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What is a rhinestone?

What is a rhinestone?

A rhinestone can be called paste, diamanté or crystal.

They all mean the same thing – a diamond replica. They can be colourless or coloured, have coatings or foil to enhance the shine and sparkle as well as cut into many different faceted or cabochon shapes.

Originally rock crystals, rhinestones were literally gathered from the shores of the Rhine River in Germany. Eventually, the supply could not meet the demand for sparkly gorgeousness and artificial or faux diamonds were created using a variety of materials.

The two biggest manufacturers of rhinestones are Precosia in the Czech Republic and Swarovski in Austria. Their stones are made from lead glass and can be called “crystal”. In the USA rhinestones are often called Austrian crystal.

There stones are of the highest quality with clear and unique colourings as well as special patented coatings to create iridescent and decorative crystals.

All of my 1980s vintage brooches designed and manufactured in London use Precosia and Swarovski stones. Because these are trademarked brands, the items must be described on my website as follows: “Made with Swarovski crystals”. Any other description does not allow the listing to be shown on Google, Instagram or Facebook.

Rhinestones especially vintage ones are highly valued and still used today by jewellers, designers and costumers to create brilliant and unique items.

All errors and omissions are author’s own.

Copyright Audra Daws-Knowles 2022








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