Welcome to Crystal Parade, your premier destination for sparking creativity in the world of dance, theatre, and fashion! As a leading rhinestone supplier in the creative industry, Crystal Parade takes pride in offering an exquisite array of Hotfix and Non-Hotfix rhinestones, as well as sew on crystals and pearls, that transcend traditional embellishments.

At Crystal Parade, we understand that every shimmer tells a story. Our extensive collection of rhinestones serves as the perfect palette for dancers, theatre performers, and fashion enthusiasts, elevating their creations to dazzling heights. Whether you're attaching rhinestones to clothes, choreographing a captivating dance routine, crafting theatrical costumes that command attention, or shaping the next trend in fashion, our rhinestones are here to ignite your imagination.

We’re going to be discussing the history of rhinestones, the art of applying rhinestones and their importance in the performance industry.

Section 1: The History of Rhinestones

Rhinestones, those dazzling gems that add sparkle to fashion and performance costumes, have a fascinating origin and evolution. The term "rhinestone" can be traced back to the 18th century when rock crystals were found along the Rhine River in Europe. Initially, these crystals were gathered and cut to resemble diamonds, hence the name. However, it was in the early 20th century that the concept of affordable, machine-cut imitation gems gained prominence. The history of Swarovski crystals shows us how advancements in technology allowed rhinestones to become more accessible, evolving from natural crystals to glass and, eventually, to acrylic and other materials. In the mid-20th century, rhinestones found their spotlight in the world of fashion and performance costumes, adorning iconic outfits worn by musicians, dancers, and actors. Today, rhinestones continue to be an integral part of creative expression, adding a touch of glamour and brilliance to costumes that captivate audiences worldwide.

The transition from natural crystals to manufactured rhinestones marked a pivotal shift in the jewellery and fashion industry, replacing the reliance on scarce natural crystals with more readily available and cost-effective materials. The evolution from natural to manufactured rhinestones not only revolutionized the market but also played a crucial role in making gemstone accessories accessible to a broader audience.

Rhinestones hold historical significance across certain cultures and time periods, for example in some cultures, rhinestones have symbolized status, glamour, and celebration. Whether embellishing royal regalia, theatrical costumes, or everyday fashion, their sparkle has transcended eras, leaving a glittering trail in the tapestry of global traditions.

Section 2: Rhinestones in Performance Costumes

Rhinestones play a pivotal role in elevating the visual appeal of performance costumes. Their dazzling brilliance under stage lights captivates audiences, adding a touch of glamour and enchantment to dance outfits, theatrical ensembles, and musical performance costumes. The reflective quality of rhinestones enhances the overall aesthetic, creating a mesmerizing spectacle that not only complements the performer's movements but also ensures a memorable and visually stunning experience for the audience.

Many theatre shows have used rhinestones to great effect, whether that’s through the costume design or props and set design. For example, the West End production of Cinderella used over 60,000 Preciosa crystals to embellish their pink velvet stage curtains, causing the whole theatre to dazzle and shimmer before the show had even started.

Section 3: The Art of Applying Rhinestones

We’re often asked how to apply rhinestones to a dance costume, both Hotfix and Non-Hotfix rhinestones can be used for embellishing performance costumes, but they differ in their application methods. Hotfix rhinestones have a heat-activated adhesive on the back, making them suitable for application with a hotfix applicator wand or iron. They are commonly used on fabrics, such as dancewear and costumes, providing a secure and durable embellishment. On the other hand, Non-Hotfix rhinestones require additional adhesive, like glue, for attachment, making them versatile for a range of surfaces beyond fabrics, including jewellery and accessories. Embellishing costumes with sew on stones are another way to add the sparkly touch, in an effective and durable manner.

Applying rhinestones to costumes requires precision and the right tools for the job, such as the Kandi Kane Hotfix Applicator Wand if using the heat fixing method. This tool utilizes heat to activate the adhesive on Hotfix rhinestones, ensuring a secure and seamless attachment to fabrics. The wand's ergonomic design and interchangeable tips make it user-friendly for intricate designs, while the precision nozzle allows for targeted placement, facilitating the creation of dazzling patterns on dancewear, theatrical costumes, and other performance attire. Additionally, specialized glues and applicator tools are employed for embellishing with Non-Hotfix rhinestones, offering a versatile range of options for different embellishment techniques.

To ensure durability and maximize visual impact when working with rhinestones, consider these key tips and tricks:

  • Firstly, clean and prepare the surface thoroughly before application to ensure a strong bond.
  • Read our guide to glue, and use a suitable adhesive, whether it's the heat-activated glue for Hotfix rhinestones or a quality adhesive for Non-Hotfix varieties.
  • Secure the rhinestones firmly in place during the drying or setting process.
  • When applying heat, follow recommended temperature and time guidelines to prevent damage.
  • For optimal visual impact, experiment with varying sizes and colors to create dynamic patterns and designs.
  • Regularly inspect and reinforce the stones, especially for items subjected to wear, to maintain both the longevity and sparkle of your rhinestone embellishments.
  • When it comes to choosing the best sew on stones, first consider your budget and the type of costume you want to embellish. Sew on rhinestones are particularly popular for Irish dance dresses.

