Swarovski Fashion Jewelry
Though leaders in fashion accessories, collectables, fashion and jewelry components and homewares. Swarovski has managed to firmly embed itself in the high end fine jewelry sector with spectacular designs and sleek marketing campaigns,
The sparkling allure of Swarovski crystal jewelry and objects has everyone who encounters their products mesmerized. A store on every high street, this juggernaut of a designer fashion jewelry brand has since its beginnings in the 19th century continued to expand and evolve into a multi-million dollar brand, run by the Executive Board of five fifth-generation family members.
FASHION JEWELRY VS FINE JEWELRY
The main difference between fashion jewelry and fine jewelry all comes down to what type of materials were used and how much money it cost to produce the jewelry.
Fashion Jewelry is also known as costume jewelry, fake jewelry, imitation jewelry, and even cheap jewelry. It's made from inexpensive abundant base metals or metal alloys (a mix of metals) and plated with a thin layer of precious metal to increase its shine and durability. Also used in fashion jewelry are imitation gems, glass, crystals, semi-precious stones which are generally glued into the metal or sometimes set in low grade settings.
On the other hand, fine jewelry is made exclusively from rarer precious metals such as silver, gold, platinum, and palladium. These noble (stable) metals are expensive to extract and refine into workable material and a high level of technical skill is required to produce fine jewelry.
Fine jewelry also uses expensive diamonds, and precious gemstones, though cheaper lab-made stones have become acceptable and are used in demi fine jewelry. Stones/ gems are hand set with special setting tools by a skillful stone setter. The gems are set deep into the metal and should not redily fall out and will last and stand the test of time.
HISTORY OF SWAROVSKI
The designer jewelry brand Swarovski had its beginnings in Austria in 1891. Daniel Swarovski's vision was to create an affordable alternative to expensive diamonds, He vision was “a diamond for everyone” (even if it's an imitation), so they can be enjoyed by everyone. Daniel was known to have invented an industrial electric machine that cut more accurately than ever before, marking the beginning of a new era for crystal production, and its usability.
In 1892, Swarovski patented his electric cutting machine which would allow the user to cut crystals more precisely and consistently than they could achieve by hand. Three years later, he founded the Swarovski company in Wattens, a small town in the Austrian Alps. They first started producing chandeliers, then moved onto objects, jewelry, home decor, fashion accessories, beads, clothing embellishments and many fashion designer collaborations.
WHAT IS SWAROVSKI CRYSTAL?
But what exactly is Swarovski Crystal? It is NOT a crystal or a diamond or a gemstone or rock crystal or quartz and does not naturally occur in the earth like natural minerals, gemstones and diamonds. That's because Swarovski crystal is not actually crystal at all. It's actually a form of glass created with a patented process.
Swarovski crystal is man-made lead glass. Made by melting silicon oxide powders with approx 32% lead at high temperatures to form what is known as lead crystal.
The lead in the crystal increases the refraction index of the glass from 1.5 to 1.7 to give a more sparkly diamond-like finish. To further increase its high-quality sparkle finish, it is precision cut and polished to a high shine finish.
Some crystals are further enhanced by coating the glass with an Aurora Borealis (AB coating), very popular in the early to mid-60s. It gave the surface a rainbow-like appearance to simulate light dispersion. It has a higher refraction index than true quartz or rock crystal, closer to a diamond's clarity and cut.
HOW DURABLE IS SWAROVSKI CRYSTAL JEWELRY?
The MOHS Hardness Scale for Gemstones starts with talc at 1 (the softest mineral) and ending with diamonds at 10 (the hardest mineral). Swarovski crystal has a Mohs hardness of between 6-7 so can obtain scratches and chips from wear and tear but at the same time, it’s harder than standard glass.
CAN YOU TAKE A SHOWER WITH SWAROVSKI JEWELRY? NO
CAN YOU WEAR SWAROVSKI JEWELRY EVERY DAY? NO
Swarovski is a fashion jewelry brand, the materials used in creating their jewelry is not as durable as fine jewelry and the plating will wear off with wear and tear. Everthing from soap to the air affects plating! Cystal is prone to chipping as it doesn't have the durability of other stones/ gems.
If you want it to last you will have to adhere to their care advice which is available on their website and states the following:
"All Swarovski fashion jewelry is traditionally crafted and therefore very delicate. As a result, special care is required.
Swarovski jewelry care instructions:
1. Store your jewelry individually in the original packaging or a soft pouch to avoid damage.
2. Polish your jewelry frequently with a lint free cloth to maintain its original sparkling condition.
3. Our recommendation is, to always place the jewelry on last, as a finishing touch to an outfit.
4. And don’t forget to remove your Swarovski jewelry before washing your hands, swimming, or using products such as perfume, hairspray, soap, or lotion. Such products may harm the metal, cause discoloration, or cause a loss of crystal brilliance.
5. Avoid contact that may scratch or chip the crystal"
WHAT METAL IS SWAROVSKI JEWELRY MADE OF?
Even though non-precious base metals don’t hold the same value or prestige as precious metals, they allow inexpensive pieces to be produced, which are accessible and affordable to the masses. So because of this affordability more elaborate, exciting and bigger bolder designs are viable.
As Swarovski is a fashion jewelry brand, they use non-precious metals. Probably a base metal alloy with a number of metal combinations.Which metal alloy do they use? I can't say for sure. Most fashion jewelry is made from one base metal or an alloy (mix) of inexpensive and common base metals. These include lead, zinc, copper, iron, nickel, tin, and aluminum.
The base metal is then plated with rhodium-, gold-, rose gold or some other precious metal. Plating is a thin deposit (layer) of metal (silver, gold, rhodium or rose gold) that is electroplated (applied) to the surface of the base metal by electrolysis. Many other materials, like plastic, can also be plated. Many plated items are plated with copper first, then the final color. Plating over the base metal gives the piece of jewelry durability and the appearance of fine jewelry.
If the piece of jewelry isn't looked after and worn too often, the plating will wear off eventually. The swarovski crystal stones eventually fall out as they have been glued in and not set like in fine jewelry. Luckily Swarovski offer repair services so you can keep your jewel pieces longer.
DOES SWAROVSKI JEWELRY HOLDS ITS VALUE COMPARED TO FINE JEWELRY?
Generally speaking, even buying fine jewelry is like purchasing a car- as soon as you start walking out the store your piece is losing its monetary value. It is only worth its weight in gold if you do decide to sell it later on. Of course, there are exceptions, like expensive bespoke pieces crested by a high jewelry brand, these may keep or increase it's value if sold to the right buyer.
On the other hand, fashion Jewelry loses most of its value as it is made from inexpensive abundant metals and can't be resold to metal merchants like precious metals. Most fashion jewelry if they have aged ok, ends up being resold at vintage stores, online and markets very cheaply. Swarovski jewelry might be priced little more than these as they are a coveted popular brand with great designs, but will have devalued significantly from it's original store price.
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