In the jewelry world, there is a lot of jargon thrown around, and if you’re not conversant with them, you won’t know if you’re getting the right product for you. In this article, we are taking a deep dive into the familiar names you’ll come across in the jewelry industry when talking about crystals and gemstones.
Once you’re done, you’ll distinguish what they are, how they are made, home much they cost along with their pros and cons.
1.Swarovski Crystal vs Diamond
Let’s begin our deep dive into these different stones by looking at the difference between Swarovski crystals and diamonds.
What is Swarovski Crystal?
Contrary to common belief, Swarovski crystals are not gemstones but glass made at high pressure. The pioneer of Swarovski crystals is Daniel Swarovski. When he began, the venture of making diamond-like crystals his wish was to make “a diamond for everyone.” Being the son of a glass cutter, he went ahead and created and then patented a machine that can do just that.
Their crystals have been made in Austria since their inception in 1892. Swarovski has been part of the fashion market for decades, with one of their most defining moments being in 1962 when Marilyn Monroe sang “Happy Birthday Mr. President” in a dress adorned with Swarovski crystals. Another instance was their collaboration with Christian Dior to make a crystal with an “Aurora Borealis” effect.
How is Swarovski Crystal made?
Swarovski crystals are made from quartz sand, potash (a potassium-rich salt), sodium carbonate, and 32 percent red lead (which increased the refraction index to produce the sparkling appearance) all melted at high temperatures. Though there is the awareness of the common ingredients, the ratio or even other components remain a Swarovski secret. Also, what makes them different from other crystals in the market is the patented electric glass cutter that the company uses. The component that makes it easier to cut the glass accurately is potash. When mixed with chalk, it drastically increases the clarity of glass and makes it malleable, so shaping is easy.
Also, their polishing method the brand uses its unique to them and gives their crystals that brilliant shine. Additionally, the crystals get coated with what is referred to as “Aurora Borealis” or AB, which is responsible for the rainbow-like appearance the crystals have when they reflect light, very much like diamonds do.
Read a full post here if you want to know more about how Swarovski made of.
How much does Swarovski Crystal cost?
Even though Swarovski crystals are made from glass, they are more expensive due to the brand name, then the manufacturing process and the materials used. The shape, size, color, and application do determine the total cost of each stone. However, these crystals are a lot cheaper than diamonds, making them more affordable for the general public.
Pros and cons of Swarovski Crystal
Pros: Swarovski crystals are a lot more affordable compared to diamonds despite being a high-end brand. From the appearance, they have similar characteristics, but Swarovski crystals always have constant clarity and brilliance to them.
Cons: Swarovski crystals are harder than standard glass with a Mohs score of 6-7, but they are still susceptible to chipping and scratching over time.
What is Diamond?
The diamond is comprised of carbon atoms arranged in a structure specific to the gemstone. It is made of pure carbon where the atoms are arranged in a crystal, with the other type of carbon arrangement forming graphite. Until recently, diamonds were the hardest natural material known to man, falling at a 10 on the Mohs scale.
How is Diamond made?
A diamond is a gemstone formed in the earth’s mantle between the earth’s outer core and the curst where the semi-molten layer resides. They came about after heat and pressure crystallized carbon some 1 to 3.5 billion years ago and settled about 100 to 500 miles below the earth’s surface. The process itself happens when fluids containing carbon dissolve minerals, and the byproduct is diamonds.
What makes the diamonds accessible to us humans are the volcanic eruptions that brought them close to the earth’s surface about 20 million years ago. After the volcanic activity, the diamonds are deposited in magmatic rocks where they are then extracted from. The colors diamonds are available in is based on impurities or defects introduced to the diamond while it was forming, which is typically other elements such as nitrogen, boron, etc.
How much does Diamond cost?
What dictates the price of a diamond is the four cs, that is, cut, carat, color, and clarity. They all will have some flaws in them, such as clarity and color. That is why the more ‘prefect’ a diamond is, the more expensive it is. The carat is ultimately what determines the price. The carats range between 0.50 to 5, with 5 being the closest to perfect. The diamond price chart that sets the prices is referred to as the Rapaport Price List or simply The List.
