Daniel Swarovski was a 19th century glass cutter and jeweler, originally from Bohemia, who develeoped the modern rhinestone. He created a special foil backing that gave his cut leaded glass the appearance of diamonds. His multi-faceted crystals were such a hit, in 1892 he patented an electric glass cutter so his factory could produce these "gemstones" in significant numbers.
In 1895, Swarovski moved his company from Bohemia (now known as the Czech Republic) to Austria, and his sons joined his company in the early 1900's. All the top 20th century costume jewelers in the U.S. and around the world, including Eisenberg, Joseff, Trifari and Sherman, just to name a few, have used Swarovski crystals, as they are considered the finest and most brilliant rhinestones available.
In the 1920's, Coco Chanel's concept of "costume jewelry" gave Austria's rhinestone industry a tremendous boost. Austrian firm Schoffel & Co. began producing top-notch, precisely set crystal costume jewelry in the 1930's, each piece marked with a crown, often accompanied with the words "Austria" or "Made in Austria."
During the 1950's, Swarovski rhinestones were produced in a marvelous rainbow of colors, and often cut into large, obviously fake stones and worn in showy bib necklaces and brooches,popular during the mid century. That same decade, Swarovski introduced its "aurora borealis" rhinestones, diamanté crystals with a special iridescent sheen.
Whether you are a collector of mid century, Swarovski, Austria or just love vintage rhinestone jewelry, please check out my etsy shop at www.etsy.com/shop/PattysJewelryEtc