Crystals give a woman the feeling of wearing diamonds without paying the price of diamond. ~Daniel Swarovski.
Yes you guessed it right. The brand that I am writing about here is Swarovski – the name that is linked with the brilliance of cut crystals and fashion jewellery.
The Beginning at Wattens
In the late 19th century, when generation and transmission of electricity was a newly discovered marvel, Daniel Swarovski, born in Northern Bohemia, had patented an electric cutting machine that cut crystal more precisely than by hand.
Inspired by his vision to use crystal to create a diamond for everyone, Daniel Swarovski founded Swarovski in the small town of Wattens, ensconced in the Austrian alps, in the year 1895. The alpine streams provided the water that was needed to generate electricity for running the plant, and the increasing intermingling of arts, literature, music and science in Central Europe in the late 19th century provided the perfect milieu for a business steeped in innovation and creativity.
The crystals that shimmer in different colours of the rainbow have been used to adorn Queen Victoria’s dresses, to embellish the costumes of Hollywood icons like Marlene Dietrich, Marilyn Monroe and Audrey Hepburn, and to develop exclusive lines for top designers including Jean Loius, Coco Chanel, Christian Dior, Alexander McQueen, Giorgio Armani.
Besides staying at the top end of high fashion and statement jewellery, Swarovski also ventured into developing precision cut gemstones that include sapphire, amethyst and zirconia, and topaz, crystal components for chandeliers, crystal figurines, and crystal watches. The crystal chandeliers have lighted many palaces and Opera Houses, and the crystal curtains have provided the perfect backdrop for the Hollywood stars on the Oscar sets.
In 1989, as Swarovski developed into a global enterprise, the company created the distinctive Swan logo for all lines of the crystal business.
The 100 year anniversary of Swarovski in 1995, saw the creation of created Kristallwelten, the crystal art gallery at Wattens, Austria, which displays various art forms made with Swarovski crystals and has a shopping area where you can buy things made from Swarovski crystals.
With 2500 retail outlets all over the world, Swarovski is recognized as one of the top tier luxury brands. The crystals have garnered a cult following, which is evident from the request for custom creations that include a $128,000 crystal toilet (sounds bizzare eh..) and a $9,000 10-inch Mickey Mouse figurine.
Still a family run business, run by the Executive Board of five family members, Sawarovski functions without a Chief Executive Officer through the consensus of its board members. The fifth generation family management claim to stick to the DNA of the company and values of Daniel Swarovski.
Besides the Swarovski Crystal Business, the company comprises of Swarovski Optik, producing precision optical instruments including binoculars, telescopes for nature observation, travelling and leisure, and Tyrolit, a leading producer of tools for grinding, sawing, drilling, and dressing.
Taking inspiration from haute couture, the crystal brand adds a touch of fine taste to fashion jewellery, accessories, interior design and lighting with the finest crystals.
What I’m doing is democratising luxury,
says Nadja Swarovski, one of five fifth generation Swarovskis on the executive board (and the only female), as Swarovski charms the world by bringing sparkle to everything from couture fashion collections to avant-garde glassware.
Image credit: Swarovski website (swarovskigroup.com)
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