Pros and cons of Diamond
Pros: Diamonds are considered to among the hardest rocks in the market, and that places it at a high value even when reselling. You don’t have to worry about scratching or any sort of tarnishing when you purchase a diamond ring. It is for that reason they also make incredible heirlooms.
Cons: Diamonds are expensive, and a large portion of society cannot afford it. For decades engagement rings have been synonymous with diamonds, locking out other gemstones.
2.Swarovski Crystal vs. Cubic Zirconia
Now that we know what Swarovski crystals are let’s explore cubic zirconia.
What is Cubic Zirconia?
Cubic zirconia, also referred to as CZ, is also a human-made crystal commonly used as a substitute for diamonds. The discovery of the primary compound, baddeleyite, which is a rare zirconium oxide mineral, was discovered in 1892. In 1977 companies like Ceres Corporation, Swarovski AG, ICT Inc., and Taiwan Crystal Company Ltd started mass production. The reason it’s popular is that, to the untrained eye, they look identical to diamonds. They have almost the same crystal formation and omits and they also have a similar sparkle when help up to the light. What’s impressive about CZ is that it has an impressive 8.5-9 Mohs on the scale of hardness, diamonds being a 10.
How is Cubic Zirconia made?
These human-made crystals are made from melting zirconium dioxide mixed with a stabilizer (10 percent yttrium oxide) and powdered zirconium before heating them to 4,982 degrees Fahrenheit. Zirconium dioxide gets added to zirconia to stabilize since, by itself, it cannot form a crystal at a melting point. Once the process is complete, the stone gets cut like a diamond.
The refractive index of CZ is close to that of diamonds, and the luster is about the same. The material responsible for the refraction is the zirconium oxide, and it is also what gives CZ its high resistance to chemical and thermal attack. CZ also comes with various colors that mimic the multiple colors that diamonds come in. Different elements get added to the molten zirconia during the manufacturing process to attain the color.
How much does Cubic Zirconia cost?
Despite the likeness, you’re assured that CZ is a lot cheaper than diamonds. The quality of the crystal is what determines the cost. For example, one that is flawed would go for about $10 while on that is exquisitely made would cost hundreds of dollars. Something to note is that since 1976 when production began, cubic zirconia has been the singer largest competitor of diamonds due to their low cost and durability.
Pros and cons of Cubic Zirconia Crystal
Pros: cubic zirconia was a welcome addition to the crystal industry as it acts as an affordable substitute for diamonds. For the person not conversant with gemstones and crystals, this material can pass for a diamond as it contains similar refraction and luster. It also a hard material, meaning that it can withstand the wear and tear better than other crystals in the market.
Cons: There are still flaws in cubic zirconia due to the mechanics that go into making the crystal itself.
3.Swarovski crystal vs. Swarovski zirconia
Thus far, we have established that Swarovski makes both crystals and cubic zirconia. Let’s look at the latter.
What is Swarovski zirconia?
Essentially, a Swarovski zirconia is zirconia made under the brand name Swarovski.
How is Swarovski zirconia made?
The zirconia is made in the same process as the standard cubic zirconia gets made. However, what makes it different from others in the making is the machine cut component of the making of the crystal. Since they started production in the 1970s, Swarovski has the most precisely cut zirconia in the market. They offer them in various exquisite sizes, shapes, and colors.
How much does Swarovski zirconia cost?
Swarovski zirconia does cost above others in the market for various reasons. The first is the brand name, and the second is the technology used. In their line, they have the Pure Brilliance cut zirconia that has the same brilliance as a diamond. The cutting standards are governed by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), which is a global authority in the diamond sector. From that, Swarovski made Pure Brilliance to mimic the world’s most brilliant diamond, the Tolkowsky diamond.