Section 4: Crystal Parade’s Contribution to the Industry

We boast an impressive range of products tailored for performance costumes, catering to a diverse array of creative endeavours. As a Preciosa Authorised Silver Partner, the collection includes the full range of Preciosa crystals ideal for costume making, renowned for their quality and brilliance. Additionally, Swarovski crystals add a touch of luxury and sophistication to performance ensembles. Notably, we have introduced our own brand of Zodiac crystals, providing a more cost-effective alternative

Crystal Parade stands as a dedicated supporter of the creative industry by providing an extensive range of high-quality supplies and services. Not only do we offer a diverse range of embellishment products, we can also provide a bespoke embellishment service, costume repair service and transfers. With a commitment to accessibility, Crystal Parade serves both businesses and individual crafters, welcoming trade inquiries and offering a sample service.

Here are just a few examples of companies and productions that have utilised Crystal Parade’s products for theatre shows, musical performances, film and tv:

Section 5: The Significance of Rhinestones Today

Modern technology and design have significantly transformed the use of rhinestones, ushering in a new era of innovation and creativity. Advanced manufacturing techniques, such as precise laser cutting and intricate molding processes, allow for the production of rhinestones in a myriad of shapes, sizes, and colours. This technological evolution has expanded the possibilities for costume designers, enabling them to create intricate patterns, unique arrangements, and bespoke designs. Additionally, improved adhesion methods, like heat-activated backings, enhance the ease of application, ensuring durability in performance costumes and other creative projects. The fusion of technology and design has elevated rhinestones from mere embellishments to dynamic elements that contribute to the dazzling visual landscape of contemporary fashion and artistic expression.

The future of rhinestones in the performance and fashion industries holds exciting prospects driven by continued technological advancements and evolving design trends. Innovations in materials and manufacturing processes may lead to even more diverse shapes, sizes, and sustainable options. Integration of smart textiles and interactive elements could redefine the role of rhinestones, offering dynamic, customizable visual effects in performance costumes. Additionally, increased focus on eco-friendly practices may inspire the development of environmentally conscious rhinestone options. As the fashion and performance industries embrace new technologies and sustainability, rhinestones are likely to play a pivotal role in shaping the aesthetics and functionality of future creative expressions.

Section 6: Practical Considerations and Maintenance

Selecting the right type of rhinestones for different costumes involves considering several key factors:

  • First, identify the costume's fabric and its flexibility, as some rhinestones are better suited for stretchy materials.
  • Consider the colours that will work best with your costume, do you want to match and compliment, or go for something contrasting to create a bold look? There are a myriad of rhinestone colours and effects so spend some time researching what works for you.
  • Match the size of the rhinestones to the costume's overall design and colour scheme, ensuring a harmonious look. There are many sizes to choose from so do some research into rhinestones sizes and what they are used for.
  • Consider the performance environment; for stage lighting, opt for rhinestones that catch and reflect light effectively, such as Clear and AB crystals.
  • Additionally, assess the attachment method – hotfix rhinestones are ideal for multiple costumes, while non-hotfix options are great for one-off costumes.

Maintaining and caring for rhinestone embellished costumes is essential to preserve their sparkle and longevity. Always handle costumes delicately, avoiding rough handling or excessive stretching. Store costumes in breathable garment bags to prevent dust accumulation, and keep them away from direct sunlight to avoid colour fading. When cleaning is necessary, spot clean gently with a soft cloth or sponge, avoiding harsh chemicals that may damage the rhinestones or fabric. Regularly check for loose rhinestones and promptly reattach them using an appropriate adhesive, such as Gem Tac glue. For costumes with hotfix rhinestones, be cautious during laundering, opting for hand washing or gentle machine cycles and avoid fabric conditioner. Following these practices ensures that rhinestone-embellished costumes remain dazzling and show-ready for repeated performances.


The enduring appeal and significance of rhinestones in performance costumes lie in their ability to transform garments into dazzling works of art. From their historical roots along the Rhine River to the modern innovations shaping their use, rhinestones continue to captivate audiences with their brilliance. As versatile embellishments, they enhance the visual allure of costumes, contributing to the magic and allure of stage performances. Whether adorning dancewear, theatrical costumes, ice skating leotards, sportswear, or musical attire, rhinestones symbolise not just glamour, but also the creative spirit and commitment to excellence in the world of entertainment.

Embark on a journey of creativity with Crystal Parade, where we invite readers to explore our extensive range of embellishments tailored for all costume needs. As a Preciosa Authorised Silver Partner and stockist of Swarovski crystals, we provide a spectrum of high-quality options. Whether you're a costume designer, dancer, or creative enthusiast, our collection caters to diverse tastes and projects. Discover the brilliance of our Zodiac crystals, the precision of Swarovski, and the excellence of Preciosa. With a commitment to friendly, personal service and a vast array of products, Crystal Parade is your go-to destination for elevating your costume creations to a radiant and unforgettable level.

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