We are asked this question so many times, ‘what is the difference between the Viva12 cut and Maxima cut in Preciosa rhinestones?’ Well first, let’s talk about Preciosa. Preciosa crystals, also known as Preciosa rhinestones or gems, 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. They have two main styles of flatback rhinestones – Viva12 and Maxima.

Introduction to Viva12 rhinestones

Preciosa Viva 12 is the name given to their original range of flatback crystals, which have 12 facets to the stone. 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. So 12 facets means 12 surfaces at slightly different angles to reflect 12 rays of light.

Introduction to Maxima rhinestones

A few years ago, Preciosa introduced the Maxima cut to their flatback range, which includes the same crystal colours and sizes, but each stone has 15 facets, or 18 facets for the larger sizes. SS5 up to SS20 have 15 facets, and SS30 up to SS48 have 18 facets. These additional facets, or flat surfaces, allow more light to be reflected and therefore creates a more sparkly effect.

Side by side – what are the physical differences?

People often question ‘Are Maxima cut rhinestones better than Viva12?’, well the simple answer is yes. In terms of the sparkle offered, Maxima are superior, but if we’re taking about the quality and durability of the stone itself, the Viva12 crystals are just as good as Maxima. Viva12 rhinestones are still extremely popular among artists, jewellery makers, designers and crafters so Preciosa ensure the same care and attention is put into the making of Viva12. Preciosa launched their new Maxima style to replicate the same brilliant shine produced by Swarovski’s latest Xirius cut crystal, and they have definitely achieved this. With Swarovski’s higher price point, Preciosa’s Maxima launch certainly gained the advantage and converted many customers.

So, how do Viva12 and Maxima compare side by side, what are the physical differences?

  • Maxima crystals have more facets, so offer more sparkle
  • Close up, the facets are cut at different angles, so the two styles look physically different, although you would need to look very closely to see the difference.
  • The foil backing on the underside of the stone is a slightly different colour, although this makes no difference from the front. Viva12 is a silver/grey colour, whereas Maxima is a light silver colour.
  • There is no difference to the colour of Maxima and Viva12 crystals, so it is possible to use both styles in the same colour and they would match perfectly.
  • There is no difference to the colour of Maxima and Viva12 crystals, so it is possible to use both styles in the same colour and they would match perfectly.
  • Both styles are available in Hotfix and Non Hotfix.

The other notable difference between Preciosa Viva12 and Maxima rhinestones is the cost, Maxima are more expensive due to the extra work that goes into the manufacturing process.

The benefits and when to use Viva12

One of the main benefits of working with Viva12 crystals is the lower cost. If you have a business that uses Preciosa crystals, there will be a bigger profit margin in Viva12 than in Maxima. Another thing to think about, is what you are actually embellishing, and how many stones you require. If you’re using many rhinestones to embellish an item, such as a dance dress, theatre costume, stage prop or set, clothing or any large object, Viva12 crystals will bring the sparkle to the party, as they will reflect the light off each other too, so it gives the illusion of extra bling. There is no need to spend extra money on Maxima for this reason.

The benefits and when to use Maxima

One of the main reasons why creators prefer Maxima to Viva12 is the likeness to Swarovski. The extra facets that come with Maxima crystals make them so much closer the Swarovski Xirius cut, offering an almost identical sparkle for less money than Swarovski. If you have a big budget for your project, it is worth spending the extra to have Maxima so you can be more in line with a Swarovski finish. Another example of when people work with Maxima over Viva12, is for when they only require a small number of crystals, and need them to make a big impact, such as in cardmaking, nail art, jewellery making, artwork and tooth jewellery. Imagine having one single crystal on your tooth – you want it to have maximum sparkle!


So to sum up, the two main differences between Preciosa Viva12 crystals and Maxima crystals are:

  1. The facets – Maxima rhinestones have more facets and therefore offer more sparkle.
  2. The cost – Maxima rhinestones are more expensive than Viva12 to buy.

These are the two things to think about when choosing between Viva12 and Maxima, if you need any help or advice on your crystal project we’re here to help, just contact us.

Swarovski preciosa & zodiac

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