This year you will notice massive Swarovski® crystals used on
garments, accessories and jewellery pieces. They certainly
make a statement. But you will also see fine Swarovski crystals
as delicate embellishment on lingerie.
Today laboratory produced gems
such as Cubic Zirconia worked
with gold or precious metals, help manufacturers achieve
higher end fashion jewellery looks. Now that the ordinary consumer has become more
demanding, top quality laboratory made gems and crystal are
order of the day. Frequently the name Swarovski is mentioned along with the
stone type, as an indication of the highest quality of man made
Jewelled necklines, bodice yokes, cuffs, belts and hems make
use of bold cabochons and glittering crystals.
Evening bags and shoes drip with bold beads and
crystals. No wonder women adore Manolo Blahnik shoes.
crystal makes satin Manolos sparkle with energy. Notice how a perfect dainty bejewelled
as shown left, won't hold
much, but who needs a necklace when you have such a sparkling
accessory to hide a girl's must-have essentials.
The contemporary design world is in love with Swarovski
crystal. Its forward approach to research and development
is well suited to a progressive world.
Suddenly there is a noticeable trend to state that the crystal
used in an item is Swarovski. This crystal ring
right is from Marks and Spencer and uses Swarovski crystal.
The retailer makes a feature of informing the consumer that the
crystal in the ring is sourced from Swarovski.
Once the phrase crystal or Austrian crystal would have sufficed; now
consumers want to know it's top quality crystal and made by one
group only - that brand is Swarovski. Logos on products may
have waned, but brand naming is alive and kicking.
Swarovski is a 3 billion dollar company. In recent years
they have risen to face the challenge of competition
from the booming nations of Chindia (China and India).
Left - Nadja Swarovski, vice chairman of international communications
at Swarovski is is responsible for the current revival of
Swarovski and the latest partnership of art, commerce and design.
is one of the family team at Swarovski, working to ensure the
brand stays ahead of other newcomers to the market.
Blessed with both brains and beauty, she is the perfect
ambassador for promoting the product. The bold necklace
she wear is a forward looking design. New design ideas
like this and innovative stones are giving Swarovski the global
edge in crystal bead production. Earlier Swarovski crystal jewellery
like this luxurious crystal and faux pearl collar right is
equally stunning and pretty
Think about this - have you ever heard the word crystal mentioned with any other brand name? You may have heard the term Austrian, or Czech/Bohemian with crystal, but hear the word
Swarovski and instantly you know it refers to precision cut
brilliant crystal. Top quality crystal at that.
Image above left is courtesy of Swarovski.
Right - Property of a Lady Swarovski crystal and faux pearl
collar with extender for lengthening plus earrings and which I bought
years ago. Good quality costume jewellery lasts when
stored correctly and always comes back into fashion.
The original founder Daniel Swarovski a Bohemian inventor,
moved to Austria over a century ago. Daniel Swarovski had an innovative
and valuable crystal cutting
technique. Swarovski wanted to safeguard his
visionary invention and he used it to fend off competition from
other Bohemian crystal makers. He moved to
the Tyrolean Alps town of Wattens in 1895, where he built his
crystal empire with family and local craftsmen.
According to Swarovski, the company today has 20,000 employees and is run by 4th and 5th generation
family members. In 2006 the global turnover was 2.33 billion
Euros. The two major divisions consist of the manufacture of loose Swarovski crystals and the second division
selling designer driven finished products.
industrial brands are related to
optical instruments, but of
particular note is the Signity brand of laboratory created and genuine
gemstones. The Swarovski brand products such as their
branded Strass crystal chandeliers, both traditional and modern,
are highly regarded across the world. Read the amazing
statistics about the Swarovski crystal chandelier in the film
The Phantom of the Opera in my review of the film.
The Swarovski company continues to work on new concepts to
improve the products. They work relentlessly to maintain their
superior position against Chinese and Czech rival companies.
Little wonder we have come to regard Swarovski crystal as the
finest in the world.
Right - a Giles Deacon dress that has been
trademarked buzzword for Swarovski embellished designer goods
In the last few years Swarovski have given designers the
opportunity to work with Swarovski crystals. A series of
fashion shows, called Fashion Rocks, is the catwalk showcase for innovative use of
Swarovski crystals in dress and accessories.
It's easy for consumers to understand how crystal can be
incorporated into styles with easily detachable items, such as
buckles on belts, or collar necklines as shown directly left and
below left on the Christopher
Kane design. Medieval and gothic elements in fashion give
a grand flavour to oversized stones when used in a bold manner.
However, it's harder to comprehend how a dress fabric that is
CRYSTALLIZED™ can create a totally new fashion look, since the
fabric drape is altered by the crystal weight.
Above right and below right Swarovski encrusted belt from Lacroix.
Images right courtesy IFTF.
Nadja Swarovski has worked to promote Swarovski among fashion
designers by supplying them generous amounts of prepared crystal
material to experiment with and let their creativity run wild.
All the major
fashion names have been provided with Swarovski crystals and
synthetic gems to help conceptualise novel end uses for
Swarovski crystal/gem materials.
Designers and design houses all approach the materials
differently creating and innovating in their own style.
Some are lavish with their use of crystals totally embellishing
the fabric. Others sprinkle the crystals lightly, or
singly as above.
The designers have been using stones and building them in
arrangements which are totem like in their architecture.
Left - Swarovski CRYSTALLIZED™ dress from Sinha Stanic.
