Have you ever wondered ‘what is the difference between Clear and AB crystals?’ Well, we are here to solve that mystery for you. Wherever you find crystals, rhinestones and gems you will come across the terms Crystal Clear and Crystal AB, essentially describing the colour of the rhinestone.

Crystal Clear: A sparkling simplicity

Clear crystal, sometimes referred to as diamante, crystal clear or just simply as clear, is a totally colourless, see-through crystal that sits on a mirror foil base. This mirror base is therefore reflected through the clear stone, giving the effect of a diamond. The facets (cuts) of the crystal are what helps to reflect the light, so the more facets a stone has, the more sparkle it gives out.

Crystal AB: The essence of a rainbow

AB crystal, whose real name is Aurora Borealis, named after the magical effect of the Northern Lights, is a multicoloured stone offering all the colours of the rainbow. Crystal AB, often known as simply AB, reflects the colours that surround it, so you would use against pale colours for pinks, purples and golds to shine through. Or use on a darker background to see greens, yellows and blues.

Why choose Crystal Clear for your project

Crystal Clear is one of the most popular colours when it comes to rhinestones as it adds a luxury feel to whatever you are crystallising. With its diamond effect nature, the brilliant sparkle and shine of a Clear rhinestone brings your design to life and makes it look expensive and elegant. Clear is also frequently used for its simplicity; unlike AB which is ‘in your face’ bling, Clear is more subtle and sophisticated. Clear crystals and rhinestones are often used for bridalwear and jewellery, cardmaking, nail art and ball gowns. A huge advantage of working with Clear crystals is the fact that is goes with everything – whatever colour theme you are using, Clear will compliment it and bring out the richness of the other colours.

Why choose Crystal AB for your project

In most areas of the creative industry, AB is the most popular choice, due to its multicoloured nature and extreme bling. Designers instantly fall in love with the mesmerizing colour changing effect and its all over their fashionwear, dance dresses, burlesque costumes and nail art. Performers in particular choose AB crystals for their outfits as they look absolutely stunning under stage light, with the different colours being reflected all around the room. Like Clear, AB crystals will work with any other colour, and reflect those colours that surround it.

Ways to use Crystal Clear

Image credit: Nicky Rox, Preciosa, The Vivienne

  • Jewellery – Many jewellery designers like to use Clear crystals because of the diamond effect it gives, for example Clear round rhinestones can be glued onto earring studs to make a diamond effect ear stud. Or Clear pointy back chatons can be set into metal casings to make necklaces and bracelets.
  • Nail Art & Beauty – Clear is the perfect choice for an expensive looking luxury manicure, and tooth gems are also making a comeback with Clear crystal being the number 1 choice for adding a glint of sparkle to your smile.
  • Cardmaking & Craft – The elegant touch of a clear crystal or two on your greetings card or craft projects turn them into something sentimental, a keepsake for a loved one.
  • Bridal Couture – The sophistication of Clear crystals on your wedding day is an essential for most brides, and bridalwear designers. Clear rhinestones are found on wedding gowns, shoes, tiaras and headpieces, wedding invitations and even scattered on wedding tables.
  • Performance Wear – From theatre costumes and dancewear, to ice skating leotards and drag costumes, you will find Clear crystals everywhere. They are often used to pick out a feature of the garment such as the neckline, collar, sleeves or hem.
  • Lighting & Decor – Imagine a stunning chandelier in a fancy manor house – all it is, is hundreds of clear crystal components, joined together with wire – simple. You can make one yourself with Preciosa Clear chandelier components. You will also find clear rhinestones within interior design, such as clear buttons on Chesterfield sofas, or embellished mirrors, frames or vases.
  • Clothing – In the fashion industry you will see clear crystals everywhere, whether it’s a pair of Nike trainers with a clear crystal tick, or slogans written on a t-shirt in rhinestones. You can easily embellish your own clothing with clear crystals, using Gem Tac glue and the know how!
  • Blinging Projects – Did you know you can bling anything and everything? Clear crystals are a popular choice for adding sparkle to all sorts of embellishment projects – we’ve seen cars encrusted with clear stones, champagne bottles, phone cases, converse trainers, sunglasses, homeware, and even animal skulls. It is the most popular choice for blingers as the clear ‘diamond’ effect adds an expensive and luxurious feel, meaning you can increase your price if you are selling the piece.

