7 Fun Facts about Crystals

I am a lover of factoids. Some people don’t appreciate this. They shake their heads and call me a Know-It-All. But I just can’t help it. I love knowing the details about life and sharing them profusely in an extremely nerdy way. I’ll admit, I’m horrible at some facts, like phone numbers and names. But the fact that the dung beetle can roll 50 times its weight in manure? Etched in my brain forever.

So, when I was invited to be a Create-Your-Style Ambassador for Swarovski, I channeled my inner Cliff Clavin (the fact-loving postman on the TV show Cheers), dove in, and did some research about crystals and their history. Here are some facts I’d love to share:

1: George Ravenscroft is attributed as the first to make leaded crystal glass in 1674.

2: Daniel Swarovski introduced his crystal-cutting machine in 1892. His invention made mass production of crisp, sparkling crystals possible, allowing everyday women to own costume jewelry that resembled precious stones.

3: Crystal is made up of the same stuff that regular glass is made of, such as silica, soda, and lime, but the addition of lead oxide is what gives crystals their kick. Light reflects off these particles, giving a dazzle that just doesn’t happen with regular glass.

4: Lead oxide is lead, so you probably don’t want to store your crystals in your mouth for months at a time, but they are perfectly safe to wear.

     5: Fire-polished glass has some lead oxide added, but not as much as we see in leaded crystal. 
 6: A bead has to have 24% lead oxide added to qualify as leaded crystal, but fine crystals, for instance, contain 32%. So yes, the higher the lead oxide content in a component, the more sparkly it is.
7: A current manufacturer’s catalog weighs 5 lbs 4 oz. (Yes, I just weighed it!) Crystal beads, stones, pendants, and pearls only make up 6 chapters of the 20.

You can find great crystal jewelry designs in Best of Stringing Crystals, a downloadable eBook that features 12 beautiful projects just dripping with great ideas for incorporating crystals into your jewelry designs. 

Are you a fact lover like me? What other facts do you know about crystals? Please share them on Beading Daily.

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About jeancampbell

Jean Campbell is the founding editor (and currently the senior editor) of Beadwork magazine and has written and edited more than 45 beading books. She has written for Beading Daily and has appeared on the DIY Jewelry Making show, The Shay Pendray Show, and PBS' Beads, Baubles, and Jewels where she gives how-to instructions, provides inspiration, and lends crafting advice. Jean teaches jewelry-making workshops throughout the United States and calls Minneapolis home.

7 thoughts on “7 Fun Facts about Crystals

  1. Hi Jean,
    I loved your facts about crystals – some stuff I knew, some facts were new. Several years ago when we did some traveling, my husband and I toured the Swarovski headquarters in Austria – talk about some amazing crystals and objects made from crystal WOW. I am new to Beading Daily and love what I have seen so far.

    Ricki Ayer
    Ayer Baubles
    Cincinnati OH

  2. I’d be much more likely to buy this if there were pictures of the projects and if the blurb about the ebook didn’t say it was pearl projects. Pictures???

  3. I also love facts and tidbits about beads, bead making, the history of certain designs and their meaning (evil eye, hamsa)! It’s nice to be able to talk to a customer and give them some information, eve if it is trivia, when you discuss a piece of jewelry. I think it makes that piece much more individual and personal! Thanks for a great list about crystals.

  4. When I was a child, I use to hunt for REAL Quartz Crystals in South Carolina, on the side of the road by my Mother’s Friend’s house. How about some real facts about real crystals?