If Swarovski beads are essentially a form of crystal, what makes them so different from glass beads? These two styles of beads are quite different, imparting unique characteristics to their respective beading projects.
Glass vs. Crystal Bead Compositions
Both Swarovski crystal and glass beads contain glass, which is made of about 70-72% silicon dioxide with added sodium carbonate, calcium oxide, aluminum oxide, and magnesium oxide. Premium Swarovski crystal beads, on the other hand, incorporate a proprietary combination of lead oxide and other ingredients for improved clarity, higher refraction, and added sparkle. It is this lead content that lends crystal its quality. While a 1% lead content will earn the “crystal” designation, at 30% and higher, Swarovski offers the best crystal in the world. Standard glass beads, such as cat’s eye beads, contain fewer additives and no lead. Though less expensive than crystal beads, their composition doesn’t offer the same level of sparkle.
The production of standard glass beads is less precise than that of Swarovski crystals. You will note some variations in sizing and shape when using glass beads. Glass beads are firmer than crystal, with a lighter feel. Lead-imbued crystal, which is heavier but softer and easier to cut, offers a more precise design. Swarovski crystals, in particular, utilize sophisticated cutting machinery to cut crystals, similar to diamond cutting. This process, alongside the unique composition of the crystals, ensures a uniform, precision cut every time. Angles are carefully positioned to maximize light refraction and reflection, for enhanced brilliance. There are no visible differences from crystal to crystal and no bubbles in certified Swarovski stones.
Choosing the Right Bead Style for Your Design
When choosing between glass and crystal beads, there are a few things to keep in mind:
If you are looking for design uniformity from piece to piece, or within your design, the precise cut of Swarovski crystals is unquestionably your best option. If your designs are more casual, budget-friendly glass beads options, such as lamp beads, are also beautiful, but with subtle variations of color, size, and shape.
As Swarovski crystal beads cost more than glass beads, your design budget will likely play a role in your selection.
If you plan on selling your designs, or looking to create something with a high-end feel, splurging on Swarovski crystal pendants and beads will generate products with a higher value and striking visual appeal.
Ensure stunning jewelry results, in-budget with the help of Crystal Findings. We offer a wide variety of affordably priced designs and styles, including quantity discounts for additional savings, such as our popular Swarovski factory packs. Shop our wide selection of glass and Swarovski beads today.
Swarovski crystals beads and pendants have a well-earned reputation for their luxurious good looks, making them a popular choice in jewelry making. Unfortunately, this popularity comes at a cost in the form of subpar, unlicensed, imitation products. To protect your business’ reputation with beautiful, premium, lasting jewelry, we’ve put together these tips to ensure you get the Swarovski crystal beads and pendants you’re paying for.
How to Make Sure You’re Purchasing True Swarovski Crystal
Real Swarovski crystal beads are crystal clear, machine-cut, absolutely identical, and produced to the highest quality standards. To avoid disappointment, look for these features of a true Swarovski crystal:
Look for clarity.
Like a diamond, Swarovski crystals should be brilliantly clear and bubble and blemish-free. The special proprietary formulation and manufacturing process the company uses are a secret, and cannot be duplicated by imitators. Bubbles immediately indicate a fake, as these stones would never pass Swarovski’s rigorous production demands and quality control procedures.
Inspect surface luster.
The surface of Swarovski crystals should be crystal clear, with no swirl marks, oily sheen, or blemishes. Imitators often have scratches, swirl marks, a cloudy or oily sheen, and other imperfections.
Confirm a uniform cut. Swarovski crystal pendants and beads are machine cut. Each crystal should be identical and each crystal should share the same precise height, width, slope dimensions and color(s). The complicated and precise cuts of Swarovski crystals are a technological feat, with light refraction first calculated by computer, then simulated in 3-D, and later optimized and converted for precise cutting on complex and technologically advanced Swarovski machinery.
Check the direction of facets.
All facets and junctures on Swarovski crystals will point up, meeting at a single, precise point, similar to the facets on a diamond. The facets of imitators will not meet in a perfect point.
Expect superior sparkle.
The special glass formulation used in Swarovski crystals will outshine all beads of lesser quality. This can be easily confirmed with a side-by-side comparison to known Swaroski crystals.
On arrival, inspect your crystals.
Look for signature Swarovski packaging. Bulk purchases from a jewelry making supplies wholesaler should arrive in clearly branded, sealed envelopes. The latest packaging includes a sparkling silver Swarovski hologram. When you open the envelope, make sure your crystals are not strung. Only Swarovski pearls are delivered this way.
Buy from an authorized reseller.
Crystal Findings is one of America’s very few authorized Swarovski resellers, supplying you with sparkling beads, pendants, rondelles, and flat back stones in a wide variety of crystal sizes, shapes, and colors.
Don’t fall for imitators. Safeguard the future of your jewelry and your brand reputation. Shop the wide variety of certified Swarovski crystals and beading supplies at Crystal Findings today.
Making your own jewelry isn’t difficult once you take a class or two and depend on certain manuals to teach you the basics. A good bead supply store like Crystal Findings is a great source, because they have experts who know the ins and outs of all types of Beaded Jewelry. So, whether you’re a beginner or an expert, you can easily get the assistance you need to make beautiful pieces of jewelry for yourself or to sell to others. Whether you’re looking for colorful stone beads or sterling silver beads for jewelry making, you can find them easily in the right store, because their selection is always second to none. You can find all types of supplies for making all types of jewelry, including rings, necklaces, and earrings, bringing you one step closer to creating your next masterpiece.
Get as Creative as You Like
When you’re making your own jewelry, you don’t have to follow a specific set of directions, because once you learn the basics of jewelry making, you can spread out on your own and create items that are truly unique. Once you find the right custom jewelry making supplies, you can do it all – bright-colored earrings or silver necklaces, or even bracelets made with gems or stones. In one short shopping session, you can find everything you need to make these and many other items, including beads, chains of all types, pearls, findings, ring sizers, bead counters, glue and other adhesives, and even cords and stretch wire. In other words, if you can think up a design for a piece of jewelry in your head, it is easy to create i, because it is easy to find the supplies you need to make it.
Something for Everyone
Jewelry-making supplies include something for everyone, so whether your jewelry is flashy and bold or more subtle and toned down, finding the right supplies is easier than you think. You can choose sterling silver alphabet letter beads to make that special piece of personalized jewelry for someone’s birthday, or basic pearls of all colors to create something more subdued. Best of all, making extraordinary jewelry doesn’t have to cost a fortune, because you can create something special without spending a lot of money. However, if you do want something more elegant and formal, you can try using Swarovski beads and crystals, which are high-quality gems that sparkle and shine, regardless of what you’re making with them.
Making jewelry is a lot of fun, and the basics are simple enough for anyone to learn. Finding the right supplies is easy and allows you to get exactly what you’re looking for every time. This is one hobby that offers something for everyone, and it is not likely one you’ll regret trying.