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History of Swarovski crystal

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The History of Swarovski and other Interesting Facts

Swarovski is a family owned business, that started in 1895. The founder, Daniel Swarovski,was considered a pioneer of technology, industry and a humanitarian. He came from Bohemia, a region which belonged to the Austro-Hungarian Empire and possessed a glass cutting industry that had renowned for renowned for centuries. His father taught him the craft of crystal cutting at an early age. A visit to the first International Exhibition in Vienna 1883 inspired him to design an automatic jewelry cutting machine. He then leased an old factory in the tiny village of Wattens, tucked away in the Tyrolean Alps, to put his invention to use. The surrounding mountains provided his rapidly expanding operation an abundant source of clean hydroelectric power.

Daniel Swarovski actually founded the company with the help of his brother-in-law, Franz Weis, and financier Armand Kosmann. The superior quality of their jewelry stones soon made them well known in Paris, America and the Russian Empire.

Daniel Swarovski (1862-1956) stated some very profound words to his peers, colleagues, employees and family, "...every age brings with it new vocations and new forms of self-expression. The important thing is to remain alert, to exploit opportunities as they arise and to put them to the best possible use. But no matter how successful you are, you will be unable to sustain it unless you try to think of your fellow man too...if you try to keep your eyes firmly on the main objective and put your personal interests behind you, your future will be assured."

Daniel Swarovski played the violin and he and his brother-in-law, Franz Weis, would play in the evenings with the employees. The company's first band was formed as early as 1899. Today "Swarovski Musik Wattens" has 70 regular musicians and is famous worldwide. In 1907, he launched an employee's housing plan in addition to many company benefits for employees that his son also helped to develop and implement.

Swarovski strives to be an 'ecology' minded company, to keep the environment clean; in fact, Daniel Swarovski II once summarized his quest for technologies that were in harmony with the significance of the product and nature: "Our main product, crystal, is a reminder to keep our environment clean".

The company grew over the years even with the outbreak of WW I. Many workers enlisted for military service. Swarovski produced military equipment. Many new inventions and product lines were beginning to develop when WW II broke out and again Swarovski manufactured optics. The production of abrasive and technical products saved the factory from being closed. Swarovski produced binoculars for the armed forces. Swarovski binoculars and telescopes are considered the best in the world for their high quality and precision optic capability.

In 1973, Swarovski broke new ground and the first items for the 12th Olympic Winter Games in Innsbruck, Austria were created. The items were a key chain and a paperweight commemorating the event.

The following year, a mouse was created by Max Shreck. It was considered a wonderful 'accident' that component chandelier pieces could make figurines. The first Annual Edition piece, the Lovebirds, was created by Max Schreck and Adi Stocker in 1987. More animal figurines were created; elegant candleholders were added, followed by decorative accessories - Swarovski Silver Crystal was born! The early logo was a block SC and in later years they changed it to the current Swan logo.

It was in the early 1980's that the Trimlite product line was also launched in the US. Trimlite was manufactured by an outside vendor with Swarovski chandelier parts. The Trimlite line only lasted a few years and each piece is marked with a 'T' logo and the year made. The series is highly prized for gold plated pieces and the many interesting designs. There was also an early relationship with a company, Ebeling & Reuss, that also had pieces manufactured by Swarovski specifically for them. Those pieces were also US items only and carry an 'E&R' script logo on the bottom of each piece. Another early line was Giftware Suite which created more functional items, such as the desk accessories, some ornaments and other pieces. Some had the SC logo and some did not. There was also a small line of children's figurines done in 1992, Julia's World, that was a US item only. The 8 figurines of frosted children plus a dog and a bench - came with a book that told Julia's story. This set is now being recognized as an interesting addition to collectors worldwide as so few were made and only in the US.

In 1980, the Jewel Company of America was renamed Swarovski America Ltd. and relocated from Providence, Rhode Island to Cranston, Rhode Island. There were two divisions there, jewelry and giftware. They have reorganized these divisions into one division.

In 1987, the SCS (Swarovski Collectors Society) was created and the first piece, the Lovebirds, was offered to members. Those who purchased a membership to the SCS in 1987 are considered 'Charter Members'. Hopefully they bought the Lovebirds and are still enjoying them.

Each year Swarovski creates a new Annual Edition for collectors. The series are in trilogies, the first one, 'Caring and Sharing' began with the Lovebirds, the next edition was the Woodpeckers and the last piece was the Turtledoves. Each piece came in a special box with a Certificate of Authenticity. The next series was 'Mother and Child' - followed by 'Inspiration Africa', 'Fabulous Creatures', 'Masquerade' and the 'Magic of Dance' launched in 2002.

Additionally, through the years, many crystal figurines were made in the Silver Crystal line along with candleholders, paperweights and numerous creations that all carry the specific logo of Swarovski. The early logo was the SC in a block form and more recently the Swan logo. If a piece does not have either of these logos, it most likely is not Swarovski. That being said, there were some authentic pieces done that did not carry either logo but are considered Swarovski and indeed are.

Other lines developed, Crystal Memories, similar to Trimlite pieces but generally smaller; trimmed with a gold-plate finish. A recent line that is between Silver Crystal and Crystal Memories/Moments in size and price is Crystal Secrets. They have a gold finish that includes functional pieces and ornamental items. The Selection line offers somewhat functional pieces that are extremely limited in number. The Daniel Swarovski line also offers more objects' de art pieces - very limited in number and the most expensive of their collectible lines.
A new line called 'Symbols' was launched in '02. This is a rather eclectic, art nouveau line...very clean lines...quite interesting for the artistic appeal of the figurines.

The many product lines of Swarovski include:

Daniel Swarovski
Swarovski Selection
Swarovski Jeweler's Collection
Swarovski Silver Crystal
Swarovski SCS
Swarovski Crystal Memories/Moments
Crystal Colors
Jewelry Stones
Chandelier Crystals
Crystal Architecture
Swaro Lite
Swarovski Optik

* from Morton's Crystal, Inc., Swarovski Crystal Secondary Market Dealer - http://www.mortonscrystal.com

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