Austrian Glass Beads and Swarovski Crystal Beads - Vintage
Austrian crystal is man-made, essentially a creative cutting of hand-blown glass into everything from chandeliers to rhinestones and glass beads. Austrian crystal has a reputation for fine workmanship and is less expensive than jewelry made from precious stones. Daniel Swarovski was a Bohemian man who invented an automatic crystal cutting machine while living in Prague, Czechoslovakia. His machine was patented in 1892, and Swarovski was concerned that spies from other jewelry firms would copy his methods. As a result, he moved his operation to Wattens, Austria in 1895, which offered the advantage of a semi-remote location. Swarovski crystal's unique composition adds 32% lead to the molten glass which causes a high amount of reflected light. Later, he developed different chemical coatings to enhance color and sparkle. Although Swarovski is the premier manufacturer of Austrian crystal beads, other companies are in competition.
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