Everybody in the arts, craft and creative industry has heard of Swarovski Crystals, and we’re now becoming more familiar with rival crystal manufacturer, Preciosa. But did you know there’s a new kid on the block giving them both a run for their money? Zodiac Crystals was launched in 2019 and is taking the crystal world by storm. There a lot of questions around Zodiac Crystals that we’re often asked, so we’re here to answer them and give you an insight into the brand that everybody is talking about.

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

What are Zodiac crystals?

Zodiac crystals, also known as Zodiac rhinestones, 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. The brand was launched by Crystal Parade in 2019, and since then have increased in popularity among customers who are usually working with Swarovski or Preciosa crystals. With brilliant sparkle, a durable foil backing and scratch proof coating, Zodiac crystals are certain to impress. They have been applied to many different surfaces without failure to adhere and we can assure customers that they will stand the test of time.

The Zodiac brand is now recognized amongst costumiers, fashion designers, nail artists, crafters, blingers and dressmakers across the country as being a high quality and cost effective alternative to Swarovski.

What are the different types of Zodiac crystals?

Zodiac produce an array of crystal components for craft, nail art and costume making, including flatback rhinestones, (also known as diamantes or gems), beads, pearls, buttons, sew on crystals, crystal shapes, rhinestones sheets and crystal banding.

What are Zodiac crystals made from?

Like other top brands such as Preciosa and Swarovski, Zodiac crystals are formed using cut glass, which has been made from melting down sand. The glass is highly polished and shaped into the desired components such as beads or flatback rhinestones. They must not be confused with diamonds, which are a natural material that can be mined - Zodiac crystals are man-made.

Are Zodiac crystals as good as Swarovski?

Zodiac crystals are a fantastic alternative to Swarovski, their rhinestones that have the same number of facets and the same Xirius style, as the Swarovski 2088 crystal, giving Zodiac an almost identical sparkle. When compared side by side, it's almost impossible to see the difference between the two brands. We’ve had many customers comment on the likeness between Zodiac and Swarovski, and most of those have now switched to Zodiac. Our dress designers, costumiers and dancers are loving the AB sew on Rivoli, which has a stunning bright AB shine and is now preferred to the Swarovski brand.

In fact, Zodiac Crystals have to date received over 1500 5 star reviews and 97% of customers said they would recommend Zodiac to a friend.

Does Zodiac offer the same product range as Swarovski?

The Zodiac collection offers a wide range of colour, shape and size options. And with a larger selection of shapes, sizes and over 60 different colours & coatings than both Swarovski and Preciosa, Zodiac Crystals are the number one choice for sew on stones.

When it comes to flatback rhinestone colours, Zodiac offers a very similar portfolio to Swarovski, including metallic, neon and iridescent coatings as well as multi-tone finishes. They also produce an identical Clear and AB crystal which are the two most popular colours for embellishing.

Zodiac have recently expanded their range to include more Swarovski similar crystal products, such as hotfix transfer sheets which are great for embellishing on a large scale and self adhesive crystal sheets which are an amazingly quick and neat way of applying thousands of rhinestones in one go. Zodiac now also manufacture the crystal rivoli button in Clear, AB, gold and 8 other popular colours, as well as flatback hotfix pearls.

Where can I order Zodiac crystals from?

Zodiac crystals can be purchased in wholesale and retail quantities from Crystal Parade – the only supplier in the UK. Here at Crystal Parade, we supply the entire Zodiac range and don’t require a minimum order or spend, in fact, if you can’t see what you’re looking for, we can have an item produced in any shape, colour or size to suit your requirements.

Can I buy Zodiac crystals in wholesale packs?

Yes, most of the Zodiac range, including flatback hotfix and non hotfix rhinestones, beads, buttons, sew on stones and rhinestone sheets can be purchased in wholesale quantities. If you’re a business or creator who relies on using large amounts of crystals, then purchasing wholesale packs would be valuable to your business as they are more cost effective when bought in bulk. Smaller packs are also available and are useful for one off projects or if you like to experiment with lots of different products, such as in nail art or craft.

