Today, there are many rhinestone products on the market made by many different companies. It can be downright confusing when trying to decide on the best quality rhinestone. Moreover, there are several factors to consider when buying rhinestones, including what material the manufacturer makes the rhinestone from. Accordingly, you may see rhinestones advertised as crystal or glass. Is there a difference and are crystal rhinestones the best to buy?
Rhinestones Etc. sells quality crystal rhinestones at discount pricing. What’s more, you can get free shipping off your first purchase!
A Brief History
As early as 1500 BC, ancient civilizations in Mesopotamia and Egypt were making some type of glass vessels. It was during the Middle Ages, however, that glass making flourished especially in Venice and Murano, Italy. Surprisingly, it was an English businessman who in 1674 filed the first patent for leaded glass. His formula produced a heavier, denser glass with greatly increased refractive power. It’s this prismatic power, the ability to break up light like a prism, that attracted jewelers.
Particularly, a French jeweler, Georg Friedrich Strass, created the first man-made rhinestone sometime in in the early 1700s. Production blossomed in Bohemian where artisans perfected rhinestone making. However, rhinestones were still only for the wealthy as craftsmen cut each one by hand. Then in 1895, Daniel Swarovski, a Bohemian jeweler, patented an electric cutting machine which manufactured rhinestones more cheaply and quicker.
What About the Prismatic Effect?
Since then, the rhinestones market has exploded with production now also in China and Korea. Some Asian brands advertise low lead crystal and some just as glass. When purchasing rhinestones, does it really matter?
Of course, the name brand names Swarovski and Preciosa rhinestones are all cut from genuine crystal. However, because of health concerns with lead, these companies have developed crystal rhinestones without the use of lead. Their patented formulas produce high-quality crystal that has the prismatic quality.
So, what exactly is this prismatic quality and why is it so important in producing sparkle in rhinestones? Sunlight, as we know, is actually a combination of different colors on different wavelengths. Light bends as it moves from air through another surface or medium. How much the light bends as it travels through the medium is the refractive index. Dispersion, which is the separating of colors into a rainbow, is a byproduct of refraction.
Ordinary glass has refractive properties but adding lead or other metals dramatically increases the refractive index. Items with a higher refractive index tend to show more brilliance, as the medium bends light at a higher angle. Additionally, more light reflects back to the eye, rather than passing straight through the medium. Consequently, rhinestones made from material with a higher refractive index, such as crystal, will have more sparkle. Comparatively, rhinestones made from material with a lower refractive index such as glass will have less sparkle.
Crystal Rhinestones – Where to Buy
There are quality crystal rhinestones manufactured by lesser known companies. However, if maximum sparkle is important, make sure the producer cuts them from crystal and not just glass. And when shopping for rhinestones priced competitively, shop at Rhinestones Etc.
Selling online for over 10 years, Rhinestones Etc. has fast shipping, discount pricing and quality customer service. And now get free shipping off your first purchase!
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On your first purchase of quality embellishments from Rhinestones Etc.