The name Swarovski is widely known in the fashion and design industry, and this remarkable Austrian crystal producer has currently more than 2,700 retail outlets in 170 countries around the world, while employing 27,000 people. The company’s history is long and eventful, starting with Daniel Swarovski, the founder, who was born in 1862, and went on to become the father of the Swarovski crystal dynasty. Daniel was the son of a glass cutter, a common occupation at that time, and his father, Franz, had a small glass factory that was located a short distance from the Polish border. It was here that Daniel got his introduction to crystal glass and developed a love for creating fine handmade jewellery and ornaments using crystal.
The First Crystal Factory
In 1895, Swarovski patented a lead crystal cutting machine, which was a first, and joined forces with two other people to build a small factory at Wattens, in the Austrian state of Tyrol, as this allowed them to use the hydro-electricity that was generated nearby to power their new invention. In 1919, Swarovski started another company, Tyrolit, which focused on making the grinding wheels used to cut Swarovski crystal, due to an acute shortage that was caused by the First World War, and the company continued to thrive after the war, eventually moving its headquarters to Schwaz.
The Swarovski crystal range is indeed extensive, but perhaps they are best known for their miniature animal figurines, and with stunning jewellery that includes Swarovski necklaces and earrings, the company have created a global brand that is well-known. The Swarovski logo was initially an edelweiss flower, which was replaced by the initials S.A.L. and then was changed to the current swan logo in 1988, and the older pieces are quite valuable, with many becoming collector’s items.
Lead Crystal Sculptures
Swarovski leant heavily into the art of lead crystal sculpting, creating some exquisite pieces, and the process of making crystal glass was perfected over the years. The company also developed coatings that would reflect the light in a rainbow spectrum, and thereafter, developed many side applications that gave various lighting effects.
The Swarovski business empire had many tentacles, and they moved into fashion and jewellery design, with great results, and also lighting, with emphasis on crystal chandeliers. The optics industry is also represented by Tyrolit, who now have more than 25 production facilities in 5 continents, and they are leading manufacturers of abrasive drilling equipment and concrete sawing machinery.
Line of Jewellery
Known around the world, Swarovski jewellery is a firm favourite with millions of women, and there are online suppliers of hand crafted crystal jewellery at very affordable prices. Attractive necklaces and earrings do not have to have a big price tag, and for less than $100, you can acquire some very elegant pieces that will stand the test of time, with the mark of quality that Swarovski is famous for.
Daniel Swarovski could never have known at the very beginning, just where his crystal factory would lead him, and today, Swarovski is a household name among fashion and jewellery experts.