The magic of Swarovski crystals


Their use as cheap diamond substitutes by showy rich people belies the world of beauty found in lead glass—and a versatility you might not expect.

Dan Nosowitz reports on Swaroski's "dark crystal."

The improbably successful Austrian crystal manufacturer is the epitome of shopping mall luxury. It sounds foreign, exclusive, precious. Yet you can buy a pair of Swarovski earrings from Amazon for $17.60. The same total carat weight in diamonds, in a very similar setting, would cost you somewhere north of $5,000, depending on quality and provenance.
Swarovski makes glass and yet the company has managed to create for itself a brand that carries weight in the luxury world, something no other manufacturer of non-gems has ever even tried. How in the world did that happen?

Pictured above is the $640 Trumpet Triton, the least tasteless figurine on Swarovski's website.