Crystal falls into the 3 main categories. Fine Crystal or Crystalline is made from a glass mixture that contains 6% - 10% lead oxide. Lead Crystal is made from a glass mixture that contains 10% - 24% lead oxide and Full Lead Crystal is made from a glass mixture that contains 24% lead oxide or more. For the most part, crystal by European standards regards 24% lead bearing glass as crystal. However, by American standards, any glass that is perfectly clear is considered crystal regardless of the lead content. Lead oxide in crystal gives the product clarity and sparkle. Any crystal that is hand-cut usually must be 24% lead oxide or over - otherwise the crystal would be too brittle and would break when cut or engraved.
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 (lead II Oxide), 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.
Daniel Swarovski 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. After visiting the first electric exhibit in Vienna and 9 years of work 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. Daniel Swarovski together with his brother-in-law Franz Weis and with Armand Kosmann founded Swarovski Crystal Company in 1895.
Some of the major highlights throughout the company history include:
1956- Aurora Borealis crystals were designed with Christian Dior based on North Pole Northern lights~ my Grandmother LOVED Aurora Borealis and collected many pieces.
1972 - Swarovski is the main supplier of the popular "Moodstone", which changes color according to the mood of the person wearing it. Yes, I am old enough to say I owned one myself!!
1977- Swarovski enters the jewelry area starting with US and moving to Great Britain and the rest of Europe.
1987- Swarovski Crystal Society is formed
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
2004- Swarovski created the 9 foot diameter, 550 pound star that tops the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree in New York City for the first of five consecutive years
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