Rhinestones add an eye-catching sparkle to wherever you add them. Moreover, you’ll find tutorials on bedazzling virtually anything and everything fromclothing to shoes and accessories. When shopping for rhinestones, most likely you’ll find the circular flat back crystal to be the most widely available. However, manufacturers make many more shapes than just round rhinestones.
Common Rhinestone Shapes
Of course, all manufacturers differ in their product offerings. Some only make round rhinestones while others create all kinds of shaped crystal rhinestones. Generally, among rhinestone companies, you’ll find these common shapes:
Typically, manufacturers offer limited colors for glue on crystals in these different contours. Sometimes, you’ll only find sew on crystals in a particular shape. Usually, the round rhinestone offers the most color and size options than any other shape. Furthermore, different crystal shaped rhinestones are generally more expensive than the circular option.
Glassmakers Imitated Diamond Cutters
The history of manufactured rhinestones closely follows the development of cutting precious gems. After all, glassmakers created rhinestones to mimic more expensive stones at a lower price. Their inspiration came from the banks of the Rhine River hundreds of years ago where people found a unique form of quartz.
Quartz is very abundant on earth producing several gemstone colors including Amethyst, Citrine, and Chalcedony. Although you can find quartz in many areas of the world, these particular pieces blended with lead to give them unique glittering properties. Over time, people depleted this natural resource, yet still wanted these sparkling stones.
Glassmakers strove to fill this void. To the east, Bohemia had an abundant supply of raw materials and craftsmen. Artisans began turning out beautiful glass beads bringing fame and prominence to the area. These glassmakers also began testing different ingredients to create a clearer final product. This new form of glass, crystal, was denser allowing more precise cutting.
Also during this time, stonecutters began experimenting with facet arrangement on diamonds. They learned that the cuts or facets on a diamond helped control and direct rays of light. Around this time, the brilliant round cut diamond, with its numerous facets, made its appearance. This particular diamond cut optimized light reflection and refraction as well as exhibiting the most brilliance. Glassmakers took notice. In 1715, the world’s first cut crystal stone, the chaton, received a patent.
As technology advanced, so did these “pierres de strass” or rhinestones. Artisans found new ways to color the glass and even added a mirror backing for greater light reflection. New cutting machines, like Daniel Swarovski’s electric machine, meant artisans could cut crystal faster and more precisely.
Round Rhinestones Are the Most Popular Shape Today
As time passed, rhinestones moved from jewelry to fashion. The 1878 World Exhibition in Paris, France, created a new demand for these “diamond jewels” that dressmakers could sew onto clothing. Designers like Coco Chanel began incorporating rhinestones into their fashions. In later decades, nail technicians would add rhinestones to their manicures.
Today, you’ll find rhinestones on shoes, pocketbooks, phone cases, key fobs, tumblers, and so many more items. While some designs will incorporate other rhinestone shapes, the round rhinestone remains the most widely used option.
Perhaps it’s because a circle is a perfect shape with versatility. It’s easy to work with especially when creating curves for letters or symbols. Or, perhaps it’s because the round rhinestone has more facets than most other shapes. With more facets, the rhinestone reflects a more captivating sparkle. Whatever the reason, the round shape remains the favorite choice today.
Where Can I Buy Quality Rhinestones?
Rhinestones Etc. has a large selection of round rhinestones. We’ve been selling quality embellishments since 2011. You’ll love our fast processing times and for many orders, same day shipping. Stop by our online store to find your color.
I have been adding bling for over 20 years. Through my projects, I hope you find inspiration.