The History of Swarovski Crystal

Swarovski ® Crystal


Swarovski, the world’s leading crystal manufacturer, an exceptional crystal and an interesting story.

1862 Daniel Swarovski was born in Bohemian (present day Czech Republic) on 24th October. Bohemia was the centre for glass production and his father was a glass cutter who owned a small factory where Daniel was to learn his skill of glass cutting.

1892 Daniel Swarovski presents a revolutionary machine that allows crystals to be cut more precisely than with the existing time-consuming manual methods.


1895 Daniel Swarovski founds the company in Wattens, the Tyrol, Austria.

His vision is to produce a “diamond” for everyone.


1899 Swarovski used the edelweiss as their logo, this pretty white alpine flower is much loved in Austria.


1949 Swarovski Optik is established.


1950 Road safety reflectors SWAREFLEX is founded.


1953 The film “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” features an iconic scene in which Marilyn Monroe’s character Lorelei sings “Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend”. The diamond jewellery and accessories are in fact Swarovski crystal.


1956 Aged 93, Daniel Swarovski dies on 23rd January. Later that year, the company launches Aurora Borealis, often referred to as “AB”, an iridescent effect for jewellery stones, when Christian Dior was the first fashion designer to include it in his haute couture collection.


1962 On 19th May at New York’s Madison Square Garden, Marilyn Monroe serenades President John F Kennedy with “Happy Birthday Mr President”. She was wearing a Jean Louis sheer figure-hugging flesh-coloured custom-made gown with thousands of hand stitched Swarovski crystals. Under the spotlights, the fabric seemed to fade away, leaving only the brilliance of the sparkling diamond-like Swarovski crystals. Sold at a Los Angeles auction in November 2016, it reached a world-record price for a gown at US$ 4.8 million.


1965-66 Swarovski launched its luxurious crystal for chandeliers. David Malik declared that he has not seen anything like it and became the first person in the United Kingdom to adorn his lighting designs with crystal by Swarovski. When he started using this crystal, Swarovski was an unknown name in the field of chandelier components and we are honoured that our founder, David Malik played an important part in introducing Swarovski crystal for lighting to the market. A small range at first and due to the success, Swarovski added more designs, shapes, sizes and colours.


1976 The first decorative figurines win the hearts of consumers. The Silver Crystal is stocked in David Malik’s London showroom at 112 Kensington Church Street, where the famous crystal mouse proved to be very popular. The original crystal figures were very basic. The very first was the mouse, originally from chandelier components (a ball for the body and pear drops for the ears) glued together, but the figurines soon became more and more sophisticated.


In 1977 the crystal chandelier component range was registered under the name Strass (registration mark).


1987 Swarovski established a collector’s club – the Swarovski Crystal Society. This enabled Swarovski collectors to purchase an annual edition and special items only available to the collectors. Now it is the world’s largest collector society with an international following of hundreds of thousands of members in over 125 countries.


1995 Swarovski opens Kristallwelten, a magical Swarovski Crystal Worlds in Wattens, Austria. Since opening its doors, it has welcomed millions of visitors.

Swarovski celebrated its centenary. In London there was a glamorous gala dinner held at the Hilton Hotel, Park Lane, where we joined Swarovski in their celebration.


2001 Aura by Swarovski is the first Swarovski fragrance, created with the Clarins Fragrance Group.


2004 Xilion Cut, a new Swarovski development in crystal stones which sparkles with the utmost brilliance.


2007 At the 79th Annual Academy Awards, a crystal curtain with a sparkling 50,000 Swarovski crystals was the backdrop for some of Hollywood’s biggest stars. Swarovski has worked with The Oscars set designers ever since.


2009 Swarovski launches Swarovski Watches with Swiss quartz movement, these timepieces sparkle with the luxurious Swarovski crystal stones.


2013 The Swarovski Foundation is created to support charitable projects in three key areas:

Fostering culture and creativity

Promote wellbeing and human rights

Conserving natural resources

Over many years, Swarovski partnered with some of the most talented costume, jewellery and set designers, including Bond, Downton Abbey, Broadway productions, Disney productions and the Oscars. Swarovski had a strong presence with some of Hollywood’s most iconic productions.


2020 In October, Swarovski decided to cease production of their crystal components for the lighting industry which came as very surprising news indeed. After 55 years of our producing chandeliers dressed with magical Swarovski crystal, it is the end of a sparkling era as we are no longer able to do so. Although Swarovski is still producing stones and flat backs for use in the fashion industry and jewellery and creative trades, we will have to see if we are able to use any of these much smaller components in our work.