Pros and cons of Swarovski zirconia
Pros: Swarovski is a reputable company when it comes to synthetic stones, and it is no different with their zirconia. With them, you can get a diamond look-alike for much cheaper, and given that its zirconia, it will stand the test of time better than other crystals.
Cons: Even though they have the brilliance of a diamond, they are still don’t have the same market value, which doesn’t make them worth much in the long-run.
4.Swarovski Crystal vs Regular Crystal
While Swarovski is still a crystal, it is different from the regular crystal. Let’s see how.
What is regular Crystal?
A regular crystal is comprised of atoms called Unit Cell that is repeated in the same arrangement throughout the whole material. Therefore, the connection between these molecules forms a pattern that is visible in crystals. In essence, they have a definite chemical composition form in an orderly and symmetrical atomic structure. There are various kinds of crystal, table salt, diamonds, and snowflakes being some of them.
How is regular Crystal made?
Crystals grow or, instead, crystalize, from a single mineral that has no interference from other minerals. Crystallization takes various forms, either from evaporation such as when seawater evaporates, or the cooling of lava. When they are forming, the minerals form smooth and flat crystal faces. The geometric pattern or crystal lattice that you see on the crystal faces is what the atomic arrangement is like internally.
How much does regular Crystal cost?
There is quite a variety of crystals in the market, and the value is based on the kind it is. The cost of the crystal is dependent on various factors. They include the size, weight, rarity, and popularity of the crystal itself, and they are typically bought in weight. The other factor is the condition in which the crystal is both inside and outside. Most crystal does grow from the ground, and that can subject them to damage. Therefore, an almost flawless crystal will cost more than one with abrasion or separation planes. A good jeweler must disclose the flaws to the customer and price it accordingly.
Pros and cons of regular Crystal
Pros: Crystals come in a wide variety of types depending on the molecular structure. There are a lot of options in the market concerning the type, color, size, and clarity that you can get. For that reason, getting something you like and that appeals to you is quite easy, and you don’t have to break the bank.
Cons: The whole process, from extraction to process, does tend to be hazardous for the crystal and thus cause it some damage.
5.Swarovski Crystal vs. Glass
Swarovski crystals are glass, but what makes them different from your regular drinking utensils? Let’s explore.
What is glass?
Glass is a substance made from liquid sand. Once the sand is melted, the byproduct is exposed to more heat and other components to turn it into what we know.
How is glass made?
You make glass by heating ordinary sand that is primarily made from silicon dioxide, along with sodium carbonate and calcium carbonate. You melt it at about 3090 degrees Fahrenheit. Once the melting process begins, it doesn’t go back to regular sand. It goes through a total transformation because the inner structure of the sand itself changes. During the cooling, the sand doesn’t turn into solid; instead, it turns into a frozen liquid- a state between solid and liquid. When it is in that state, it is quite easy to shape into whatever you need it to be.
How much does glass cost?
Glass is everywhere because it is inexpensive and quite easy to make. The cost of glass is dependent on usage. A water glass will cost a lot less than glass walls.
Pros and cons of glass in jewelry making
Pros: Given how inexpensive glass is, it drastically reduced the cost of jewelry making. There is also quite a variety, such as glass beads, sea glass, Murano glass, and even fused glass jewelry. You’ll find them in bulk for jewelry making at prices you’ll love.
Cons: Glass is inevitably fragile and thus likely to chip, crack, or break. You, therefore, have to be careful when wearing and storing.
6.Swarovski Crystal vs. Czech Crystal
You’ve heard about Swarovski crystals; how do they compare to Czech Crystal?
What is Czech Crystal?
Czech crystals come from manufacturers in the Czech Republic Additionally, these types of crystals have been in production for hundreds of years. Production of the same first stared in 1548 under the Crystal Valley of the Wander family in the town of Mšeno. In the mid-1800s, Daniel Swarovski himself worked for this company before venturing off on his own. The company he worked for is know known as Preciosa.
How is Czech Crystal made?
