Rhinestone Jewelry

Pieces of rhinestone jewelry enhance almost all women’s accessories. But did you know that rhinestones originated from Bohemia and the Czech Republic as early as 13th century? These glittering finds are in actuality highly refined glass molded with various metals and polished by a unique machine, creating a sparkling glass stone.

Rhinestones have a very significant role in the jewelry market for centuries. The Victorian period showcased motifs for jewelry. Popular jewelry included lockets, snake rings and snake bracelets that represented fidelity in love. These jewelries were often adorned with rhinestones, often used to imitate precious gems as diamonds and pearls.

Daniel Swarovski was credited for creating a new glass cutting machine in 1891 that paved the way for modern jewelry making because his machine was known for its speed in cutting jewelry. This revolution eventually resulted in rhinestones. But Swarovski did not sit on his invention as he also created other machines directed at modernizing the industry.

During the first two decades of the 20th century when rhinestones became among the most popular expensive jewelry pieces because of its symmetrical patterns. Designers played with the concept and came up several top of the line pieces at that time, among them the rhinestones in several colors that attracted women with taste to buy them. And during the time when women started exercising their right of suffrage, they flaunted their jewelry as an accent to their gowns. It was in this period when some designers started experimenting with plastic that eventually resulted in the new jewelry pieces that highlighted the use of Bakelite and other plastic materials.

As the World War II set in the 1940s, governments then declared use of metal in jewelry making as illegal because they wanted to use them in making weapons. This led designers to come up with some notable pieces that rarely highlighted metals. And because the precious rhinestones were hard to find especially in Europe and because some factories were making firearms instead, the want for new pieces started to wane.

It was in the 1950s, or immediately after the war, that the craving for new pieces of jewelry returned and the demand for rhinestones for all kinds of jewelry started to increase again. Other kinds of jewelry like copper and pearls were also in demand even in Asia. Western Germany even started importing glass beads, while the US, particularly California, started increasing its need for copper as top designers like Gret Barkin started exploring this kind of jewelry.

Although it did not lose its luster, it was in the 1960s when rhinestone jewelry started to become the second fiddle in jewelry making as some designers increased their desires in making jewelry out of gold and pearl. This was because the interest of the buyers was tilted towards those kinds of jewelry. Silver even became as popular as the others.

Forty years ago, those who desired for glitter focused their attention on gold, although rhinestones did not still lose their luster as they were still part of women’s getup for the parties. This prompted big manufacturers to feed their markets with large quantities of jewelry, either those made of gold or those of rhinestone. What spurred the rise in the demand was also the promotional campaign on all available media entities.

But even in the present day, rhinestone has not lost much beauty, although other people compare it with paste, a glass stone made of ground glass. It was in Europe where rhinestone is really referred to as paste.

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