Speaking of Sparkles, No. 2: Glass & Crystal

A couple Bella customers have recently asked me questions about the stones and metals I use. When you’re not dealing with the vocabulary of jewelry supplies all the time, like I am, I guess it can get pretty confusing! Gold filled, vermeil, plate, dipped, briolette, druzy, quartz, crystal – what’s it all mean?

In this multi-part series on the vocabulary behind pieces I design, I’ll tell you just that, and what it means for the care and longevity of your Bella Sparkle pieces.

I take pride in using premium, heirloom-quality components in my jewelry….and today I’m going to talk about what puts the sparkle in my sparklies: crystal and glass beads.


I thought it would be helpful to address some commonly asked questions my customers ask about crystals. You can expand the color and shape charts below into full-sized PDFs if you’re interested in finding something you like for a commission piece. As always, please feel free to message me here, or on Facebook if you’d like to know more about commission pieces, or have any other questions about available Bella Sparkle pieces.

About Swarovski

Swarovski Crystal isn’t a gemstone, or even a crystal — it’s a form of glass that’s made at high temperatures by melting silicon oxide powders with lead to form what is known as lead crystal. The exact process is patented by Swarovski in Austria. We know the crystals contain approximately 32% lead, which dramatically increases their crystals’ refraction index to more closely resemble that of a diamond’s, which is what creates a sparkly appearance. To produce an even more diamond-like effect, the crystal glass is precision cut and polished again by a Swarovski patented process that gives each crystal a high quality finish. The crystals are often further enhanced by coating the glass with an Aurora Borealis (also known as AB) coating that gives the surface a rainbow-like surface appearance to simulate the light dispersion you see in diamonds. Mohs Hardness Scale is the system that determines how hard any substance is. Diamonds are at the top, with a score of 10, while glass is a 5 on the scale. Swarovski crystal has a Mohs hardness of 6-7, so while they are susceptible to wear and tear over time, they’re still much harder than standard glass.

How to care for Swarovski Crystal

Swarovski crystal jewelry should be treated the same as fine jewelry. Avoid exposing the crystals to water, chemicals, or harsh treatment from work or sports. Always remove Swarovski crystal jewelry prior to swimming and after applying makeup and lotions to skin. Mild soap, water, and a soft cloth should be used for cleaning and polishing Swarovski jewelry. When possible, store pieces in tissue paper or a soft cloth to guard against loosening the crystals or scratching any metal.

Swarovski Crystals Color Chart

It is important to note that not all colors are available in all sizes and shapes. But if you see something that you love, please ask and I will do my very best to accommodate your wishes.

Link will open a new page: Swarovski Crystal Color Chart PDF

Swarovski Crystal Shape Chart

It is important to note that not all Shapes and Sizes are available in all colors. But if you see something that you love, please ask and I will do my very best to accommodate your wishes.

Link will open a new page: Swarovski Crystal Shape Chart PDF

Swarovski Crystal Pearls

The pearls used in the Swarovski Fashion Jewelry collection are simulated. Crystal Pearls by Swarovski have a crystal core, and their lustrous shimmer is achieved using a unique coating technology developed by Swarovski. It is the first production method in the world to combine the quality of a perfect crystal core with the exquisite beauty of a pearl coating. The innovative technology by Swarovski gives the pearl a mysterious glow, which appears to be radiating from within the pearl itself. The strictest quality controls help ensure the absolute flawlessness of each Crystal Pearl. These Crystal Pearls actually warm to the skin. It’s really amazing how they feel and hang.

Swarovski Crystal Pearls Color Chart

It is important to note that not all colors are available in all sizes and shapes. But if you see something that you love, please ask and I will do my very best to accommodate your wishes.

Link will open a new page: Swarovski Crystal Pearl Color Chart PDF

Fire-polished Czech Glass Beads

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Glass making in the Czech Republic is an age-old cottage industry. Czech beads, sometimes referred to as “Bohemian Glass,” are still handmade in limited quantities.

Fire Polishing is a technique used in fabricating glass wares. Cutting a glass rod or tube results in a rough end. This end is heated until the glass softens, at which point it creates a sealed, polished-looking glassy finish.

Bella Sparkle uses Preciosa Czech Glass Beads. Preciosa specializes in the production of machine cut beads. Preciosa crystal glass is of the highest quality and is available in great variety of colors, coatings, cuts, shapes and sizes. Because they are machine cut for precision, using cutting edge technologies, their durability and optical perfection guarantees that the crystals will not wear down or lose their brilliance.

How to care for Czech Glass beads: Jewelry made with Czech Glass beads should be treated the same as fine jewelry. Avoid exposing the beads to water, chemicals, or harsh treatment from work or sports. Always remove jewelry prior to swimming and after applying makeup and lotions to skin. Mild soap, water, and a soft cloth should be used for cleaning and polishing jewelry made with Czech Glass. When possible store pieces in tissue paper or a soft cloth to guard against loosening the crystals or scratching any metal.

Czech Glass Color Chart:

It is important to note that not all colors are available in all sizes and shapes. But if you see something that you love, please ask and I will do my very best to accommodate your wishes.

Link will open a new page:  Czech Glass Color Chart PDF

Czech Glass Shape Chart:

It is important to note that not all Shapes and Sizes are available in all colors. But if you see something that you love, please ask and I will do my very best to accommodate your wishes.

Link will open a new page: Czech Glass Shape Chart PDF

 

Japanese /Chinese Crystal:

Sand, soda, and lime are heated in furnace, then molded or re-shaped to make this type of crystal. It’s a more economical choice for crystal, but while this type is cut and polished like more expensive grades, it lacks the high optic quality and precision facets of Swarovski. Seams are often visible in pressed glass of this type.