Rhinestones make an ordinary item into something spectacular. Dresses, shoes, handbags, or sunglasses are just a few examples. Yet, when you’re looking to buy rhinestones, you’ll find different brands, colors, and sizes at different costs. It can be very confusing when comparing rhinestone prices.
Some manufacturers produce quality rhinestones at a lower price than name brands. Knowing a bit about rhinestones can help you find a good rhinestone at a competitive price. Generally, retailers base pricing on the following factors:
Let’s Look At Rhinestone Types
Rhinestones are available in crystal, glass, and acrylic. Crystal rhinestones are the most expensive, followed by glass, and then acrylic. Generally, this is due to the cost of the manufacturing process.
The name-brand rhinestones, Swarovski and Preciosa, are crystal rhinestones. Years ago, these crystal components contained lead. However, both companies have developed a lead-free rhinestone without losing any of the beauty of leaded crystal.
Moreover, for bedazzling higher-end clothing, nothing beats a crystal rhinestone. Crystal has the characteristic or the ability to break up light much like a prism. As light enters the crystal, it can create a rainbow of hues as it refracts and disperses.
Glass rhinestones can bend and reflect light, but it lacks the prismatic quality of crystal. In addition, not all manufacturers machine-cut glass rhinestones. Some companies use molds.
Acrylic rhinestones are plastic molded embellishments. In a one-step process, manufacturers insert the material into the mold. Once the acrylic hardens, the manufacturer removes the rhinestone from the mold.
Hot Fix, Flatback, Sew-on, or Pointed Back?
When you’re looking to buy rhinestones, you’ll see them grouped by hot fix, flatback, sew-on, or pointed back. What can be confusing is that flatbacks, hot fix, and sew-on, all have a flat side. Only pointed backs have depth on both sides.
Hot fix rhinestones have an adhesive attached to the flat side of the embellishment. To attach the rhinestone, you need a hot fix wand. This tool will heat the rhinestones to activate the glue to a temperature range of 250° F - 340° F. Typically, hot fix rhinestones are slightly more expensive than flatbacks.
Sew-on rhinestones are exactly as their name implies. Some rhinestones have holes drilled into the sides of the embellishment while others have a hole in the middle. Another type of sew-on rhinestone is the montee. These are rhinestones in settings with channels on the back for sewing. Generally, sew-on rhinestones cost more than flatbacks too.
Normally, you use pointed back rhinestones in jewelry making. Sometimes, manicurists will use smaller pointed back rhinestones in nail design. Although comparable in price to flatbacks, you’ll have less selection with colors.
The most popular type of rhinestone is the flatback. Suitable for many projects, this type of rhinestone requires glue to attach it. Your choice of glue depends upon the object to which you’re attaching the rhinestone.
Crystal Standard Color Crystal AB AB Color
Fascinating Facts About Facets
Facets are plane surfaces on the rhinestone that reflect light. A rhinestone with more facets will reflect more light. Swarovski is the most expensive rhinestone with the most facets, 16. However, at the beginning of 2021, Swarovski announced a restructuring plan that eliminated rhinestones from the retail market. Preciosa, the oldest manufacturer of rhinestones is next with 15 facets. Other less expensive rhinestones have 12, 10, or fewer facets.
Another important component in producing sparkle is the arrangement of facets. Facets should be symmetrical and properly spaced. Advanced manufacturing processes can design rhinestone facets for the maximum dispersion of light.
Finally, flatback rhinestones have a foil backing to reflect light out. The quality of this foil backing is also important when gluing rhinestones. Some cheaper stones will peel off after gluing due to their poor-quality backing.
Rhinestone Colors Will Brighten Your Project
Manufacturers produce rhinestones in a rainbow of colors. The variety of colors depends, of course, on the manufacturer.
Crystal, or clear, is the least expensive. Standard colors are a bit more expensive followed by Aurore Boreale (AB) colors. AB colors are standard colors covered in a rainbow color giving the crystal an iridescent look. Finally, Aurum is the most expensive color available. Manufacturers apply a thin layer of 24 karat gold on the surface.
An important characteristic is the consistency of color. Higher-end manufacturers produce rhinestones with a hue that is consistent throughout the rhinestone. Furthermore, good quality rhinestones have color that is true between different batches.
Rhinestone Sizes and Shapes
The round rhinestone shape is the most common and least expensive. However, even round rhinestones have some variations. There are Rivoli and chessboard cuts with facets arranges differently than the standard round rhinestone.
Other shapes include:
Of course, pricing depends on the shape of the rhinestone along with the color and sizing. Typically, the smaller the rhinestone the lower the price. Likewise, the larger the rhinestone, the higher the cost. Determining which rhinestone is bigger can be confusing as rhinestones manufacturers use a unique way of measuring them.
Rhinestone manufacturers use the term stone size or “ss” to determine rhinestones sizing. This method of sizing continues from the days when there were naturally occurring rhinestones. Prospectors would gather this natural resource, dropping them through preset holes to determine the stone size.
Often, retailers will give the millimeter size alongside the ss size for clarification. Generally, the smaller the number next to the ss, the smaller the rhinestone.
We Offer Competitive Rhinestone Prices
When you’re looking to buy embellishments, you want competitive rhinestone prices, quality products, and great customer service. Selling embellishments since 2011, Rhinestones Etc. wants to be your source for embellishments.
We will continue to sell Swarovski products for as long as the supply lasts. In the meantime, we’re transitioning over to Preciosa Maxima. In addition, we proudly offer a less expensive AAA grade genuine crystal rhinestone, PriceLess.
I have been adding bling for over 20 years. Through my projects, I hope you find inspiration.