We’ve all heard of Swarovski Crystals, and can picture the glorious glittering swan logo they were once famous for. But there a lot of questions around Swarovski that we get asked on a daily basis, particularly when it comes to Swarovski crystals for DIY and craft. Well look no further, we’re here to answer all your questions about the iconic crystal manufacturer.

In this article we will be discussing our most frequently asked questions including how and where to purchase Swarovski crystals, how to apply crystals to different surfaces, and what are the different types of Swarovski crystals, plus many more topics too.

What are Swarovski Crystals?

Swarovski crystals, also known as Swarovski Rhinestones and crystal elements, are highly polished, machine cut glass stones used in the DIY sector for embellishment, jewellery making, fashion, costume design, nail art, beauty and are prevalent in the creative and performing arts industries.

What are the different types of crystal for DIY and craft?

Swarovski produce a huge array of crystal products, such as jewellery and watches, figurines, decorative ornaments, accessories and fashion wear. But they also cater for the DIY sector, which includes the creative industries: crafters, blingers, jewellery makers, costumiers, dressmakers, milliners and many more. In this area, Swarovski produce a number of individual components for DIY use, including flatback rhinestones, (also known as diamantes or gems), beads, pearls, chatons, pendants, sew on crystals, buttons, chatons and fancy stone.

Is Swarovski made from real crystal?

Although the exact manufacturing process is not known, Swarovski crystals are made from a type of glass called quartz sand, and other natural minerals. The quartz sand, which is mined, is heated to an extremely high temperature then melted down. The melted sand is then placed in a mold before being cooled down and cut into smaller pieces. These pieces are then machine cut to a specific shape, ready for the next stage of the process.

Where can I order Swarovski crystals from?

Back in October 2021, Swarovski made the decision to limit who would be allowed to purchase, sell and use their crystal components. Since then, suppliers of Swarovski components, which include flatback crystals, pearls, beads, fancy stones etc, have been selling what they had left, unable to re-stock. Only businesses who comply with the strict requirements set out by Swarovski were able to purchase and sell their product. However, this has now been reverted and it is now possible for individuals to purchase from Swarovski by applying for an account with them, and being able to meet their purchasing requirements. There are a few online retailers that sell Swarovski crystals, we at Crystal Parade specialise in smaller crystals for nail art and vintage Swarovski crystals.

Can I buy Swarovski crystals in wholesale packs?

You are now able to apply for a trade account with Swarovski where you can purchase wholesale packs in bulk. However, you are not permitted to use the Swarovski name or logo when re-selling or advertising your work. If you’re a business or creator who relies on consistently using large amounts of Swarovski crystals, then requesting a wholesale account would be valuable to your business. Smaller retail quantities, which are still available from a number of suppliers including Crystal Parade, are useful for one off projects or if you like to experiment with lots of different products, such as in nail art.

How can I tell the difference between a genuine Swarovski crystal and another brand?

Genuine Swarovski crystals will always have their logo on the wholesale packaging, however, to recognize them when they have been removed from their original packaging there are some tips and tricks the expert eye can see:

  • Check the foil backing - Swarovski’s non hotfix backing is completely smooth and has a slight gold tinge to it, whereas Preciosa and other rhinestone brands are more grey/silver in colour.
  • Swarovski have a recognizable star shape cut into the facets of the stone. When you compare a 2088 Xirius stone to a Preciosa Maxima for example, you can clearly see the star pattern.
  • Another good tip for spotting Swarovski among the crowd is to check for scratches, chips or any irregularity. Swarovski crystals will not have any – unless they have been dropped or extremely roughly handled.
  • Have a good look at the holes cut into the sew on stones, Swarovski’s have a really neat, smooth finish with no chipping to the crystal itself.
  • When it comes to pearls, the Swarovski pearlescent coating is very durable, smooth and scratch resistant.
  • Swarovski crystals tend to have a good weight to them, it’s estimated they have approximately 32% lead oxide, compared to just 12% to 28% lead oxide in other glass crystals which makes them heavier by comparison. So if you feel your crystals are lighter than expected, they are probably not Swarovski.

Are Swarovski the best crystals for nail art?

If you’re a nail artist who relies on using the Swarovski name to promote your business, then using genuine Swarovski nail art crystals is best for you, however if you want to offer an affordable manicure then using Preciosa or Zodiac crystals are just as good. When you’re working with crystals that are smaller in size, as you usually would for nail art, the differences in quality between brands is very difficult to spot, so if your client isn’t fussy about brand names, go for a cheaper option.

