ALL ABOUT SWAROVSKI
Swarovski was founded in 1895 by Daniel Swarovski I.
It has since developed into an international entity with numerous subsidiaries and is currently in the process of reorganizing its North American activities, as well as preparing to increase its presence on the Internet. In addition, Swarovski is also adding their own retail stores throughout the United States and Canada. Approximately, 40 new stores should be in place by 2001. Swarovski has about 9200 employees, and it has remained a privately owned family business since
its inception. I have heard some "rumors" that they are considering going "public", but that is all they are, just rumors.
Note: Correct Pronunciation of the family name is: Swore Off Ski
Swarovski is renowned worldwide for manufacturing crystal "products of precision" in many different forms, sizes, and shapes, paying close attention to detail, in an effort to present the best in the cutting, clarity, and brilliance of their crystal products.
Swarovski attributes their success to the "tireless pursuit of perfection" in their production process.
Milestones in the Swarovski Story
1862: October 24, Daniel Swarovski I born in Georgenthal, Bohemia.
1883: Daniel Swarovski visits the International Electric Exhibition in Vienna, where he sees machines invented by Edison and others, and recognizes the significance of the new technology for his own industry. He could not have foreseen, nor imagined, the production of twenty billion stones annually! or the production of chandelier parts, optical instruments, crystal ornaments, a menagerie of crystal animals, grinding and abrasive tools, glass reflectors for the road and
rail, nor the production of faucets and knobs for both doors and cabinetry.
1892: Swarovski applies for patent on his first invention: a machine that cuts crystal jewelry stones with unprecedented precision for cutting crystal stones.
1895: October 1, Daniel Swarovski leaves Bohemia for Wattens, located in the Austrian Tyrol, to set up a factory specializing in the industrial production of cut crystal jewelry stones.
1907: Swarovski's hydroelectric plant in Wattens goes online, providing a plentiful source of clean energy.
1908: Swarovski and his three sons experiment with different methods to produce pure crystal. Within three years, they are able to refine it to a state of flawless brilliance.
1917: The company succeeds in producing grinding wheels needed for cutting crystal jewelry stones. These later are put on the open market, under the registered name "Tyrolit".
1925: Swarovski begins experimenting with glass reflecting elements that do not appear on the market until 1950 under the Swareflex trademark.
1931: Swarovski begins manufacturing "trimmings" - jewelry stones processed into decorative bands and laces, and appliqu�d to garments and accessories.
1935: Daniel's eldest son, Wilhelm, produces the first prototype pair of binoculars, laying the foundations for Swarovski's Optik products division.
1956: January 23, the death of Daniel Swarovski I at the age of 94. Swarovski coats crystal jewelry stones with thin layers of metal to enhance their brilliance.
1957: Company sets up its own gem-cutting department.
1965: Swarovski starts producing chandelier parts, later known under the "STRASS" trademark.
1971: "HOTFIX" eliminates the need for attaching jewelry stones individually, allowing their application in a single process.
1976: Four crystal chandelier parts glued together create the first member of Swarovski's full cut crystal animal menagerie: the tiny mouse! designed by Max Schreck, now deceased. Swarovski Silver Crystal is born! Production of paperweights and key rings began as souvenirs.
1977: Swarovski launches its own jewelry line under its current Swarovski "Jeweler's Collection" label.
1979: Swarovski establishes a branch in Cranston, R.I., USA, now major headquarters for North American operations.
1987: The Swarovski Collectors Society (SCS) is founded, in response to countless requests from crystal lovers all over the world. The "Lovebirds", designed by Max Schreck and Adi Stocker, the only annuals ever produced by two designers, becomes the first annual limited edition at a retail issue price of $150.00! Estimated Value today! $4500.00!! Interestingly enough, Adi Stocker is not allowed to sign this piece at any of the current Swarovski Events or Galas. What began as a small group of SCS collectors now has a membership in excess of 450,000 + members worldwide!
FYI: "Swarovski Silver Crystal" vs. "Rock Crystal" vs. "man-made crystal" ....
Swarovski Silver Crystal is "man-made" and produced by combining a variety of different minerals, including quartz and lead oxide. The manufacturing process uses full lead crystal containing more than 30% lead oxide, producing a crystal with a "deep color spectrum".
"Rock crystal", on the other hand, is a semiprecious stone, considered a mineral quartz, that occurs naturally. Therefore, "Swarovski Silver Crystal produces a more brilliant color than natural rock crystal.
