Tuesday, February 5, 2008

The JOY of jewelry...specifically, crystals & rhinestones

Some of you that know me already know I ADORE vintage jewelry. It's like a second love...I'm like a magpie and I pick up all things sparkly, regardless of the name. I have a vast collection of jewelry, and recently my favorite jewels to collect are crystals and rhinestones. Let's review the history of rhinestones, then we'll talk about crystals. Perhaps I'll get to it all in one night? Who knows!

Rhinestones were originally referred to as Czechoslavakian or Bohemian glass dating as far back as the 13th century in Bohemia and the Czech Republic.


  • man made artificial clear or colored stones that are intended to simulate diamonds or precious gems

  • made of glass, paste, or gem quartz (the best rhinestones are cut from quartz crystal)

  • natural crystals from the bottom of the river Rhine in Germany were early substitutes for diamonds (thus the name rhinestone)

  • often foiled on the back which increases their brilliance

  • paste is ground glass which was molded then melted, producing an opaque dense glass frosted stone

  • paste had many air bubbles and marks

  • can also be called strass and diamante

  • in 1891, Daniel Swarovski created a new glass cutting machine which could cut faceted glass in a very short time

  • Swarovski rhinestones are recognized as the highest quality in the industry

  • over 80% of rhinestone jewelry manufactured in America use Swarovski rhinestones

I'm always on the lookout for stunning rhinestone jewelry, and I've found this one by Born Too Late Vintage over at Specialist Auctions...

WOW! Is it stunning or what? A great, classic rhinestone bracelet that will make any vintage outfit sparkle with joy...who could resist?

More on rhinestones throughout fashion history later!