Swarovski (//; German: [svaˈrɔfski] (
|Industry||Fashion, crystal, jewellery|
|Founded||1895(as A. Kosmann, D. Swarovski & Co.)|
|Markus Langes-Swarovski, Robert Buchbauer, Nadja Swarovski, Mathias Margreiter, Dr Christoph Swarovski, Andreas Buchbauer, Arno Pilcher|
|Products||Crystal, genuine gemstones, created stones, accessories, and lighting|
|Revenue||€3.5 billion Euros|
Number of employees
The company is split into three major industry areas: the Swarovski Crystal Business, that primarily produces lead glass (branded crystal) jewellery and accessories; Swarovski Optik, which produces optical instruments such as telescopes, telescopic sights for rifles, and binoculars; and Tyrolit, a manufacturer of grinding, sawing, drilling, and dressing tools, as well as a supplier of tools and machines.
Today, the Swarovski Crystal Business is one of the highest grossing business units within Swarovski, with a global reach of approximately 3,000 stores in around 170 countries, more than 29,000 employees, and a revenue of about 2.7 billion euros (in 2018).
Daniel Swarovski was born in northern Bohemia (now the Czech Republic), 20 km from the current border with Poland. His father was a glass cutter and owned a small glass factory. It was there that the young Swarovski served an apprenticeship, becoming skilled in the art of glass-cutting. In 1892 he patented an electric cutting machine that facilitated the production of crystal glass.
In 1895, Swarovski, financier Armand Kosman, and Franz Weis founded the Swarovski company, originally known as A. Kosmann, D. Swarovski & Co. and shortened to KS & Co. The company established a crystal-cutting factory in Wattens, Tyrol (Austria), to take advantage of local hydroelectricity for the energy-intensive grinding processes Daniel Swarovski had patented. Swarovski's vision was to make "a diamond for everyone" by making crystals affordable.
In 1899, it first used the edelweiss flower in its logo and expanded to France, where it was known as Pierres Taillées du Tyrol ("Cut stones from Tyrol"). In 1919, Swarovski founded Tyrolit, bringing the grinding and polishing tools from the crystal business into a different market.
In 1935, Swarovski's son Wilhelm created a customized pair of binoculars, which led to the launch of Swarovski Optik 14 years later. Swarovski Optik manufactures optical instruments such as binoculars, spotting scopes, rifle scopes and telescopes.
In 1977, Swarovski entered the jewellery market in the United States.
Nadja Swarovski, the founder's great-great granddaughter, became the first female member of the Swarovski executive board in 2012.
All sculptures are marked with a logo. The original edelweiss flower Swarovski logo was replaced by an S.A.L. logo, which was replaced with the swan logo in 1988.
Crystal glass is produced by melting a mixture of quartz sand, minium, potash and soda at high temperatures. To create crystal glass that lets light refract in a rainbow spectrum, Swarovski coats some of its products with special metallic chemical coatings. For example, Aurora Borealis, or "AB", gives the surface a rainbow appearance. Other coatings are named by the company, including Crystal Transmission, Volcano, Aurum, Shimmer, and Dorado. Coatings may be applied to only part of an object; others are coated twice, and thus are designated AB 2X, Dorado 2X, etc.
In 2004 Swarovski released Xilion, a copyrighted cut designed to optimise the brilliance of Roses (components with flat backs) and Chatons (diamond cut).
The Swarovski Group includes Tyrolit (makers of abrasive and cutting tools); Swareflex (reflective and luminous road markings); Swarovski Gemstones (synthetic and natural gemstones); and Swarovski Optik (optical instruments such as binoculars and rifle scopes).
Since 2006, the Royal Canadian Mint has issued collectors' coins with Swarovski crystal components. The 2006 crystal snowflake coin was gold (face value $300), with the reverse having six lens-shaped iridescent crystals on a snowflake. Subsequent years' crystal snowflake coins have been $20 silver coins featuring different coloured crystals. In 2018, the Canadian mint issued twelve different birthstone coins, each with a different Swarovski crystal. The Canadian mint's 12-coin 2019 zodiac series will feature 20 Swarovski crystals on each coin.
In 2014, Tristan da Cunha issued a five crown Christmas coin where the reverse has a small Swarovski crystal set in the guiding star behind a colour picture of one of the magi.
In 2018, Equatorial Guinea issued a silver coin with a black Swarovski crystal skull element.
Exhibitions and museum
The company runs a crystal-themed museum, Swarovski Kristallwelten (Crystal Worlds) at its original Wattens site (near Innsbruck, Austria). The Crystal Worlds Centre is fronted by a grass-covered head, the mouth of which is a fountain.
- Atelier Swarovski
- Atelier Swarovski collaborates with major luxury designers to create jewellery collections as well as architecture and home pieces (as part of the Atelier Swarovski Home department).
- Viktor and Rolf, Jean-Paul Gaultier, Fredrikson Stallard, Zaha Hadid, John Pawson, Daniel Libeskind, Prince Dimitri, Karl Lagerfeld, Christopher Kane, Mary Katranzou, Iris Apfel, Stephen Webster, Anna della Russo and Jason Wu have each designed collections for Atelier Swarovski.
- Penelope Cruz is the current global brand ambassador for Atelier Swarovski.
Chamilia creates exclusive beads, charms and jewellery, many with sparkling crystal details.
- A crystal chandelier manufacturer.
- A road safety products specialist.
- Crystal-based animal and other figurines, ornaments and fashion accessories.