1988: Swarovski's "SCS Block" trademark is replaced by the Swan Logo.
1989: Unveiling of the Daniel Swarovski line of haute couture accessories and decorative crystal "objects d'arte" at the Hotel Crillon in Paris. Pieces created by top designers, such as: Ettore Sottsass, Stefano Ricci, Alessandro Mendini and Herv� L�ger. This is Swarovski's "top of the line" product, often produced in very limited quantities at prices not for the faint of heart! or the average collector.
1991: Swarovski opens lavish new premises, designed by architect Roland Deleu, in the Rue Royale, Paris.
1992: Launch of the 12-piece Swarovski "Selection" collection by well-known contemporary designers. Selection is considered the second top of the line product in the hierarchy of product lines, and again is often produced in limited quantities, at prices that can be afforded, but not easily afforded.
- Crystal Memories, as a "trial" product line, was introduced to a single chain of collectible stores in the United States.
1993: "Official" Introduction of the "Crystal Memories" line began.
FYI: Two pieces that were offered during the "trial" run, the "Rolling Pin" and the "Coffee Pot" were discontinued and not offered to retailers. These pieces are a very RARE find, were unmarked, and are worth a lot of money today! To the best of my knowledge, no one has ever seen the Coffee Pot. From 1993 to 1995, it is not unusual to find Crystal Memories pieces without a logo.
1995: Swarovski's Centenary Year of Celebration
- Opening of Kristallwelten, designed by Austrian multi-media specialist Andr� Heller, in Wattens.
- Swan logo added to the "Crystal Memories" collection.
1996: The Angel Ornament became the first "limited edition" in the Crystal Memories line of products (ltd. to 68,000 or less, the U.S. received 28,000 of these). This was followed by two more limited edition "Angels" in 1997 and 1998. 2 more "Angels" have been added to the line in 1999 and 2000, but they are not considered limited editions.
2000: The Daniel Swarovski Paris "Paradise" Line is introduced (see below).
SWAROVSKI PRODUCT LINES
Silver Crystal ~ Swarovski's major product line - 1987 to Present Note: some older pieces issued prior to 1987, with some of them dating back to the mid 70's, have no logo. Consists of:
- Christmas Ornaments (earlier ornaments were issued under the New Crystal Concepts, and Giftware Suite lines). D. Swarovski & Co. began issuing the Christmas Ornaments in 1995 when the Swan logo was applied.
- Crystal City (Retired),
- Dealer Plaques & Paperweights (not sold to the public),
- Fruit and Botanical Items,
- Musical Instruments,
- Nativity Scene (Retired),
- Paperweights ~ in various sizes, shapes, & colors (most colors have been discontinued or retired, and were of European issue). Many of the older pieces are unmarked, with no logo and are not considered "Silver Crystal" issues. Some of them were issued under the New Crystal Concepts, Giftware Suite, and New Crystal Colors line.
- Picture Frames,
- Treasure Boxes (most are retired)
- Other various uncategorized designs.
Arribas Brothers/Disney ~ Numerous items have been produced celebrating Walt Disney's wonderful characters, and issued by Arribas Bros., in for the Disney Parks in California, Florida, Paris, and Tokyo, using only Swarovski crystals in limited, sometimes numbered, editions. Among them:
- The Dumbo Elephants, all retired, some of them worth in excess of $5,000.00.
- The Mickey and Minnie Mouse characters! Those that are retired are worth hundreds, if not, thousands of dollars!
- Winnie the Pooh, issued by Paris Disneyland.
- The FABULOUS FIVE! Minnie, Mickey, Donald, Goofy, and Pluto miniatures issued as a Ltd Ed. of 500 in a Special boxed Set that SOLD OUT! in no time, although you are able to order them separately at the current time.
- Numerous paperweights celebrating Disneyland/Disney World anniversaries and events.
You can visit http://www.arribasbros.com to see many of these items, or, LOOK HERE! We have them in the Photo Galleries on site.
Crystal Colors ~ (European issues only) These include the "Birds on the Thimbles", either on a pine cone or a barreled base. They were issued during the early 90's and all are retired.
Values range from $65.00 to $85.00.
Christmas Memories ~ 1996 to Present, part of the Crystal Memories line, began with the 1996 Ltd Ed. Angel ornament, and through the years, additional Christmas ornaments have been added.
Crystal Memories ~ 1993 to Present; considered a major product line, it began as an inexpensive way to collect Swarovski crystal, but with the introduction of the new "Journeys" line, has become pricier.
