by Valerie Demetros
When the 2018 Academy Awards revealed a stage embellished with 45 million Swarovski crystals, the sight stunned viewers. It took more than 3,000 hours to create and weighed about 15,000 pounds.
Swarovski is a name that usually needs no explanation since its iconic crystals have been in the spotlight for years. Odds are you probably have something adorned with the crystals.
But Swarovski isn’t limited to over-the-top displays, jewelry or dresses. It is on home décor, smartphone cases and sunglasses. You name it, they will embellish it.
What exactly are these crystals, are they really crystals and how do you know yours are genuine?
Growing up in the Czech Republic, Daniel Swarovski patented a specialized electrical cutting machine to produce lead glass crystals in 1892. D. Swarovski & Co was founded in 1895 and to this day a descendant of Daniel Swarovski remains on the executive board, five generations down the line.
They can’t technically be classified as crystals because they are actually a type of crystal glass created at high temperatures. The gems are fabricated out of a variety of materials like sand, natural minerals and quartz to produce lead glass that has undergone a patented process.
There are ways to test the authenticity of your jewelry. First, there aren’t any bubbles in the crystal and all facets should meet and point upwards. Each crystal should be identical in size and cut with no scratches. Since these are machine-made, they are far more consistent than naturally occurring crystals and gems. Identical crystals are a sign of authenticity.
Also, Swarovski pearls are sold strung together — crystals are always sold loose and should have a shine comparable to a diamond.
Swarovski crystals are delicate and should be treated the same as fine jewelry. Avoid exposing the crystals to water and chemicals. Wipe off jewelry with a damp cloth and let it dry completely before storing. Always remove before going swimming or into a bath. If possible, keep the jewelry in its original box or an airtight container.