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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Most people know Swarovski as the premier brand of crystal and rhinestones. Their Xirius Rhinestones has more facets than any other manufacturer, 16. Together with the array of stunning colors of rhinestones make them the rhinestone of choice. While known for the quality of crystal the company produces, most people are unaware of their recycling efforts. Truly, Swarovski has been at the edge of innovation from the very beginning of their existence. Some people aren’t aware of their environmental initiatives as they continually strive to make Swarovski Rhinestone the green alternative.
Nowadays, many people are concerned with factories and their impact on the Earth. Many are trying to be greener or use sustainable practices to create a cleaner and healthier environment. Certainly, Swarovski is one of those companies who takes greener initiatives very seriously.
History of Swarovski
Founded in 1895 by Daniel Swarovski in Austria, the fifth generation of family members run the company. Indeed, from the very beginning, Swarovski factories have been creating crystal through environmentally sound practices. In 2010, the company decided to take a more formal approach and issued the first of its sustainability reports.
Henceforth, every 2 years, the company takes a hard look at their practices and issues a report on their progress. Swarovski continually seeks new opportunities to reduce energy consumption and lower emissions by adopting innovative energy efficiency measures and identifying opportunities to use renewable energy.
According to their 2017 report, the company has a 26% decline in total energy consumption since 2010. The report cites the following energy efficiency and recycling efforts:
The Lead-Free Alternative – Swarovski Rhinestone
Certainly, scientific studies have proven without a doubt about the negative effects of lead. Unfortunately, for many years the only way to manufacture crystal was to include lead as an ingredient in the process. However, with the negative effects of lead, producers of crystal have sought to make crystal without lead.
Since 2012, Swarovski has been doing just that with 100% of its crystal line is completely lead -free. The company has a patented formula that does not sacrifice the quality associated with Swarovski. Therefore, you can feel completely confident in using Swarovski Rhinestones to embellish your young daughter’s dance costume.
Where to Buy Rhinestones
Rhinestones Etc has been selling embellishments online for 10 years. We have discount pricing on rhinestones including Swarovski Rhinestones and great customer service.
And now you can get free shipping off your first purchase!
Just click on the button above to get your coupon code for free shipping off your first purchase!
Have you ever had the opportunity to be far up North to see the Aurora Borealis or Northern Lights? If so, then you know the beautiful display they put on every night. Colors such as green, pink, red, yellow, blue and violet dance in the night sky. This phenomenon is caused by charged particles released from the sun’s atmosphere colliding with gaseous particles in the Earth’s atmosphere. As a result, there is a stunning display of spectacular dancing colors in the sky.
AB Rhinestone Color Explained
To replicate this phenomenon, rhinestone manufactures developed the AB or Aurore Boreale rhinestone. AB rhinestones are a beautiful display of colors very similar to the Northern Lights. To put it simply, this rhinestone is a base color with an iridescent coating over it. The result is an ever changing color rhinestone. As the light catches the rhinestone, different colors are reflected back much like the changing colors of the Northern Lights. In addition, AB rhinestones, pick up the color of the fabric you place the stone on. Therefore, their color reflection will change based on the background. It’s for this reason that AB rhinestones are so popular, for their ability to change color.
AB Rhinestone Colors Available
As previously mentioned, AB rhinestones are popular. The most popular AB rhinestone is the crystal AB. This rhinestone is a base crystal with an AB coating. The crystal base matches any color it’s used with. In addition, this rhinestone picks up the color it’s paired with while reflecting a myriad of other colors.
Swarovski Crystal AB Rhinestone
There is a great variety of standard colors coated with the AB coating. Lighter AB colors such as Fuchsia AB reflect more of the rainbow effect and more colors. Darker colors such as Jet AB or reflect less. However, all AB colors reflect more than just their base color.
Swarovski Fuchsia AB Rhinestone Swarovski Jet AB Rhinestones
Swarovski has over 30 different AB colors as does Preciosa while Lux offers just under 30. These rhinestones offer you a wide selection of choices, so you are sure to find the color you need. If you need help choosing the right color for your project, just ask. We’re also happy to assist you!
Do you need rhinestones? Rhinestones Etc. has great prices with excellent customer service! And click on the button to get free shipping off your first purchase!
