What are Swarovski Crystals

Swarovski crystals do not occur naturally. They are man made and consist of 32 percent lead, which is a requirement when making the crystals. The use of lead allows for a material that can withstand cutting and engraving. Daniel Swarovski invented the formula for the crystals in the 1890s.


Daniel Swarovski patented a machine that mass-produced mechanically cut and polished crystals. Originally the crystals were composed of silica, an alkali, and lime. Lead was then added, thus creating a better quality crystal.


The crystals must be made of 32 percent lead in order to maximize refraction. Chemical coatings are used to create the many different colors of the crystals. Clear crystals are more difficult to produce since they must be without impurities.

The Process

To achieve the look of the crystal, many are cut using the same precision-cutting process in which diamonds are cut. Authentic Swarovski crystals are made only in Austria.