Rhinestones, also known as diamantes, date back to the thirteenth century where they were first made from Czechoslovakian or Bohemian hand-blown glass. After this, rock crystals were discovered around the shores of the Rhine River in Austria and this is how the term rhinestone came about.
These rock crystals could be cut and moulded to produce beautiful diamond-like gems. They are what the shape and look of rhinestone’s today are based on. The crystals have tiny imperfections within them which bounce around the light to create their dazzling effect. Because these natural crystals were so popular, resources became short so jewellers started to seek techniques to create artificial gemstones that duplicate the look of rhinestones.
In the late 18th century, French Jeweller Georg Friedrich Strass discovered that by coating the back of glass crystals with metal they would produce an effect much like rock crystals or diamonds. The first crystals had a metal foil glued to the backs of them, which was later substituted with a metal coating which gave a mirror like effect. The mirror backing forced a reflection back through the crystal and gave a dazzling sparkle like a diamond when seen in light. These became extremely popular which is why even today many people throughout Europe still refer to rhinestones as ‘Strass’.
The next step in the evolution of rhinestones came in the 19th century when Daniel Swarovski developed a technique for precision glass cutting and polishing. This led to mass production of very high-quality crystal glass rhinestones that have a much higher lead content. This addition of lead increases the crystals refraction index which in turn enhances the crystals sparkle much more than conventional glass rhinestones.
In the fashion industry, these crystal stones became extremely popular worldwide. Fashion designers like Chanel and Schaparelli made costume jewellery not just acceptable but a fashion must for every fashion-conscious woman of the time.
Rhinestones are still one of the top trends of 2020.
They have been spotted on the Vogue Fashion Week Fall/Winter 2019-2020 on both jewellery and clothing pieces, with Swarovski rhinestones regarded as the finest in the world used by many of the world’s top fashion designers for accessorising their clothing lines.
So, check out the latest rhinestone designs on our store, or request your custom-made design and add some glam to your wardrobe.