Today, you’ll find plenty of rhinestone products made by many companies. Usually, you’ll find differences in the color selection of manufacturers’ offerings. Often, your project can help you choose a complementary rhinestone color. However, picking between glass or crystal rhinestones can be more difficult. Let’s look at the differences between these 2 materials.
The Difference Between Glass and Crystal
Modern crystal making began with Renaissance glassmakers. Typically, the glass of the day tended to cloud after several months, a process known as crizzling. The exact details of why one artisan added lead into the process are unknown. However, in 1674, King Charles II of England granted George Ravenscroft a patent for this new product. With the addition of lead, Ravenscroft’s glass became denser and clearer, with a higher refraction index.
While Ravenscroft focused on glassware, a French jeweler was more interested in producing imitation gemstones. Typically, historians credit Georg Friedrich Strass with the invention of the first rhinestone. He added a foil backing to small pieces of crystal to produce an effect similar to diamonds.
Today, you’ll find an abundance of rhinestone manufacturers and retailers. These companies use different materials and processes to create their product. Thus, not all rhinestones have the same sparkle.
Top 4 Reasons to Choose Crystal Rhinestones
Typically, all glass has reflective, refractive, and dispersion properties. Adding lead as an ingredient in glassmaking increased the refraction and dispersion indexes. Crystal is the highest quality rhinestone due to 4 important qualities:
1. Dispersion Properties
Often called the prismatic effect, dispersion creates a rainbow by separating light into its component colors. Basically, the amount of dispersion depends on 2 properties of rhinestones: the material and facets. Due to its natural characteristics, crystal exhibits more dispersion ability than glass. Additionally, each little facet cut into the rhinestone acts like a prism to break up light.
2. Crystal Has a Higher Refractive Index Than Glass
Transparent materials allow light to travel through them. However, as light passes from a less dense medium to a denser material, it slows down. As it slows, it also bends. Scientists call this property the refractive index.
All transparent materials have a refractive index. The higher the index, the greater the sparkle and brilliance of the material. Moreover, as the refractive index increases, so does the amount of dispersion. Crystal, including lead-free products, has a higher refractive index than glass.
3. Crystal Is Stronger than Glass
Although a form of glass, crystal is stronger, denser, and more malleable than traditional glass. This gives artisans the ability to cut more precise facets, and at different angles into the surface of the crystal. Both the number of facets and their arrangement help determine the rhinestone’s performance.
4. Crystal Always Has More Clarity
Often, pure glass can have a certain cloudiness or tint to it. On the other hand, crystal is always clear. Of course, to create rhinestone colors, manufacturers use additional ingredients in their crystals. Sometimes, these ingredients can change the transparency of the rhinestone.
Where to Buy Crystal Rhinestones
When it’s time to buy crystal rhinestones, how do you know you’re purchasing a good product? Of course, if you buy a name brand, like Preciosa, you know you’re getting an excellent rhinestone. However, lesser-known brands also produce quality products. Yet, descriptions of products can leave out details about the material and manufacturing process. Furthermore, retailers also call clear rhinestones “crystal”.
One way to ensure you buy a quality product is to choose your vendor carefully. At Rhinestones Etc. we’ve been selling quality embellishments online since 2011. We offer super-fast processing times so you get your rhinestones quickly. Plus, we have a huge inventory of brand-name Preciosa crystal products.
Moreover, we have excellent customer service and love to answer your questions. Browse our online store today to find your color!
I have been adding bling for over 20 years. Through my projects, I hope you find inspiration.