- Swarovski Crystal Palace
- Avant-garde lighting and design (chandeliers etc.)
- Swarovski Gemstone Business
- Gemstone designs.
- Swarovski Kristallwelten
- Museum, Art and Entertainment.
- Swarovski Lighting
- Finished lighting products and solutions with crystal for architecture.
- Swarovski Optik
- Swarovski Professional
- Crystal elements produced by Swarovski
- Touchstone Crystal
- Swarovski's direct sales company for ready-made jewellery
- A manufacturer of bonded grinding and cut-off wheels.
In 2007 Swarovski formed a partnership with electronics giant Philips to produce the "Active-Crystals" consumer electronics range. This includes six USB Memory keys and four in-ear headphones, and in 2008 they included Bluetooth wireless earpieces for the brand, all with some form of Swarovski crystal on them as decoration.
Figurines and collectibles
Swarovski's figurines are collectible, with a stylised mouse being the very first figurine created. A smaller version of this mouse, now labelled the "replica mouse", is still sold. Swarovski Elements crystals were included in some collectible silver coins issued by the Royal Canadian Mint in 2009.
In November 2014, Victoria's Secret revealed its re-design of the Heavenly Luxe perfume bottle with Swarovski crystals.
Sponsorship and crystal product placement
Swarovski's Communications and Branding Business has successfully placed Swarovski crystal in a number of films, theatre productions and fashion shows over the last hundred years.
Swarovski crystal has been featured in the following films:
- James Cameron's 1997 blockbuster Titanic;
- Baz Luhrman's 2001 film Moulin Rouge;
- the 2002 spy film James Bond: Die Another Day features a scene in which Pierce Brosnan and Halle Berry lie on a bed of 'diamonds' which are in fact Swarovski crystal;
- the 2004 film The Phantom of the Opera, in which the "standing model" of the chandelier was composed of Swarovski crystals;
- the 2009 documentary film This Is It showed Michael Jackson rehearsing for a concert tour, featuring costumes covered in Swarovski crystals;
- Natalie Portman's 2010 vehicle Black Swan;
- the 2012 James Bond installment Skyfall, in which designer Stephen Webster used over 60,000 Swarvoski crystals to adorn the Bond girl Severine;
- the British 2015 film A Royal Night Out featured costume jewellery made with Swarovski jewellery;
- the 2017 film The Greatest Showman starring Hugh Jackman;
- the 2017 film Beauty and the Beast starring Emma Watson;
- the 2018 film Bohemian Rhapsody (featured in the crown worn by Rami Malek's Freddy Mercury); and
- in the costumes featured in the 2019 film Rocketman.
All the jewellery from Gentlemen Prefer Blondes starring Marilyn Monroe were Swarovski crystal. Additionally, the tiara worn by Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany's was adorned in Swarovski crystal.
The 2018 production of Dreamgirls incorporated one million Swarovski crystals into the production, adorning 275 costumes and 3 crystal curtains.
Swarovski has worked with Victoria's Secret and their Fashion Show for 15 years. For the 2018 Fashion Show, Victoria Secret model Elsa Hosk wore a Fantasy Bra featuring over one million dollars' worth of Swarovski crystal.
In 2017, Swarovski commissioned a $60,000 Art Deco-styled dress in the style of her famous "nude dress", from Berlin-based fashion tech company ElektroCouture to honor Marlene Dietrich 25 years after her death. It contains 2,000 crystals in addition to 150 LED lights. ElektroCouture owner Lisa Lang said that the dress was inspired by electrical diagrams and correspondence that took place between the actress and fashion designer Jean Louis in 1958. "She wanted a dress that glows, she wanted to be able to control it herself from the stage and she knew she could have died of an electric stroke had it ever been realized." The dress created by Lang's company was featured in French-German broadcaster Arte’s documentary “Das letzte Kleid der Marlene Dietrich” ("The Last Dress of Marlene Dietrich").
Swarovski actively collaborates with high-profile fashion designers for numerous Fashion Weeks taking place around the world. For London Fashion Week in 2018, Swarovski collaborated with the House of Holland, Mary Katrantzou and Richard Quinn. For New York Fashion Week in 2018, Swarovski collaborated with Jason Wu, Alexander Wang, Brandon Maxwell, Gabriela Hearst and Rosie Assoulin.
Since 2004, Swarovski has provided the 9-foot-diameter (2.7 m), 550-pound (250 kg) star or snowflake that tops the Rockefeller Centre Christmas Tree in New York City. Smaller versions of this are sold as Annual Edition ornaments.
In 2018, Celebrity Chef Nadiya Hussain, TV personality Katie Piper, and CoppaFeel founder Kris Hallenga, were announced as Swarovski's latest ambassadors, and starred in the brand's ongoing #BrillianceforAll campaign.
Swarovski annually hosts the Designers of the Future Award in recognition of young and up-and-coming designers. The previous winners of the Swarovski Designers of the Future Award include influential designers and architects: Ross Lovegrove, Greg Lynn, Troika, Fredrikson Stallard, Erwin Redl, Eyal Burstein, Asif Khan, Guilherme Torres, Jeanne Gang and Mexico City-based global architecture and design practice Fernando Romero Enterprise (FR-EE). The 2018 winners were Frank Kolkman, an experimental Dutch designer focused on robotic technologies; Study O Portable, a research based Dutch-Japanese practice making objects about the designed environment, and Yosuke Ushigome of TAKRAM, a creative Japanese technologist specialising in emerging technologies.
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