Where to use Crystal AB

  • Jewellery – In a similar way to crystal clear, AB is commonly used in jewellery design as their captivating colour reflections add a touch of magic to the design, ensuring that every angle catches the eye with a different hue. AB beads and pendants are particularly favoured by people making bracelets, necklaces, earrings and headwear.
  • Irish Dance - When it comes to Irish dance, AB crystals reign supreme as the ultimate embellishment choice. Their popularity stems from their ability to transform Irish dance dresses into shimmering works of art. The unique play of colours in AB crystals adds a captivating dimension to every step and twirl, catching the eye of both the audience and judges alike. AB sew on stones are an absolute must have for any Irish dancer and are usually found on the tiaras and shoe buckles as well as the dress itself.
  • Nail Art & Beauty – In the nail and beauty industry, along with Clear crystals, AB rhinestones for nail art are an essential in every nail tech’s kit. Whether you use round rhinestones, AB shapes, pointy back 3D AB crystals or even the AB crystal dust, you won’t get far without it.
  • Cardmaking & Craft – With upcycling, DIY and craft becoming ever more popular, people are always looking for new ways to inject some fun into their projects. Whether it’s non hotfix AB crystals on your greetings cards, hotfix AB rhinestones on you textiles project, or AB bicone beads for crochet, you can’t go wrong with adding this popular crystal to your design.
  • Bridal Couture – Some brides like to go subtle and elegant with Clear crystals, but others love to go all out with full AB bling on their wedding day. With AB rhinestones, beads and pendants you can create eye catching bridal jewellery, bling up your wedding shoes and make pretty invitations and table settings. People often like to scatter crystals on their wedding tables, using AB unfoiled chatons, to give an extra sparkle.
  • Performance Wear - When it comes to performance wear such as theatre costumes, burlesque and drag outfits, ball gowns, and sportswear, AB crystals are the secret ingredient for stealing the spotlight. Their captivating play of colours adds an extra dimension to your outfit under the stage lights. Strategically placing AB crystals on performance costumes creates a dynamic visual effect that catches the audience's attention with every movement.
  • Blinging Projects – In a similar way to using Clear crystals to bling, AB is another popular choice for adding sparkle to everyday objects. We’ve seen full sized mannequins, children’s cars, lamps, hair dryers, kitchen accessories, gin bottles, coffee mugs, shoes, champagne flutes all encrusted with AB rhinestones.

The difference between Clear & AB

Let’s break it down

Clear crystals and AB crystals may have distinct characteristics, but they share a common foundation of brilliance. When it comes down to choosing between Clear and AB for your project, you need to look at the similarities and differences:


  • Both types possess a captivating sparkle that can instantly elevate any project. While Clear crystals offer a timeless, elegant radiance, AB crystals and their iridescent coating offer a dynamic play of colours.
  • Both catch and reflect the light in mesmerizing ways, capturing the attention of everyone around.
  • Both work well as a standalone colour, or with any other colours.
  • Both are available in all types of crystal component including flatback rhinestones, hotfix and non hotfix, beads, chatons, sew on stones etc.


  • Clear has no colour to it and will reflect only clear light in the same way as that of a diamond.
  • AB twinkles with all colours of the rainbow, reflecting those colours too.
  • Clear is regarded as elegant, subtle and sophisticated, whereas AB is seen as more bold, bright and ‘in your face’ bling.
  • AB is more expensive to purchase, due to the extra iridescent coating applied during the manufacturing process.

Now you are ready to start your crystal embellishing project, jump into Crystal Parade's Aladdin's Cave of crystal embellishments. Place your order today, we have everything you need from rhinestones to pick up tools.... let the sparkling begin.

Rhinestone application