 2mm
ss9 = 2.6mm
ss10 = 2.8mm
ss12 = 3mm
ss16 = 4mm
ss20 = 4.7mm
ss30 = 6.4m
ss34 = 7.1mm
ss40 = 8.6mm
ss42 = 9.1mm
ss48 = 11mm

Rhinestones come in a huge variety of colors, which can be confusing. Every year more colors are offered. Rhinestone colors can be broken down into four basic categories:

Crystal Colors
This is the traditional diamond look-a-like. These rhinestones are clear, with no color. This is the most commonly seen rhinestone.

Transparent Colors
These are semiprecious gem colors. These rhinestone colors are often named after the gem they imitate such as: Emerald (green), Peridot (lime or apple green), Sapphire (royal blue), Amethyst (purple), etc. If the name has 'Light' before it, it is a paler version of the color.

AB Colors
AB rhinestones are produced by adding an Aurora Borealis coating to the stone. The coating creates a prism effect in light refraction, reflecting all colors of the rainbow. The base color usually shows through, but sometimes the coating completely changes the color of the stone. For example, Jet AB is not black, but shines green. Crystal AB is the result of an AB coating on a crystal rhinestone and casts mild colors in all ranges. Swarovski AB coatings reflect blues, greens, reds, and golds; Czech stones reflect more golds and yellows; Korean stones don't have AB coatings.

Effect Colors
Effect colored rhinestones come in special colors and are produced by polarization of the glass. These stones usually reflect two or more colors, depending on the direction of the light or the light source. Both Czech and Swarovski produce these stones, but Swarovski has more variety.