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Wednesday, May 14, 2008

A Little History about Vintage Swarovski



So continuing on with my series about the beads and components that I use in my jewelry designs, this week I am featuring vintage Swarovski crystals. ( last post was on Venetian glass beads) I am very addicted to these, they are so gorgeous! Rare and hard to come by, these little beauties really set a piece of jewelry apart from the rest, making it just a bit more special. I try to use these in a design whenever I can, and many of the vintage Swarovski crystals that I use are at least 50 years old!

Vintage Swarovski beads are stunningly beautiful! The camera cannot do these beads justice, and there are no words to describe the breath taking beauty that they possess! Vintage Swarovski crystals are crystals that were made decades ago, and are found in discontinued colors, and finishes that were far too expensive for the mass market of the time, as well as sizes, and shapes that have been long since discontinued. In the 1950’s, competition was fierce amongst jewelry makers, and many commissioned Daniel Swarovski, to produce special beads just for them. Many of these beads had top secret color combinations and finishes, and were often shipped to the factories under numbers rather than names, so that the competition would be unable to find out the exact beads used in the designs. Companies such as Weiss, Coro, Trifari, Lissner, Capri, Napier and Royal of Pittsburg were among jewelry makers of the time that commissioned Swarovski for unique crystals.
Many are extremely rare, such as the much coveted color called Mink. Others are rare because of the shape, such as the oval, octagon, disco balls and the pagoda Swarovski beads. Another thing that makes some of these old beads rare, are the sizes that they were produced in. Colors such as Scarabee, Joulan, Elestria Dark, Carousel, Fantasy, Ghost, Dark Sunburst, Ambrosia, Cognac, Joulet, Cinnamon, Honey, Meadow, Sarnell, Sun and Steel, and many others, have not been made in decades and are very collectable. Some beads were experimental or only produced for a very short period of time, such as the purple givre bead, circa 1946. Also unique are the opaque crystals, often found in the margarita or flower shape, that come in opaque pink, turquoise and white, much like the old kitchen appliances from the 1950’s! Also hard to find in opaque is the delicious Cherry Red, and Apple Green shades…very retro!
Not all Swarovski beads are faceted. In fact some of the rarest beads are the non faceted ones, which are apparently polished, translucent and extremely smooth. There are also fluted round beads, which are translucent as well, and round matte beads.
Having a piece of jewelry made with these stunning vintage crystals, is not only uniquely beautiful, but also holds a small piece of history from a bygone era. All the vintage Swarovski crystals that I use in my designs are mint and uncirculated.


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