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The History Of Swarovski Crystals

By Karen Woodson

Swarovski is one of the world’s most recognized manufacturers of crystal items. It is a company that has grown to astronomical proportions after getting its start in a small family-owned and operated business. The business came into being during the latter part of the 19th century and has successfully made its way into the 21st century.

The founder of Swarovski is Daniel Swarovski who began his journey as an apprentice to his father in a Bohemian glass foundry. Bohemian glass was well known in Europe and America at the time for its unique and intricate style of crystal glass. The affordability of Bohemian crystal initially made it what it was but the Swarovski name and talent added a degree of sophistication and craftsmanship to the designs that rivaled the most well-crafted crystal in the world.

One of the critical elements that determined the outcome for Swarovski crystal is the innovation Daniel Swarovski put in place. He introduced an electric cutting tool to the process used in creating crystal products, and revolutionized the practices and eventual outcomes of the crystal industry for all time.

In 1892, Daniel Swarovski had created a prototype cutting machine and moved to patent the invention. Daniel proceeded with establishing his own company as a result of the success of the machine, and secured financing for the company through Franz Weis and Armand Kosman. The machine was capable of producing high-quality cuts, precision designs, and multifaceted crystals; it was also inexpensive and efficient to operate.

For much of the history of Bohemian crystal, the creators of these fine glass products frequently moved around, often moving their entire foundry, family, and employees with them from one place to another. The process of creating crystal products required extensive sources of wood for fuel to power the furnaces of the foundry. The sourcing of fuel often required relocation to new forestlands.

Swarovski and his financial backers determined that the new company would have the best chance if it was located far from competitors and as such, they established the company in Wattens, a town located in the Austrian Alps. This location was selected due to its easy and inexpensive access to hydro-electric power, thereby freeing Swarovski from the nomadic lifestyle that had ruled the Bohemian glass foundries for decades.

Before the end of 1895, the new Swarovski Company had been constructed and produced its first line of crystal glass products. While the initial production runs experienced some pitfalls and challenges, the company eliminated these issues within the first few years of operation.

In the beginning of the 20th century, Daniel Swarovski began to involve his sons in the operations of the company. His sons contributed their unique perspectives and talents to the operation and refined the production processes and techniques, moving the company to the next level. It is due in large part to the involvement of this next generation that Swarovski has become such a household name today.

In the early years of the 1900s, the production line of Swarovski became the flawless, intricate, and delicate products that everyone sought after. The company’s line of crystal glass items expanded to include crystal jewelry. While it took the world’s fashion industry until the late 1920s to fully embrace the class and quality of crystal jewelry, these gemstone-like pieces became some of the most renowned items in the world. They are highly valued today for their exceptional quality and flawless design.

During the years of the Great Depression and World War II, the demand for expensive or ornate items lessened due to tight economic circumstances and upheaval in the political, social, and economic realms. Swarovski crystal, like most manufacturers of fine quality personal adornments and decorative items, suffered a harsh blow. The company remained in operation but was largely unknown and unrecognized for their efforts.

The 1950s saw a resurgence in popularity, largely due to the Aurora Borealis designs that were introduced during this time. This line of jewelry was created by Daniel Swarovski’s grandson. The items in the Aurora Borealis line were coated with trace metals to create an ethereal rainbow-like sheen.

The Swarovski Company continued to introduce unique design styles and elements to the world of crystal in the 1970s and 1980s. In the mid-1970s, the crystal animal figurine joined the beautiful offerings of this long-standing giant of the glass world. The Olympic Games where held in the Austrian Alps near the site of the Swarovski foundry, making it possible for many of the visitors to the games to easily purchase beautiful figurines as mementos of their trip. This happenstance is credited with bringing the Swarovski name world-wide recognition and prominence.

In 1977, Swarovski introduced the cubic zirconia to the jewelry industry, changing the manner in which inexpensive fashion jewelry would be viewed forever. The quality and clarity of these crystals set the stage for Swarovski to be a major player in the world of fashion and jewelry for many decades to come.

In the 1980s, the company expanded its product line once again. Colored jewelry was added to the standard fare. Fashion handbags, belts, hair accessories and other items began to feature Swarovski crystals as well.

Looking for the best bead stores? Too Cute Beads was founded in 1998 based on one principal- giving everyone the opportunity to create beautiful and unique jewelry at a reasonable price. From the beginning, we followed the principal that we would never carry a product that we ourselves would not wear and love. Since then, we have grown and expanded. Our designs have been featured in some of the top beading magazines.

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Article Citation
MLA Style Citation:
Woodson, Karen "The History Of Swarovski Crystals." The History Of Swarovski Crystals. 24 Jul. 2010. 24 Sep 2014 <>.

APA Style Citation:
Woodson, K (2010, July 24). The History Of Swarovski Crystals. Retrieved September 24, 2014, from

Chicago Style Citation:
Woodson, Karen "The History Of Swarovski Crystals"

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