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

Genuine Zodiac crystals will always have their logo and the Crystal Parade name 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 – Zodiac has a smooth matte foil backing that has a gold tinge to it. Whereas Preciosa’s backing is matte silver in colour. Other cheaper rhinestone brands tend to have a shiny and thin looking backing.
  • Check the front of the stone – Both Zodiac and Swarovski have a recognizable star shape cut into the facets of the stone. Preciosa Maxima crystals have 15 facets, the pattern of the facets alternates between thin triangle and fat triangle. When you compare a Zodiac stone to a Preciosa for example, you can clearly see the star pattern. Cheaper brands that are made from acrylic, plastic or resin tend to be less sparkly.
  • Have a good look at the holes cut into the sew on stones, Zodiacs’s have a really neat, smooth finish with no chipping to the crystal itself, unlike some of the cheaper brands.

Can I use Zodiac crystals for nail art?

Yes, Zodiac crystals can be used for nail art, sizes start at ss6 (2mm) which is the ideal size for crystal manicures. Plus there are many crystal mixes available so you have the opportunity to work with lots of different colours and shapes in just one packet. Zodiac also have a fantastic range of caviar beads and crystals shapes, almost identical to Swarovski, that are becoming ever more popular among nail artists. With Swarovski constantly increasing their prices, working with Zodiac is a much more cost effective option – and the quality is just as good!

Can I use Zodiac crystals for craft?

Zodiac rhinestones are brilliant for different craft projects, they can be applied to almost any surface such as card, paper, plastic, glass, wood, metal, fabric, rubber, leather, suede etc. And with such an extensive range of colours available, Zodiac flatback crystals are a favourite among crafters and blingers who like to use a variety.

Can I use Zodiac crystals for embellishing costumes?

Yes, Zodiac crystals, in particular sew on stones, are the number 1 choice for costume making. Zodiac produce a huge range of sew on stones in many shapes and over 60 different colours and effects – a much larger range than either Swarovski or Preciosa. The sparkle and durability of Zodiac sew on crystals is so high that the majority of customers have now switched to the Zodiac brand, which is more cost effective, so they are getting much more sparkle for their money. Zodiac crystals are favoured by many fashion and costume designers, including Sam Ryder and his design team for his iconic sparkly boiler suits.

How do I know which colour to buy?

There are many colours to choose from in the Zodiac range, from the most popular Clear and AB, to rainbow colours, iridescent AB colours and effects such as metallic, multi-tone and neon. 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 does SS mean?

SS refers to 'Stone Size' and is followed by a number, as well as the size in millimetres, for example SS16 (4mm). In general, SS6 - SS10 are the small sizes used for nail art and beauty. SS16 - SS20 are often used in dance, costume, craft, cardmaking and textiles. SS30 - SS40 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 Zodiac crystals to fabric?

There are a number of ways to attach Zodiac crystals to fabric: Heat fixing, glue on method, sew on or self adhesive. 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. Embellishing with sew on stones is favoured among dancer and costume designers. If you’re looking to attach hundreds of crystals in one simple, mess-free and quick application, Zodiac have a great range of self-adhesive sheets available in different colours. For detailed information on the different application methods, read our Ultimate Guide to attaching rhinestones to fabric.

Are Zodiac crystal buttons as good as Swarovski?

Zodiac crystal buttons are a high quality alternative to the Swarovski 3015 rivoli button, and even better, the Zodiac brand has a fantastic range of colours and sizes to choose from. Crystal sew on buttons are an ideal replacement for boring plastic buttons on clothing and accessories, and are a must-have for any bridal designer looking to add sparkle to a wedding gown. When compared side by side, it’s extremely difficult to tell the difference between the two brands – until you see the price that is!

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. Zodiac flatback crystals have 16 facets, which means there are 16 surfaces all at a slightly different angle reflecting the light.

How do I safely store crystals?

It’s important to take good care of your 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.

Swarovski preciosa & zodiac