Crystal Signatures ~ better known as Ebeling & Reuss (E&R), made with Swarovski Crystal, dating back to the early 80's. Some of these pieces are valuable and very much sought after by collectors. They came boxed in the same round Swarovski tube you are accustomed to seeing, only
in blue, with "crafted by D. Swarovski & Co., Wattens Austria" in writing on the package. They are all retired and have the "signature S" logo on them.
- Issue prices for the animals series, which are highly sought after, ranged from $100 to $140, with values presently between $225 and $360.00.
- E&R also produced tiny vases known as "The Petite Floral Collection", and a lot of them were to be found in the Hallmark stores. This is a series of seven pieces (I got em all!) produced and discontinued in the '80's. Issue price was $35.00 to $40.00 and they are valued between $140.00 and $275.00.
- And then there was "The Arctic Collection"; (80's timeframe) these are tiny pieces portraying penguins, seals, eskimos, etc., most of which are on ice floats. Issue price for this series was $25; values range between $100 and $150.00.
- And last but not least, we have "The Whimsical Collection" also produced and ended in the 80's, issued at $35 ea. with values from $100 to $180.00.
Crystalogram ~ The Crystalograms were designed by Huber Weidinger, a Viennese son of a well-known sculptor, and an award-winning painter. He lives in the Tyrol, and these issues were entitled, "The Five by Weidinger". Because they were so unusual in design, they were not very popular and were shunned by the collectors. These consist of a painting applied by silk screen to the back of a piece of glass, with the imagery built in reverse. They are numbered, dated and signed by the artist. They came in small and larger sizes. The large crystalograms have 1200 faceted crystal stones, while the smaller ones have 400 stones. The smaller sizes were 12" square and limited in production to 4,999, while the larger 24 1/2" square were only limited to 99 pieces. They are truly unique, and values for the smaller rendition range from $550 to $800, while the larger paintings are valued in the $5,000 - $7,500 price range; they are all now closed editions.
Daniel Swarovski Art Objects ~ 3 well-known Italian designers were commissioned to produce this line of products: Ettore Sottsass, Alessandro Mendini, and Stefano Ricci. All studied in architecture before turning their talents to crystal! Each piece is signed and numbered, and issued with the artist's signature, as well as Mr. Helmuth Swarovski's signature. If you got a LOT of money, you can collect these items. A VERY limited number of each piece was issued (ie., 100, 250, 500) and issue prices range from $1060 (rare) ALL THE WAY to $42,800.00 (yep, you're reading that right!). When these pieces retire, hold on to your wallets! the values double! For the VERY "ELITE" collector!
Julia's World ~ These were issued in the late 80's and were based on a book by Julia Limpke, and only distributed by Swarovski of America Ltd. There are 9 pieces of the boys and girls featured in the book, and all were discontinued in 1992. Original issue prices ranged from $29.50 to $55.00, all are now discontinued, and range in value from $60.00 (for the book it is based on) to $300.00 for the figurines.
Famous Maker Perfume Bottles
- Lancome Special Editions ~ 3 special edition Lancome Tresor Perfume Bottles were issued from 1994 to 1997; all three editions look pretty much the same, fashioned after Lancome's Tresor perfume bottles, but made, of course, with Swarovski Crystal, in special packaging. These were ltd., numbered editions ranging at issue price from $250.00 (1994) to $325.00 (1997). All are
closed editions ranging in value from $405.00 (1995) to $475.00 (1994).
Other Designer Perfume Bottles made with Swarovski Crystal included:
- Yves St Laurant, introduced and closed in 1996, Ltd ed. of 6,233, in special packaging. Again, yet another issue was introduced and closed in 1998, a flacon that had design problems. Issue price was $350.00.
- Jewel Perfume, introduced in 1997 and still a current item, a diamond shaped crystal flacon on a 24K gold plated crown stand. Issue price was $150.00, but you can't buy one now for less than $250.00.
- Laura Biagiotti Roma Perfume, sold only in Europe as a ltd. edition with very limited distribution due to production problems. Introduced and closed in 1997, value is $850.00, if you can find one!
Secrets ~ introduced in 1993. They usually come with a small vial of crystals "hidden" inside the product.
Selection ~ introduced in 1992, created by famous designers, with modern interpretations, with prices that reflect the high end marketplace. Many of the pieces are extremely limited in production, and when retired, the prices skyrocket.
Swarogem ~ This unit of Swarovski produces table settings, silverware, etc.