How do I know I’m using the correct Swarovski crystal?

If you’re not sure you are ordering the correct colour, size or brand of crystal, we are happy to help. You can send us a photo of a crystal you already and we can identify it for you. Or, if you have a piece of clothing or other item you would like to add crystals to, we can advise the best products to use and suggest colours to compliment. Alternatively, you could purchase a crystal colour chart which contains a sample of every colour, shape and size. For more help on choosing the right crystal for your project, check out our Ultimate Guides.

What is the difference between Xilion and Xirius?

Xirius refers to the star shape cut into the facets of the stone which offers a bigger sparkle and shine. It is the most recent cut designed by Swarovski and the name was inspired by the star Xirius. Xilion is the previous cut, which is now being phased out to make way for Xirius, the facets appear as triangle shapes, alternating between large and small.

What does SS mean?

SS refers to 'Stone Size' and is followed by a number, as well as the size in millimeters. In general, SS2 - SS10 are the small sizes used for nail art, beauty, fine jewellery and tooth gems. SS12 - SS20 are often used in dance, costume, craft, cardmaking and textiles. SS30 - SS48 are more commonly used for Irish dance, theatrical costumes and costume jewellery. For more information on rhinestone sizes, see our Ultimate Guide here.

How do I apply Swarovski crystals to fabric?

There are a number of ways to attach Swarovski crystals to fabric: Heat fixing, glue on method, sew on or riveting. Heat fixing is ideal for applying a large number of stones in a quick and mess-free way, it requires a hotfix applicator tool or household iron. The glue on, also known as non-hotfix method, is a simpler and cheaper way to apply crystals, although you will need to purchase glue as well. For larger crystals including sew on stones, buttons, beads and pearls, the sew on method is a long lasting and neat application method. For detailed information on the different application methods, read our Ultimate Guide to attaching rhinestones to fabric.

What is a Swarovski Chaton?

A Swarovski chaton is a pointed back crystal used to set into a metal casings or settings for jewellery making. The top part of the chaton is the sparkly, faceted stone, and the bottom part is foiled (or it can be unfoiled for a completely transparent effect). The foiled part is glued into the setting or casing to form a jewellery component. Chatons can also be referred to as pointy back crystals or 3D crystals and are sometimes used to push into clay for crafting or glued onto fingernails as part of a nail art design.

What does ‘facets’ mean?

The term ‘facets’ refers to the name of the cut given to a rhinestone. A facet is the flat surface area cut into the glass which refracts light inwards and reflects light outwards to create a sparkle. The more facets to a stone, the more light reflected, therefore the more sparkle. Swarovski Xirius flatback crystals have 16 facets, which means there are 16 surfaces all at a slightly different angle reflecting the light.

What is the difference between Swarovski pearls and natural pearls?

Swarovski pearls are imitation pearls, so essentially they are made from a glass stone which is then covered in a smooth pearlescent coating to replicate the shine of a natural pearl. The coating of a Swarovski pearl is smooth, durable and scratch proof.

What is a Swarovski transfer?

A Swarovski transfer is a crystal design that is applied to fabric, in one go, using heat. Transfers can be either pre-made by Swarovski or you can create your own using hotfix transfer film. Swarovski transfers can include any design from animals, popular shapes, logos, letters, numbers and slogans.

How do I safely store Swarovski crystals?

It’s important to take good care of your Swarovski crystals, even if you’re not using them. If you have crystals in your craft kit that you’ve not yet used, keep them tightly wrapped in their packaging or in storage pots. This will stop any scratches or chips. Storage pots are also a great way of separating colours, sizes and shapes etc, especially if you work with lots of different crystals like nail artists or crafters. For larger crystals such as fancy stones, buttons or sew on shapes, it is a good idea to keep these separated by keeping them in their original packaging, or wrapping them tightly in tissue paper.

What is a good alternative to Swarovski crystals?

Preciosa and Zodiac are both fantastic alternatives to Swarovski, Preciosa is a high quality brand and Swarovski’s closest competitor. Zodiac crystals are a great quality Swarovski similar brand at a fraction of the cost. Find out more about how Zodiac compares to Swarovski in our Ultimate Guide: Are Zodiac as good as Swarovski?

Swarovski preciosa & zodiac

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