Drinking from a Waterford Crystal goblet is an opulent experience. The crystal-clear clarity of the goblet and the play of light along its surfaces are visually stimulating. It’s an entirely different experience sipping from a Waterford Crystal glass than from an ordinary piece of glass stemware. For elegance and luxury, the choice is crystal clear.
The difference between glass and crystal rhinestones is similar to wine glasses. With flat faceted surfaces to reflect light, both produce sparkle. However, crystal rhinestones have a higher refraction index resulting in a greater reflection of light. Additionally, crystal has a higher dispersion index than glass giving it a prismatic effect.
Isn't Crystal Rhinestone a Color?
Indeed, it is and that’s where some confusion can arise. When you’re referring to crystal as a rhinestone color, you’re talking about the clear rhinestone. There’s also a clear rhinestone with the rainbow coating called Crystal AB as well as many other rhinestone colors. The color name has nothing to do with the material the manufacturer makes the rhinestone from. If you’re shopping for rhinestones, it’s important to determine the material the manufacturer uses to produce its rhinestones.
Actually, crystal is a form of glass. Manufacturers make crystal by mixing glass components with lead. In doing so, the glass becomes clearer and inherits a higher level of refraction as well as a prismatic effect. Due to safety concerns with lead, today some crystal manufacturers substitute other minerals in place of lead. Many of these lead-free crystals still have similar refraction and prismatic effects of leaded crystal.
Have you ever played with a prism as a child? Light enters the prism, bends, and exits the prism as a rainbow. Crystal has the same effect on light as a prism. This is why crystal chandeliers produce rainbows on nearby walls.
How Does the Rhinestone Quality Compare?
Generally, crystal is harder and denser than glass. This allows manufacturers to precision cut facets into the surface of the rhinestone. Glass is softer and the edges of the facets wear down faster. Additionally, because it is a softer material, it’s harder to cut many facets into the rhinestones. Typically, this is why you’ll find crystal rhinestones have more facets than glass rhinestones.
In particular, the top name brands, Swarovski and Preciosa, manufacture lead-free crystal with the highest number of facets. These lead-free rhinestones have all the sparkle and brilliance of their previous crystal. Swarovski’s Xirius has 16 facets, while Preciosa’s Maxima has 15. The number of facets in glass rhinestones varies by manufacturer, but generally are between 8-11 facets.
The Importance of the Number of Rhinestone Facets and the Arrangement
Light reflects off of flat surfaces. Thus, the great the number of flat surfaces or facets a rhinestone has, the greater amount of light it reflects. Moreover, the arrangement of the facets along the surface affects the dispersion and reflection of light.
As light hits the surface of a rhinestone, the facets reflect some of the light back to the viewer. Some of the light enters the rhinestone, bounces inside, bends, and exits out the top. This bending of the light results in the prismatic effect as the crystal spits white light into colors. The number of facets and the angles determines light’s performance and visibility.
Should I Use Glass or Crystal Rhinestones for My Project?
Glass is cheaper to produce than crystal. Therefore, crystal rhinestones are more expensive than glass rhinestones. In some instances, you may want the highest quality rhinestone product. Jewelry projects or formal wear like a wedding gown may require brand name crystal rhinestones. Other times, you may want less expensive glass rhinestones.
If you need help in deciding, contact us. We’ll be happy to help. At Rhinestones Etc., customer service is our top priority. With fast shipping and discount pricing, we want to be your source for bling.
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If you are new to rhinestones, you may be confused by the choices of sizes, colors and manufacturers. There are acrylic or crystal rhinestones, hot fix or non-hot fix, round, square or practically any shape imaginable. Not to mention all the many colors available. So many choices and where to begin?
While there are many rhinestone options today, this was not always the case. Once upon a time, rhinestones were a naturally occurring resource. Quartz mixed with lead pebbles were found along the banks of the Rhine River, one of Europe’s greatest rivers. Eventually, this natural resource became depleted, and in 1715 the Czech company, Preciosa, developed a way to manufacture rhinestones. Daniel Swarovski originally worked for Preciosa and left to open his own company in 1895. Today, there are many manufacturers of crystal rhinestones as well as acrylic rhinestones.
