Wednesday 6 February 2013

Swarovski – How a Crystal Empire Began

Swarovski Round Facet Bead, Emerald
Swarovski is a brand of crystal glass that is renowned for its ability to reflect light into a rainbow of colour.  Swarovski is easily recognised by the Swan logo and is used for sculptures, miniatures, chandeliers and many types of jewellery. Specifically, a brand under The Swarovski Group, Swarovski Elements produce the coveted Swarovski beads designers use in their jewellery making.

Swarovski BiconeBead
To create the distinctive Swarovski crystal glass, Swarovski coats some of its products with special metallic chemical coatings, the most popular being the ‘AB’ or Aurora Borealis – this gives the surface a rainbow appearance.  Others include Crystal Transmission, Aurum, Dorado and Volcano.  Some crystals are only partially coated and others coated twice, where a 2X is added to the coating name.

Where did it all begin?

Daniel Swarovski (1862 – 1956), son of a glass cutter, served his apprenticeship in his father’s glass factory in Bohemia (now Czech Republic).  He quickly acquired the skills needed and in 1892 Daniel patented an electric cutting machine which advanced the process of crystal cutting to a higher and more efficient level. 

Swarovski Crystal Heart
 In 1895, with the help of two financiers, a company was formed, A. Kosmann, Daniel Swartz & Co with a factory set up at Wattens, Austria, due to its accessibility to hydro power, a source of energy they needed for the intensive grinding processes.

Originally the logo was a traditional edelweiss flower, replaced by an S.A.L logo, finally replaced by the recognisable Swan logo in 1988.  The company, now The Swarovski Group, includes Tyrolit (makers of abrasive and cutting tools); Swareflex (reflective and luminous road markings); Signity (synthetic and natural gemstones) and Swarovski Optikm makers of optical instruments such as binoculars and rifle scopes.

Swarovski Peardrop Pendant
At the Wattens site is The Crystal Worlds Centre created by Andre Heller in 1995 to celebrate 100 years of Swarovski.  The building is an indoor crystal theme park/exhibition centre, featuring a giant head with colour changing crystal eyes and a fountain coming from the mouth.  The building features many crystal related exhibitions within its 14+ subterranean ‘Chambers of Wonder’.  Definitely worth a visit.

Worldwide, The Swarovski Group now employ almost 31,500 people, 26, 140 of whom work with the crystal.  Production has expanded to eight different countries and Swarovski is the company leader in cut crystal, genuine gemstones and created stones.

International Craft  enable you to use the finest Swarovski crystal beads, along with perfect findings, to create your very own distinctive and beautiful Swarovski bracelet, necklace, earrings or cuff links.  CLICK HERE to see our premium range of the Swarovski brand.

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