Swarovski® crystals - How to Ensure You are Getting the Real Thing

By Stuart Freedman

Swarovski (Swore-off-ski) crystal components are regarded as the highest quality machine cut and polished crystal beads in the world. The demand for luxury products unfortunately can create a host of imitators. The imitators are all over the Internet and at every bead show that we have visited.

The Swarovski company creates its glass with a special compound that imitators cannot duplicate. This special compound creates the incredible brilliance of their product. The delicate color palette is another quality that sets Swarovski crystal components apart from others.

With so many crystal beads and components out there, how can you tell if the crystal you are purchasing is actually a Swarovski crystal component....or an imitation?

Here are some tips that can help you determine which crystals are genuine:
  1. Swarovski crystals are generally not strung when offered for sale (with the exception of Swarovski pearls).
  2. Look for the original Swarovski packaging. Dependent on size, the bulk packages will range from 10 gross to 1/2 gross, in well-branded, sealed envelopes. The newest Swarovski bulk packaging is sealed with an authenticated silver toned hologram saying "Swarovski crystal."
  3. Swarovski crystals are perfectly uniform. Since they are machine cut, each crystal is the same. This means that the height, width and slope are consistent. A hand polished imitator bead will not have as uniform a cut. You may also notice different dimensions from bead to bead.
  4. Swarovski uses machinery that precisely cuts each crystal. According to Swarovski, "cutting hard materials such as crystal and gems, in such a way that they have a hundred identical facets in several directions, is a very complicated task; each direction of the reflected light must first be calculated by computer, then this has to be simulated in 3D, optimized and finally converted into control programs for complex machinery." This is just part of the technology that gives Swarovski crystals their unbelievable flash.
  5. The precision cutting of Swarovski machinery allows each crystal to have its facet juncture "pointing up." This means the facet junctures all meet at precisely the same point. This is a similar aspect of diamond faceting. See the illustration above.
  6. AB finish Swarovski crystals have a uniform surface luster. There are no swirling marks from the vacuum process that produces the AB finish, and generally there are no scratches. The "imitations" often have scratches, swirl marks ("oily" looking surface). Some of these imperfections, in the "imposters," have to do with the lower quality of the finish. See the illustration below.

  7. When you look inside the crystal, you will see no bubbles. If you see any bubbles, you know immediately that it is a fake.
  8. Because of its special glass compounds, Swarovski crystal will out-sparkle a bead of lesser quality when placed in a side-by-side comparison.
Your best bet is to buy from reputable suppliers known to be Swarovski distributors. Just because they display the logo does not mean they are true distributors. We have seen many vendors incorrectly (and illegally) displaying the swan logo of Swarovski when selling beads at shows.

Fire Mountain Gems and Beads is a direct distributor for Swarovski crystal

Customer Comments

We would like to share some of the customer comments we received in response to the article "Swarovski - How to Ensure You are Getting the Real Thing," featured in a newsletter. Please keep in mind that the comments expressed below are those of our customers and do not reflect the views of Fire Mountain Gems and Beads.

''I loved the article about genuine Swarovski crystals. I recently tried to save a few bucks and bought some on e-bay only to be really disappointed when they weren't real Swarovski."
- Teri

''As one who occasionally goes to "Gem and Mineral Shows," I appreciate this article on real Swarovski crystal products."
- Dorian

''Swarovski or fake article"...I loved it. That is one of the most pressing issues these days. In retail stores you see the "Swarovski" or "Swarovski crystal" logo on so many different brands, it's hard to believe that they are all genuine Swarovski. I like the highest quality components for my beading, and I definitely don't want to be giving any misinformation when selling an item! Thanks!!!"
- Jessica

''Your article on Swarovski imitators is very timely for me. Recently one of my favorite eBay stores quit because of competition from foreign suppliers selling fake Swarovski and she couldn't compete with their low prices. Right after that I was looking at my crystal and was shocked to discover that ones I had bought just a year ago had totally faded from the color "Cantaloupe" to a grey-tan shade. The 4mm were mixed with ones I must have bought in the US as the color was still fine, which is how I noticed the change in the first place. Then, when recently stringing another necklace, I kept wondering why some of the gold crystals seemed scratched and smudged on the surface. Now, after reading this article, I suspect they are also ones I bought overseas last year."
- Y

''The article on Swarovski beads was very helpful to people like myself who would not know the subtle differences. Thank you for that informative article."
- Marilyn

''Your article on detecting fake Swarovski crystals was good and useful. The only addition that I would suggest is that, if they aren't already doing it, bead customers should carry a hand-lens with them. Good hand-lenses are not expensive, and they're small enough to fit easily in a purse or pocket. A hand-lens can also be hung around the neck or on a nicely beaded necklace, of course!"
- Ellen

''Thank you for this article. I have long questioned the origin of beads that said Swarovski, but just didn't seem right to me. This helped me."
- Susan

''Your information about genuine swarovski crystals as opposed to fake was very informative and good to know. We can never have enough information about products which we think are genuine and are not. Keep us clients informed. Thank you."
- Eileen

''I really appreciate this article! I have printed it out for my customers to see. It is great to see a concrete way to fight the imitators."
- Gail

''The article on Swarovski crystals was very informative."
- Ella

''Great read regarding Swarovski crystals and what to look out for. My goal is to always purchase from your company then I have no worries and I can get on with creating my work knowing full well I am working with the genuine item."
- Toni

''The article entitled "Swarovski-How To Tell If You Are Getting The Real Thing" featured in the Nov. 24th newsletter was extremely informative and timely; in light of the crystal beads that are now being produced in China. I wondered why Swarovski crystals were higher than the competition and now I know exactly why; quality and precision craftsmanship. I enjoyed reading how the crystals are produced and about the quality controls that ensure each crystal is exactly identical. In the future I will think twice before I order crystals from overseas."
- Roberta

''I have always wondered how to tell the difference between real Swarovski crystals and knock offs. Enjoyed the article immensely. "
- Kim

''I was grateful for this information. I recently bought crystals on Ebay advertised as Swarovski. I suspected that they are not and I wanted to be sure before I contacted the seller and asked for a refund and discontinuing selling the beads as Swarovski. Now I can check out the beads with confidence. If they are fakes and don't clean up their act, I will report them to Ebay. They came from China and I'm sure I'll find they are fake. Nice enough for some jewelry but not for my best."
- Janus

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