We spend a lot of time pondering things that bling – so here’a a few things you may not know about the world famous crystal makers:
1) Founded in 1895 (the same year Babe Ruth was born, if you care) and originally named A. Kosmann, Daniel Swartz & Co.
2) At their headquarters in Wattens, Austria, they operate an indoor theme park called Crystal Worlds. Guests enter through a large crystal head and are shown all things crystal. Currently rated a 3.5 (out of 5) stars on Trip Advisor – not a glittering endorsement.
3) Manufacturing techniques are highly secret. It is rumored that employees working at Wattens are familiar with only their particular area of the factory – no one other than a few family members have knowledge of the entire crystal forming and cutting process. Think Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory without the chocolate river.
4) Swarovski is currently building a 15,000 sq. meter production facility in Serbia – and for the first time, will no longer produce 100% of their crystal in Austria.
5) In 1956, Swarovski partnered with Christian Dior to create the Aurora Burealis coating, an iridescent effect applied to many crystal components still used today.
6) 2011 sales: $3.83 billion. The company is privately held so public financial records are sketchy but still, that’s a lot of cut glass.
7) They also make decorative lighting, road safety products and yes, rifle scopes.
The biggest misconception is that Swarovski crystal is mined (like a precious metal or gemstone). Someone once told me that Austria “sits on a big crystal rock” which is a really dumb thing to say for a number of reasons.
Anyway, now you know what you’re wearing – those beads have some history to them.