These are also human-made lead glass crystals very much like the Swarovski ones. The difference is how they are made and the fact that they have to come out of the Czech Republic. The crystals they produce are based on the European standards, whereby the lead content has to be 24 percent for it to qualify as a Czech crystal. The difference with Swarovski crystal is they have fewer facets cuts, and they are also lighter due to the reduced lead content.
How much does the Czech Crystal cost?
These cost less than Swarovski crystals primarily because of the cut; Swarovski has proved themselves to be industry leaders in that regard. However, Czech crystals are still beautiful, with some of their colored crystals being more appealing and higher light refraction than Swarovski crystals.
Pros and cons of Czech Crystal
Pros: Czech crystals have been in existence for almost five centuries now, and they are considered to be quite impressive in their own way. They are just as good as Swarovski crystals, the only significant difference being the precision cut. Otherwise, they are worthwhile to purchase in jewelry-making.
Cons: Just as Swarovski crystals, Czech crystals tend to have a lower Mohs hardness and thus also likely to wear and tear over time.
7.Swarovski crystal vs. Austrian crystal
What are Austrian crystals, and how are they similar or different from Swarovski crystals?
What is an Austrian Crystal?
Austria is a country well known for its crystals, and any type of crystal they make is referred to as an Austrian crystal. They are all human-made and contain lead glass, the component that makes the crystals sparkle as brilliantly as real diamonds. Something to note is that Austrian crystal is considered rhinestones since the name originated from the Rhine River that’s on the border of Austria.
How is Austrian Crystal made?
Similar to the Czech crystal and Swarovski crystals, Austrian crystal is also made from lead glass. They differ in that traditionally, they are made from a cutting hand-blown glass technique. Otherwise, other aspects are the same.
How much does Austrian Crystal cost?
Typically, Austrian Crystals vary in prices based on the brand. You will, however, find Swarovski being at the top of that list. Overall, crystals from Austria tend to be the most expensive in the world due to the material used and exquisite artistry.
Pros and cons of Austrian Crystal
Pros: Austrian crystals are arguably the best in the world, with Swarovski being the industry leader. Customers are even assured that within the country, there are brands just as good at producing crystals.
Cons: Crystals still need more are compared to zirconia or diamonds.
8.Swarovski Crystal vs. crystal ab
When talking about Swarovski crystals, the name “Aurora Borealis” or AB, came up. Let’s see how it translates to crystals.
What is crystal ab?
“Aurora Borealis” or AB is responsible for the rainbow-like appearance the crystals have when they reflect light, and mimics diamonds. It refers to the thin metallic coating sprayed on crystals. The name comes from the Northern Lights, given that the crystals shimmer to give a similar iridescent effect. There are various finishes that different manufacturers use. For example, Swarovski either uses a full or half-coat finish to give their clients options.
How is crystal ab made?
How AB is made is dependent on where they go on. They are both recurring in nature and other human-made items. You will find CDs, and the layer of gasoline being iridescent. Mineral compounds such as goethite and bismuth have the same appearance.
How much does crystal ab cost?
There are over ten different ab crystal types of applications that all determine the cost of an AB crystal. The material used to make it also determines how much the crystal itself will cost. You can ask the jeweler what type they’ve applied based on your preference.
Pros and cons of crystal ab
Pros: The AB effects make crystals glitter the way diamonds do. Therefore, you can get a gemstone effect on any crystal of your choice for a fraction of the price.
Cons: Not all AB coatings are durable. You will find that cheaper ones begin to peel off the surface they’ve been coated on, which makes it unappealing.
With this knowledge, you’ll know exactly what you’re purchasing. You’ll get to decide, based on your understanding or preference, whether, for example, you prefer Austrian or Czech crystals for your jewelry. Being an educated buyer also means you’ll know quality brands to opt for.
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Tiger is a fashion&jewelry lover. He is also a fashion jewelry manufacturer that help thousands of small business to grow and also do business with some big fashion jewelry brands. He is a truly metal expert and he will share some information you are looking for.