Types of Rhinestones
Crystal rhinestones, those made by Swarovski, Preciosa and other manufacturers are laser cut. Different manufacturers have different number of facets. Keep in mind, that the more facets a rhinestone has, the more light it reflects. The Xiruis Rhinestone manufactured by Swarovski, has a whopping 16 facets. Preciosa Rhinestones have 12 facets. Should you decide to buy a non-brand name rhinestone, be sure to check on the number of facets as it will affect its sparkle.
Additionally, crystal rhinestones break up the light like a prism. Rhinestones sparkle so beautifully because of this prismatic effect combined with the number of facets. In 2012, Swarovski patented a new lead-free crystal formula making their stones CPSIA compliant. CPSIA laws govern lead content in items for children. For this reason, Swarovski is a good choice for parents who have children ice skating, dancing, or in participating other activities.
Acrylic rhinestones are molded rhinestones and while the facets do reflect the light, they do no have the prismatic effect of crystal. Inexpensive and lead free make acrylic rhinestones a good choice for children’s crafts.
The 4 C’s
Key points to keep in mind If you are planning on using a non-name brand rhinestone: the four C’s: color, cut, contour and clarity.
What about that “ss” size?
Originally, when rhinestones were found along the banks of the Rhine River, they were measured in “stone sizes” or “ss”. Although natural rhinestones are no longer, the “ss” system of measurement is still in use today. The smaller the number next to the “ss”, the smaller the rhinestones. Likewise, the larger number next to the “ss”, the larger the rhinestones. And the smaller the rhinestone, the more you will need to cover an area. By the same token, the larger the rhinestone, the less you will need to cover an area. Most retailers will also give the millimeter size.
Below is a conversion chart from ss to millimeters:
ss mm ss mm ss mm
3 1.4 8 2.35 20 4.7
4 1.6 9 2.65 30 6.41
5 1.8 10 2.85 34 7.17
6 2.0 12 3.1 40 8.54
7 2.15 16 3.9 48 11.11
There are two things to consider when applying rhinestones. First, the surface and then the type of rhinestone. Some adhesives provide a more permanent bond to some surfaces. Beacon’s Gem Tac is a great all-purpose glue. Gem Tac is recommended for fabric, wood, suede, glass, vinyl and metal.
E6000 is another adhesive suitable for just about any type of surface. Recommended for all the surfaces as Gem Tac as well as plastic, tile, ceramic, cement, rubber, leather and Styrofoam. However, this glue is a bit harder to work with as it’s thicker and harder to apply. Keep in mind that this glue dries quickly and must be used in a well-ventilated area.
Be careful as some adhesives are not recommended for use with Acrylic rhinestones. Beacon’s Fabri-Tac and E6000 are not recommended for use with these types of rhinestones. Always check the glue manufacturer’s instructions and the supplier of your rhinestones for the best adhesive to use.
How to attach Rhinestones to Fabric
After you pick your adhesive, you are ready to glue. Prewash whatever garment you are applying rhinestones to. Squeeze a drop of glue slightly smaller than the rhinestone on your fabric. Using a tweezer or wax tipped tool, pick up the rhinestone and gently press it into the glue drop. Some glue should seep out of the edges of the rhinestone. This makes a seal and helps to prevent the rhinestone from peeling off. Allow to dry flat for 24 hours.
Hot fix rhinestones are rhinestones with glue on the bottom. These can be adhered to fabric using a hot fix tool or a hot iron without steam. A hot fix tool is a wand with different size tips for the various size rhinestones. Position the rhinestones crystal side up, heat the tool, then vertically position the wand over the item you want to pick up. With a light touch, pick up the item in the cup at the end of the tip. It will stick in the tip. Depending on your type of wand, wait 10-15 seconds for the glue to heat (you will see it bubble). Gently tap the tip onto the fabric and the rhinestone will stick. Too much pressure will cause the rhinestone to stick in the tip so make sure you use a light touch. In a few minutes the glue will cool, and the rhinestone will be securely attached.
Another nifty tool is hot fix transfer paper. You can make complicated designs or lettering by laying rhinestones on the sticky side, then simply use an iron without steam to apply. The recommended temperature for glue activation by Swarovski is a temperature range of 120°C to 170°C (250°F to 340°F).
