We’ve all had some encounter with Swarovski, whether you’re a collector or simply familiar with their designs. But how much do you know about the history and rise of this billion dollar brand? If you already knew that their logo wasn’t always a swan, you’re off to a good start. Test your knowledge and follow the rise of Swarovski with these 10 fun facts!
The Swarovski company was founded in 1895 in Austria by Daniel Swarovski and partners. This was years after Daniel started his first business in jewellery (“A. Kosman, Daniel Swarovski & Co”), married his partner’s sister (Marie Weis) with whom he had three sons, and registers a patent for a machine that can cut crystal to perfection. All these events contributed to the future success of the Swarovski company.
2. The first logo was an EdelweissIn 1899 Swarovski starts using an Edelweiss flower as logo; symbolising Austria, alpinism and purity. The block SC logo was used from 1976 to 1988, after which Swarovski decided to continue with the now infamous swan logo. Although vintage crystal with either one of these logo’s is valuable, some collectors are “Swan seekers” and others prefer the block SC logo. There are even some pieces on which you cannot find any logo, but are still genuine Swarovski.
3. The fashion world made Swarovski world-famousThe Swarovski company did well from the start, with the exception of the World War 1 period naturally. But when the economy flourished in the Golden Twenties, Swarovski became a big player in the fashion world, making the company increasingly famous through the years. Among the fashion icons Swarovski worked with were Balenciaga, Coco Chanel and Christian Dior
Photo Credits: Marion Golsteijn
4. Swarovski crystals are often used in costumingIn many Hollywood movies you find Swarovski crystals sparkling alongside famous actresses. You can see Swarovski diamond earrings on Marilyn Monroe in ‘Gentlemen Prefer Blondes’, for example. And what to think of Sarah Jessica Parker’s shiny shimmering dress in ‘Sex in the City’? Audrey Hepburn too is still associated with Swarovski jewellery.
5. The Aurora Borealis effect is a type of crystalIn 1956 a collaboration between Christian Dior and Swarovski resulted in a very special type of crystal jewellery. One of Daniel Swarovski’s sons, Manfred, created a micro-thin layer of vaporised blue metal to coat crystals with. The effect of the rainbow-like refracted lights was named after the Aurora Borealis, or the Northern Lights. It was an instant success.
6. They are also famous for their binocularsBeing a specialist in glass, the Swarovski company has not kept its work limited to jewellery. Swarovski Optik produces optical instruments and they are the ‘diamonds’ among binoculars and telescopes.
7. You can decorate a palace with SwarovskiIn the Swarovski Palace collection you’ll find classic lighting, art and design decorated with crystals. Special enough to be a part of the interior of a palace, whilst still respecting the classic traditions of chandeliers etc.
8. The Rockefeller Christmas Tree Star is Swarovski’sFor 13 years now, Swarovski has designed the star that glitters on top of the Rockefeller Christmas Tree in New York. It has become an iconic part of New York’s holiday traditions. Last year the star weighed 550 pounds, contained 25,000 crystals and measured over 9.5 feet in diameter.
Photo Credit: CC BY / Visual hunt via Anthony Quintano
9. The founder’s principles are still respectedOne of the reasons the Swarovski company is still so successful is because they hold on to the traditional values and vision of Daniel Swarovksi Ι, who passed away in 1956. These include excellence in quality, innovation, and a desire to create products of great beauty. There are even fifth generation Swarovski family members in management positions and the company is still family owned.
10. Swarovski’s successSwarovski has about 2,800 stores in 170 countries. Over 27,000 people work for the brand and in 2016 Swarovski made a profit of €2.6 billion.