Have you ever heard of Swarovski crystal? If you have seen them, you know they are just gorgeous! However, you may have also seen the prices. The question is – what are you getting for the money?
Crystal is glass with lead oxide bonded to the structure. Lead is what gives crystal its weight and sparkle. The more lead, the more light and colors will be reflected. It is what gives crystal its “ooh, that’s so pretty” quality! For glass to be considered crystal it must contain at least 7% lead oxide. Truly good quality crystal contains 24% lead oxide.
Swarovski manufactures its crystals to contain 30% lead oxide, meaning that it is a supreme quality crystal. So when you purchase jewelry made from Swarovski crystals, you know you are getting quality for the money. The Chinese have come out with a crystal as well, however they do not have the regulations to provide how much lead oxide they use. Due to the low price point it must be a low percentage. Even though the sparkle is not as impressive as Swarovski, they are still beautiful crystals and beads. I use both Swarovski and Chinese crystals. I will ALWAYS tell you when I use Swarovski in the description of each piece.