Due to a lack of absorbency, some fabrics are not suitable for use with hot fix rhinestones. These include tightly woven fabrics, very thin fabrics such as organza, leather or imitation leather as well as fabrics treated with water-repellent treatments, stain-resistant treatments and easy-to-care treatments.
Other Methods for Attaching Rhinestones
Two other ways of attaching rhinestones to fabric are sewing and metal settings. Sew-ons are rhinestones with predrilled holes for sewing. Simply sew the rhinestone on with a needle and thread through the holes. Rhinestones with metal settings that have channels on the back such as Rose Montees can be used for sewing as well.
There are two types of metal settings, tiffany and rim. Tiffany settings enter from the back of the fabric, the rhinestone is placed in the middle of the prongs and then prongs fold over the front of the rhinestone. Rim settings fit over the top of the rhinestone and the prongs are pushed into the fabric and folded on the backside of the fabric. There are also rhinestones already attached to metal settings such as Rose Pins.
How Many Rhinestones will I need?
What is the size area you are covering and are you completely covering it with rhinestones? And yes, it involves math.
For a straight line of rhinestones:
Step A. Multiply the number of inches by 25.4
Step B. Then divide your answer by the millimeter size of the rhinestone. So for:
3.1 for 12ss (3.1 is the mm size for 12ss rhinestones)
3.9 for 16ss (3.9 is the mm size for 16ss rhinestones)
4.76 for 20ss (4.76 is the mm size for 20ss rhinestones)
If you are covering a large area with rhinestones you will need this formula:
Step A. Find the area by multiplying the width and length of the area you wish to rhinestone.
Step B. Multiply the answer in Step 1 by
67.14 for 12ss rhinestones
42.41 for 16ss rhinestones
29.20 for 20ss rhinestones
The answer will be the amount of rhinestones you will need to cover that area. If you are still confused or need help in figuring out how many rhinestones you will need, contact us here at Rhinestones Etc and we will be glad to help you do the math.
What Color Rhinestones Should I use?
Much of choosing a color is preference but choosing certain colors will give your project a certain look. Choosing a rhinestone the same color as the background will provide sparkle while blending in. A contrasting color will pop while providing sparkle.
Not sure what color to use? Popular colors, crystal and crystal AB are good choices. Both colors look great with anything. Crystal is a clear rhinestone while Crystal AB is a clear rhinestone with an Aurore Boreale (AB) coating that gives the rhinestone a rainbow look. Crystal AB rhinestones are great at picking up and reflecting back the surrounding color.
Is your Head spinning from all this information? Do you have more questions than answers? Don’t hesitate to contact the friendly staff at Rhinestones Etc. We love to help people with their projects.
Crystal, glass, acrylic, or plastic. There are many rhinestone types available for purchase today. It wasn’t always so. The original rhinestone was a naturally occurring stone found along the banks of the Rhine River. These sparkling quartz pebbles most likely had a high lead content making them a highly sought prize. As the resource became depleted, glassmakers sought to copy the naturally occurring product.
Today, there are many different manufacturers of rhinestones producing an assortment of colors, sizes, and shapes. If this is your first-time shopping for rhinestones, it can be confusing when looking at all the choices. When searching for a company that can help you sort through all the array of choices, shop Rhinestones Etc.
A Brief History of Brand Name Rhinestone Manufacturers
Glass craftsmen sought to imitate the sparkle and brilliance of real gemstones particularly diamonds. In 1715, Bohemian glassmakers introduced the chaton, the world’s first cut crystal stone. Later on, craftsmen coated the back of the crystal with a metal foil. These early rhinestones closely resembled real diamonds in appearance. However, these rhinestones were quite expensive as glassmakers needed to cut each one by hand.
Almost 200 years later, one enterprising Bohemian glassmaker, Daniel Swarovski, devised a machine that cut crystal faster and more precise. This new invention cut crystal with unprecedented precision, revolutionizing rhinestone production. Moving to Austria, he worked hard to turn his product into the premier brand it is today.
Meanwhile, the craftsman of Bohemia continued to work independently until 1948. Then, the 25 companies and factories continuing the glassmaking tradition merged into one national company under the name of Preciosa. Today, the name Preciosa, like Swarovski, is synonymous with quality.
However, many other companies have sprung up to complete with these giants. These rhinestones may be crystal, glass, or acrylic with less facets. Consumers find these rhinestones appealing due to their much lower price point.
