There’s no denying that the diamond is the most expensive, but also the most popular stone for jewelry and accessories. Its sheen and beauty are such that people want to capture them in almost anything, from clothing to furnishings. However, the cost of diamonds make them impractical for use in many of these applications.
To get the luxurious look of diamonds without the cost, people turn to the next best thing: rhinestones. These are crystals made from rock, glass, or acrylic, and the most popular variants are made in Switzerland, Austria, and the Czech Republic. Rhinestones are named as such because the very first ones were gathered from the Rhine River. Thanks to a jeweler named George Frederic Strass, rhinestones have evolved into the widely used and affordable products that they now are. Currently, the Swarovski Company in Zurich offers the finest rhinestones.
Rhinestones are a popular material for appliques because they come in a variety of colors and grades, giving fashion designers a wealth of design options to choose from. Cut lead rhinestones are especially popular because they exhibit excellent light refraction, which distinguishes themselves from the lower-priced molded glass rhinestones. While the Swarovski company still manufactures its own rhinestones, those produced by other companies that make use of the same technology are also referred to as Swarovski rhinestones.