Since the early 20th century, Swarovski crystal beads have played a key role in designer jewelry and accessories based on complex yet flawless faceting that refracts light and sparkles like no other crystal on the market. In fact, many jewelry makers will only use Austrian crystal beads, pearls and components in their designs. You will not find any bead with more sparkle, light and beautiful shine (except, of course, diamond beads*!), in our humble opinion.
It was in another century, indeed another world, in which a young man from Bohemia, Daniel Swarovski (1862-1956), invented and patented a machine, enabling him to cut crystals with the outmost precision.
To be able to power his grinding machine with hydro-electric power, Daniel Swarovski moved to Wattens in Tyrol with his family, and with this he laid the foundation for the realization of his crystalline vision.
Today there are hundreds, perhaps thousands of choices for precision cut leaded crystal beads crafted in Austria, considered the finest of their kind made anywhere. You can go straight to the Swarovski web site for images, inspiration, artists working with Swarovski beads, and to buy. There are other great online vendors, such as ArtBeads and Fire Mountain Gems. And many traditional bead shops have nice selections as well.
Here are a few images of our favorite Etsy colleagues who work with these beautiful beads:
We have yet to make our forray into the beaded world of Swarovski -- if for no other reason -- it can be extremely expensive! But you can also buy affordable simple strands of small Swarovski beads that make gorgeous sparkling necklaces with nothing more than an added clasp. So it IS possible.
Soon we will talk about *diamond beads, another of our regular bead fantasies -- but, that's a story for another day.
Until next time,