A Secret Formula
The making of Swarovski Crystals begins with a secret family formula that has been used for over one hundred years. This formula originated from the Swarovski family and generates the foundation for the finest quality of full lead crystals, making them known as the diamond of the crystal market.
Daniel Swarovski (October 24, 1862 – January 23, 1956), formerly Daniel Swartz, was born in northern Bohemia (now the Czech Republic). His father was a glass cutter who owned a small glass factory. It was there that a young Swarovski served an apprenticeship, becoming skilled in the art of glass-cutting. In 1892 he patented an electric cutting machine that facilitated the production of crystal glass.
In 1895, Swarovski financier Armand Kosman and Franz Weis founded the Swarovski company, originally known as A. Kosman, Daniel Swartz & Co., which was later shortened to K.S. & Co.The company established a crystal cutting factory in Wattens, Tyrol (Austria), to take advantage of local hydroelectricity for the energy-intensive grinding processes Daniel Swarovski patented.
Nadja Swarovski, the founder’s great-great granddaughter, is a member of the Swarovski executive board.
Although the basics of making Swarovski Crystals are known, the complete process will continue to remain a family secret to deter replication by other crystal competitors.
Making Swarovski Crystals
Swarovski Crystals are a man-made product of raw materials using natural minerals and pure quartz sand. The minerals and sand are combined and fired for an undisclosed period of time. Once removed from firing, they go through a very slow cooling process. The slow cooling process reduces flaws and imperfections in the final product. These speciality crystals have a lead content of 32% which enables them to be categorised as full lead crystal. Even though lead is a known toxin, the wearing of crystal jewellery containing lead does not pose any risks.
Although Swarovski Crystals are often referred to as Swarovski silver, the crystals do not contain silver and are named as such for their silver brilliant appearance. Once a solid product, the crystals are cut using a cutting machine designed by Daniel Swarovski. This machine makes it possible to cut crystals so they have as many as one hundred mirrored facets in various directions allowing light to refract creating brilliant prisms and an array of colours. The directions in which the crystals are cut are determined by a computer, then processed with a technology that simulates the cut effects in three dimension. After a crystal has been completed, it is polished to create a superior finish.
To create crystal glass that lets light refract in a rainbow spectrum, Swarovski coats some of its products with special metallic chemical coatings. For example, Aurora Borealis, or “AB”, gives the surface a rainbow appearance. Other coatings are named by the company, including Crystal Transmission, Volcano, Aurum, and Dorado. Coatings may be applied to only part of an object; others are coated twice, and thus are designated AB 2X, Dorado 2X etc.
In 2004 Swarovski released Xilion, a copyrighted cut designed to optimise the brilliance of Roses (components with flat backs) and Chatons (diamond cut).
Using Swarovski Crystals
Swarovski Crystals are made into pendants, necklaces, rings, beads and any possible jewellery combination imaginable. Modern designs also feature Swarovski Crystals on fashion wear such as clothing, purses, belts, sandals and more. Brides like to use Swarovski Crystals due to the fact that from a distance, their appearance and shimmering capabilities emulates the same characteristics of diamonds. Designers continue to create new shapes, colours and themes so Swarovski Crystals can continue to put on a unique show of colour and light.
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