THE HISTORY OF CRYSTAL BEADS

The history of crystal beads dates back thousands of years to the Mesopotamian times.  Lead oxide was used to enhance the brilliance of glass as used today, but applied in differently.  This was an alternate to the popular rock crystal which was more expensive, harder to cut and less refractive. 

In the year 1676, George Ravenscroft revolutionized the methods of adding the lead oxide, which brought lead crystal a major step closer to its mass production of today.  

SWAROVSKI
When Daniel Swarovski first brought a sparkle to crystal, over a hundred years ago, he could never have imagined what a development he was setting in motion. With fantasy, intuition and technical finesse, he and his ancestors have managed to expose all the facets hidden within this fascinating material. Today, sparkling crystal components in thousands of colors, shapes and sizes provide a fantastic palette of inspiration for designers and manufacturers. Over and above this, they create jewelry, accessories and a stunning cornucopia of sparkling objects which make ideal gifts and collectibles.

Daniel Swarovski
Daniel Swarovski was an Austrian glass cutter and jeweler born in Bohemia. His father was a Slovakian glass cutter who owned a small glass factory, and Swarovski first learned the art of glass-cutting in his father's factory. 

Born: 1862
Died: 1956


TIMELINE

1862 - Daniel Swarovski - The play of light in crystal must have fascinated Daniel Swarovski from early childhood. He was born in 1862 in Bohemia where crystal defined life in his parents' house. Bohemia, at that time part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, was one of the most important manufacturing centers for glass and crystal. Crystal was also cut in his father's small factory.

As a young boy Daniel often watched the work in his father's business. Later he completed his apprenticeship with his father, as well as at several other crystal-cutters. When, at the age of 21, he visited the "1. Elektrische Ausstellung" (First Electrical Exhibition) in Vienna, he had the idea of his life: the new techniques from Siemens and Edison inspired him to develop a machine for cutting crystal. He worked day and night at realizing his vision. 

1892 - Daniel Swarovski - Invented a machine to cut jewelry stones perfectly.  Finally, nine years later (1892), he was ready to register a patent: a machine which, for the first time, made it possible to cut crystal to perfection. It was far faster and more precise than the manual work to date. Swarovski is the highest quality crystal stone manufacturer in the world today.  Stones are made in many other countries other than Austria as well, most notably Czechoslovakia, Germany, China, Israel and others. 

1895 - He moved his company, known as Swarovski, from Bohemia to the Wattens, Austria where he used the Rhine River as a source of energy to run the company’s machinery.  From here the name “Rhinestone” was born.  Today the word “rhinestone” is used for leaded crystal coming from any country though.

Thus began a new era in the world of crystal. The foundations had been laid for today's company. Daniel Swarovski together with his brother-in-law Franz Weis and with Armand Kosmann founded it in 1895.

1960 The first sales team is founded in Kaufbeuren, Germany. Today the worldwide distribution of Swarovski products is organized by 44 of their own distribution companies together with their trade associates.

1972 - Swarovski is the main supplier of the popular "Moodstone", which changes color according to the mood of the person wearing it.

1995 - To cut hard materials such as crystal and gems in such a way that they have a hundred identical facets in several directions is a very complicated task: each direction of the reflected light must first be calculated by computer, then this has to be simulated in 3D, optimized and finally converted into control programs for complex machinery. In 1995, thanks to the latest computer technology, Swarovski was able to perfect this type of hi-tech fine cutting technique

SWAROVSKI (AUSTRIAN) CRYSTAL
Is considered by many people to be the finest quality, full-lead crystal made today.  It contains a minimum of 32%PbO, making the crystal optically very pure.  The crystal is then faceted with tremendous precision, creating beautiful prisms.  Brilliant colors and/or coatings are added to these crystals to create pendants, stones, and beads of dazzling beauty and tremendous variety of shapes and sizes.  Swarovski Crystal is unmatched in quality and distinction.
  
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