Do Rhinestones Have Molded or Cut Facets?
Facets are the small plane surfaces of the rhinestones. Depending on the manufacturer, rhinestone companies produce faceted rhinestones from a mold or cutting. Acrylic rhinestones have molded facets. Manufacturers inject acrylic into different shape molds. Typically, glass rhinestone manufacturers may use molds or cut facets. While crystal rhinestone manufacturers laser-cut facets.
One characteristic of a quality rhinestones is the number of facets and these vary by manufacturer. The more facets, the great the reflection of light. The Swarovski Xirius Rhinestone has the greatest number of facets of any brand with 16. Preciosa’s Maxima Rhinestone has 15 facets. Some of the other lesser-known brands may have 10 facets. Typically, acrylic rhinestones have only 8 facets.
Acrylic, Glass, or Crystal Rhinestones
Crystal rhinestones are the most expensive but also the most diamondlike. In the past, manufacturers made crystal by adding lead to glass. Today, many companies use barium instead because of the toxicity of lead. At any rate, mixing glass with one of these ingredients leads to higher refraction of light. Thus, when light hits the rhinestone, it acts as a prism, breaking light up into a myriad of colors. Both Swarovski and Preciosa produce a lead-free crystal rhinestone.
Made from plastic, acrylic rhinestones are lead-free. They are also the cheapest option and are great for crafting projects. Glass rhinestones fall somewhere in between acrylic and glass. The quality of glass rhinestones varies depending upon the manufacturer.
Various Rhinestone Types Are Available in Many Colors and Shapes
Whichever rhinestone you decide to buy, you’ll find a large selection of rhinestone colors to choose from. Both Swarovski and Preciosa produce a considerable selection of choices and routinely add new hues to their collections. Moreover, some rhinestone manufacturers make animal print, ceramic, or marble rhinestones.
Additionally, rhinestone shapes are almost as varied as the color selection. While round is the most popular shape, you’ll also find square, rectangle, triangle, heart, pear, as well as many others. Moreover, all these shapes are available in different rhinestone sizes. Ranging from tiny .9mm to large 18.22 mm, rhinestone sizes depend on the manufacturer.
Rhinestones Are Extremely Versatile
All rhinestones come in a variety of colors, shapes, and sizes making them extremely versatile. Throwing a girl’s princess party? Some colorful acrylic rhinestones can will some inexpensive bling. Prom time and your budget is slim? Browse the racks at the thrift store and give your fashion discovery a boost of sparkle with rhinestones. Not sure where to begin with rhinestones? Here at Rhinestones Etc. we’ll help you find the right rhinestone, in the right size and color.
And now get free shipping with your first purchase! Simply click on the button to get your coupon code.
If you have any questions, please contact us here.
Guest blog by Sarah Kepins
Rhinestones are manufactured gemstones knew for their brilliant sparkle. Perfect for adding sparkle to clothes, accessories, and even nails, Swarovski rhinestone crystals are the highest quality when it comes to manufactured crystals. While you’ve heard of them and may even own several items with rhinestone crystals on, you probably aren’t familiar with the origins of them.
Rhinestone crystals date back to the late 1800’s and the Rhine River. The Rhine River is one of Europe’s greatest rivers as it runs through six countries: Switzerland, Principality of Liechtenstein, Austria, Germany, France and the Netherlands. During the late 1800’s, small dazzling quartz pebbles were discovered along the Rhine River’s bank.
It was these pebbles that inspired Daniel Swarovski to intimate them to create Swarovski Rhinestones. In 1882, he developed the first glass cutter and 3 years later, he opened a factory. His business expanded and his 3 sons, Wilhelm, Friedrich and Alfred, eventually joined the family business.
Over 100 years later, Swarovski rhinestones are still popular. They are unique in color and sparkle and became famous for their resemblance to diamonds. The company is always innovating and as of September 2012, 100% of Swarovski’s line is being manufactured completely lead-free. New colors and shapes are always being added to their line offering many choices. While today’s rhinestones are not created the same as they were in the 1880’s, their brilliance lives on.
If you would like to browse our collection of rhinestones click here.
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On your first purchase of quality embellishments from Rhinestones Etc.