Right - Close up detail of the Sinha Stanic embellishment.
left - Flor Vaquero, Centre 2, Masha Verrier, far right
Alexander McQueen. Notice the different type of
decorative bead Swarovski produces with pearl effects probably
surprising you. The designers use the natural elements of a
garment - cuffs, collars, sleeves and hipline focus as areas for
with Swarovski crystal encrustation. Voila - the garments
have been Swarovski CRYSTALLIZED™.
Chanel, Prada, Alexander McQueen, Dolce and Gabbana, Julian
Macdonald and also Christopher Bailey at Burberry Prorsum have
all incorporated Swarovski into their designs with gusto. Each
has imaginatively produced garments of a calibre which
can now be labelled CRYSTALLIZED™.
With an eye to the future, Swarovski have created some new
trademarks. One that will especially interest fashion
clothing consumers is the Swarovski trademark of CRYSTALLIZED™ -
Swarovski have trademarked this term
when you see a fashion item with the CRYSTALLIZED™ label you know
that the embellishment is with top quality, precision cut,
Swarovski crystal or stones.
Right - Backstage finishing of garment, a Giambattista Valli
fashion design with Swarovski crystals.
designer goods are now available internationally. The term can
relate not only to fashion and
accessories, but also to areas of home decor and even Swarovski crystal decorative body transfers.
are all courtesy of Swarovski.
jewellery elements are a part of high fashion collections at
the very best design houses. These design houses also include
Gucci, Dior, Schiaparelli and Versace. In recent years
they have worked with an even wider cache of world class design
houses such as Alexander McQueen to create catwalk fashion
looks, that combine jewellery with the mood of the moment.
And it's not just the established designers that Swarovski
have given their support. This beautiful Lady in Red dress
thumbnail image, is courtesy of young designer Christopher Raeburn.
Christopher gained his MA from the Royal College of Art in 2006.
This red dress left, is one he designed for a Swarovski
competition in 2004. The enlarged view, gives a clearer
view of the Swarovski crystal work. This design is very
different from Christopher's current work which is more urban.
You can see some more
Raeburn Designs on Christopher's website where he is showing
his latest designs from his partnership with his brother Graeme
The CRYSTALLIZED™ - Swarovski Elements message, was unveiled
at their platform at the Hong Kong Fashion Jewellery and
Accessories Fair for Asia in June 2007.
Along with the CRYSTALLIZED™ concept of Swarovski Elements, comes a visual image of a
crystallized eye now frequently seen in glossy magazines.
Swarovski is the world's largest producer of cut crystal
and they continue to work on other aspects of design. This varies
from liaising with the
designers and planners of wedding gowns to those of table objects and
ornaments used at
Crystal has been used in bridal wear for years as it gives
that fairytale magical flourish to a gown or hair ornament. The perfect wedding dress always has an interesting back!
Swarovski white dress by Ir Rodarte.
In recent years wearing hair ornaments has gained a new
following. You can buy crystal tiaras from a wide
range of sources and with a wide price range. Beware, not all will
be the genuine Swarovski article. Make sure your crystal tiara
for your special day is made from Swarovski crystal for extra
sparkle. There is a wide range of tiaras available,
alternatively you can commission a
one of a kind design from an independent designer.
One reason Marilyn likes to use Swarovski crystal, is quite
simply that the beads have greater brilliance than other brands.
Also the range of colours in Swarovski crystals is enormous.
The very best crystals set off the richly nacre coated
freshwater pearls Marilyn uses. The selected
Swarovski crystals in this tiara have an aurora borealis finish.
The Swarovski aurora borealis finish is renowned for catching
the light and picks up nearby colours. In this case the peach
background is reflected in the crystals. If the background
were blue, the reflection would pick up blue tones. Just about any colour
combination would be possible that you request, to match the modern trend
for coloured wedding dresses.
Of course the modern bride should check out
Headphones available at Harrods on the
Techellery page here. Phillips renowned for
electrical products, have worked with Swarovski to create
Active Crystals - innovative wearable technology.
are consistently working to create new crystals and other
Swarovski stones. They create new colourations and
finishes for new stones that also work well with the latest
Swarovski's new generation
of crystals are the Xilion crystals. The new XILION cut, has a complex geometry that
gives a multi-layer cut look crystal. Xilion crystals are
cut with 14 alternating facets instead of 8. These alternating
facets of different sizes produce perfect refraction and particularly intense light
distribution. The sparkle of this new Xilion crystal is unsurpassed in the
world of man made crystals.
Swarovski also experiment with metallic and pearl coatings.
Innovations in crystals include the production of milkier toned
crystals with an opaline, alabaster or moonstone shimmer to
them. For a few years now Swarovski have been introducing
their new line of Opalescent beads. These crystals have a
softer more minimal look and are easier for day looks.
This opaline effect stone is very attractive and I expect
opaline looks to become hugely popular.
Modern day competitors to Swarovski include for example
www.lianhk.com of Lian Industrial Co. Ltd, a Chinese
crystal rhinestone manufacturer since the 1980s. Every
week I get letters from competitive Chinese crystal and
synthetic gem manufacturers, all in competition with
Swarovski. They all have a lot of catching up to do.
As consumers this may actually benefit us all, as each company
strives for a higher quality to maintain standards that a
discerning clientele demand.
Finally when and wherever you buy Swarovski®
crystal make sure that to get the real thing that the name is
spelt correctly. Swarovski® is the correct name
spelling, not svroski, swroski, svaroski, soroski, svarosky, swarski,
swavorski, swarosky or swarozski.
You have been reading an original jewellery article by Pauline
Weston Thomas from
Images courtesy of Swarovski, Marks and Spencer, Pearls Plus,
Read more about these colours and about
fabrics on the Spring 2007 colour page.
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