Trimlite ~ these were produced during the early 80's and have become highly sought after by collectors in the secondary marketplace. There is a "T" logo imprinted into the metal of each item, and some of the pieces are dated. This product line was only available in the U.S. and Canadian markets. They were made in many different sizes between 1982 and 1988, when they were retired or discontinued. UNKNOWN pieces of Trimlite are being found by collectors every day!
Original issue prices range from a mere $10.00 to $140.00, and values range from $80 to $375.00, depending on how hard they are to find. This entire line retired in 1988.
Zales ~ yep! believe it or not, there are issues out there by Zales Jewelers using Swarovski crystal... One particular series of interest were the Zales Bears, Holley, Joey Jingles, etc. These were introduced in the early 90's and have the Trimlite "T" logo on them. Issue price for all of them was $25.00 and they now are valued between $150.00 and $220.00!!! and you have
to really Look! to find them! Zales also produced an animal series "on crystal stands"...
It was introduced way back in the 80's, all retired, and values range from $80 to $100.00.
Various Pendants, Brooches (some SCS members only issues) & Key Rings. Some are rare and the very valuable issues have been long retired.
Many other crystal manufacturers use Swarovski crystal in the manufacture of their products. Presently, Crystal World uses Swarovski crystal. In the past, companies such as Crystal Galleries and Summerhill (both now defunct) have manufactured products using our beloved crystal. I have two very special numbered and ltd editions created by Crystal Galleries; one is a spectacular
Cinderella Coach led by 4 horses, the other an Eagle with a 12" wing spread that everyone just loves when they see them! Pictures of them are here in \ the Photo Gallery for your viewing pleasure.
In addition, many major companies have commissioned Swarovski and issued special editions, as well as paperweights and key chains. Some of them include Northwest airlines, Singapore Airlines (a globe; there are other globes out there besides ours! :) Barbie (Mattel), daVinci, Harrod's, Dillard's, and Macy's, to name a few!
The "Swarovski Optiks" division produces "THE BEST" Binoculars and Sunglasses! and some limited edition items have been issued in their name also. These items are pricey, but the quality is FABULOUS!
You DO KNOW that Swarovski makes the BEST chandeliers in the world!?? The refraction from the cut of the crystal is stupendous! I got one! in my dining room and I can see it right here from my 'puter! and I LUV IT! I especially like the colors that are refracted in the early morning hours and late at night! You can see a picture of my chandelier right here in the "Meet The Founders" Photo Gallery! I strung the crystal myself! It took me two months! and you don't wanna know how much cursing!
NEW! From Daniel Swarovski - Paris, The PARADISE Collection, issued this year! These are a collection of bugs; grasshoppers, butterflies, dragonflies, beetles. They were produced using a special, molded process and they have THE most glorious colors! They were made in limited supply and I betcha you won't find any by the end of the year! I have heard 2 different "rumors", that this line will be followed in 2001 by different kinds of "Fish" whose objects will adhere to an ocean "wave" in much the same way Paradise is displayed on the Magnetic Tree. And the other rumor is that "Birds" will be issued. Maybe we'll get BOTH! It's my understanding that during production, all other product lines have to be shut down to manufacture and produce the Paradise line because of the "special process" that is used.
NEW! The Oliver Weber Collection! produced by famed artist, Oliver Weber, who designed the FABULOUS! 2000 Millenium Mickey. You can buy these items by visiting Jimer at http://www.swanseekers.com Get her newsletter too! it's a MUST! There's an excerpt under the
"Meet the Founders" Gallery from one of their newsletters here on the site! Guess who wrote the article?)
~You can also get the Paradise and Oliver Weber Collection from Nancy Stokes, Owner of the Crystal Fox Gallery (our own crystalfoxy) at http://www.crystal-fox
~ Nancy has a fabulous website and is a Premier Swarovski Dealer in Monterey CA, who contributes generously to this website!
And, if your collection is missing! any of the products mentioned here :) there are many secondary market specialists out there where you can purchase retired Swarovski items!
VISIT SWAROVSKI'S WEBSITE
NOTE: The Dated Timeline Information, but not necessarily all the content, for this page was supplied from Swarovski's webpage: http://www.swarovski.com/CGD/index.html
MANY OF THE PRODUCT LINES DISCUSSED HERE CAN BE SEEN IN OUR PHOTO GALLERIES RIGHT HERE! at
THE CRYSTAL FANATICS CLUB! ENJOY!
THAT's ALL for NOW! FOLKS! Hope ya learned a lot! cuz this took me ALL of one precious Saturday to do!