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Are Swarovski Crystals Really Valuable or Just an Expensive Gimmick?

The true story behind Swarovski’s famous crystals

It is accepted that delightful adornments, precious stones, or pearls can draw out the best out of a woman when worn in the right places for the right event. This trend of jewellery and accessories have had extraordinary significance in women’s lives since the dawn of human civilisation as they have brought out the elegance of the feline nature, time after time.

When Marilyn Monroe first sang “Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend” in the hit musical Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, she was actually wearing Swarovski crystals. Having been adorned by many Hollywood starlets from Audrey Hepburn to the more recent Heidi Klum, Swarovski is a jewellery brand that offers crystal jewellery that sparkles like diamonds and adornments to style a lady with elegance.

This article will examine the background of the Swarovski Group, whether their crystals are worth your money and how they are unique in relation to other popular retail jewellery brands like Tiffany & Co. and Pandora.

The Swanky History Of Swarovski

The Swarovski Group originated in 1895 with the efforts of Daniel Swarovski, who was the main founder of the Swarovski Group. In 1892, Swarovski patented an electric glass cutting machine that can cut crystals more precisely than manual hands. Three years later (in 1895), the Swarovski company was founded in a small town on the Austrian Alps.

Swarovski’s exceptional mastery of crystal cutting turned the name Swarovski into a major player in the jewellery and fashion industries. Their enduring passion for crystal jewellery and innovative ideas has made the company one of the world’s premier jewellery and accessory brands.

The company is split into three major parts: the Swarovski Crystal Business, which primarily produces Crystal glass, jewellery and accessories; Swarovski Optik, which produces optical instruments such as telescopes, telescopic sights for rifles, and binoculars; and Tyrolit, a manufacturer of grinding, sawing, drilling, and dressing tools, as well as a supplier of tools and machines.

How Did Its Crystals Become World-Famous?

Swarovski crystals got their prominence partly due to the fashion industry. By teaming up with Hollywood to deck starlets with jewellery on its sets, the partnership between fashion brands and Swarovski thrust the brand into the forefront of a captivated American audience. Their jewellery, made out of glass crystals, started to be adopted by one Hollywood actress after another. Soon, pretty much everyone in the era of Marilyn Monroe clamoured to own a Swarovski.

Some of the fashion titans with which the Swarovski group has worked with include Balenciaga, Coco Chanel and Christian Dior.

How Swarovski’s Crystals Fare Against Its Competitors (Pandora, Tiffany & Co.)

If you’re wondering if Swarovski’s crystals or gems are natural: they are not. Swarovski’s jewellery does not incorporate natural diamonds or gemstones. Their crystals are synthetic glass crystal cut to look like diamonds; essentially non-precious lead glass cut into specific shapes and dimensions.  These crystals do not hold a high value for its inherent material but are priced higher due to their brand name, quality, work process, and unique artwork.

Brands like Tiffany & Co. and Pandora, however, deal with natural diamonds and gemstones.

Pandora deals exclusively with naturally occurring diamonds in its jewellery. They even have a guide to understanding the quality of diamonds for their customers.

Tiffany & Co. goes one step further to accept only “conflict-free” diamonds, being able to trace up to 100% of their diamonds from five countries: Botswana, Canada, Namibia, Russia and South Africa in 2019. They have similar protocols in place for precious metals, gemstones and other rare minerals.

As you may expect, the resale value of Swarovski crystals do not fare as well as their competitors.

Here are some examples of Tiffany & Co. and Pandora jewellery compared to Swarovski with their respective prices:

Tiffany T1 Hinged Bangle In Rose Gold

Price: US$19,900

– 18k rose gold with round brilliant diamonds

– Carat total weight: 2.18

Studded with small diamonds around the 18k rose gold bangle, this piece of jewellery like many others of the Tiffany & Co. brand carries the signature T motif and comes with its signature high price point too.

Pandora Beads & Pavé Bracelet

Price: US$75.00

– Metal: Sterling Silver

– Stone: Cubic Zirconia

Compared to the Tiffany bangle, Pandora’s bracelets are tailored for a more mass-market audience, priced at a much lower range and made with semi-precious stones rather than diamonds and gold.

Swarovski Swan Lake Bangle, White, Rhodium plated

Price: US$169.00

– Color: White

– Material: Rhodium plated

Although Swarovski does not incorporate naturally occurring diamonds or gemstones into its jewellery, the craftsmanship and branding of the swan still confer beauty and elegance onto its wearer. With more than a century’s worth of experience perfecting the art of jewellery making, can you really doubt the craftsmanship of Swarovski’s jewellery?

Read Also: Top 5 Most Valuable Adidas Sneakers That Prove Affordable Sneakers May Actually Be An Emerging Asset Class

As a retail jeweller focusing on mass-market jewellery, Swarovski crystals are well-known for their brand and craftsmanship. If you are looking for reasons to consider Swarovski jewellery as a gift or to celebrate a milestone, here are some of the main reasons to look at this esteemed fashion brand.

#1 Swarovski Crystals Are Beautiful and Affordable

Swarovski crystals are made to look similar to diamonds and are cut with precision. Its synthetic crystals hold the luxurious shimmer of a perfect crystal cut that makes them special and appealing for anyone to buy. Moreover, these crystals are affordable and should fall comfortably within the budget of anyone looking to buy a piece of jewellery.

#2 Premium Quality Crystals That Can Last For Years

When you first purchase a Swarovski crystal, it’s hard to think that they would lose their brilliance over time. The reality is that it can, but it would take a few years for it to happen, depending on how well you take care of your jewellery.

This is partly because Swarovski crystals have a score of 6 or 7 on the MOHS scale of hardness; diamonds are a 10, rubies and sapphires are a 9, while opals are a 5.5 to 6.5. The lower the hardness is, the more scratch-prone your crystals are. As the scratches accumulate, then the crystal will get cloudy. Keep it sparkling longer with proper care.

#3 Swarovski Crystal are Easy to Maintain

Precious metals and gemstones usually need cleaning and high maintenance in order to keep their sheen. However, Swarovski glass crystals do not require high maintenance and professional cleaning.

You can clean it with just a lint-free cloth and warm water in a circular motion to maintain its sparkle. You can also clean off stubborn oils and dirt with the help of a bristled toothbrush, lukewarm water, and a drop of gentle dish washer. Hence, it is not at all difficult to maintain the brilliant shine of your crystals.

Overpriced Relative To Resale Value

If you are looking to invest in jewellery that can hold its value over time, then Swarovski may not be the right brand for you. Other mass-market retail jewellers like Pandora also do not offer pieces worth much resale value.

They may look beautiful because of their finely cut crystals, but on the resale market, Swarovski crystals are not worth much because glass crystals are just not inherently valuable.

The Swarovski brand has endured over a century and competed against the likes of Tiffany & Co. for good reason. Its crystals, although not inherently as valuable to collectors compared to other gemstones or diamonds, still pose an attractive proposition for those looking to wear classic, timeless jewellery that were made with excellent craftsmanship. For those looking to find affordable yet exquisite jewellery, Swarovski may just be the perfect starting point for your journey to expressing yourself with elegance.

Featured Image Credit: Giovanni Lidya/DollarsAndSense

Read Also: The 4Cs For Buying Diamonds: What You Need To Know Before Buying An Engagement Ring


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