Brides, helpful hints on how to tell if you are purchasing genuine Swarovski crystals or Fakes in your wedding day jewelry and hair accessories?

by Judith Cartier Oliver on May 15, 2009

I have been creating wedding day jewelry for 16 years and have always used genuine Swarovski crystals in my bridal jewelry designs due to the exquisite quality and brilliance of the crystals. I was asked the other day about how can you tell if your Swarovski bridal jewelry is real or fake.  Certainly since I have been working with Swarovski crystal for so long, I can easily tell the difference between real and fake Swarovski crystals. I invested in purchasing Swarovski crystals which I consider the best crystal in the world for my wedding jewelry line. I wanted to create a bridal jewelry collection that would last and retain its sparkle. Although Swarovski crystal is much more expensive than other crystals available, trust me the investment is worthwhile to have in your wedding day jewelry and your everyday jewelry.

When I first started using Swarovski crystal in the early 1990’s I have to admit that the crystal was not so known by customers and so I educated them about Swarovski crystals over the years. The reality is that I had vintage Swarovski crystal necklaces handed down from my grandmothers that I fell in love with and was amazed they looked like brand new crystals 40 plus years later. Once I started creating with Swarovski crystals the ideas were endless and I used them as accents to bring in light and sparkle to my wedding day jewelry designs.  For over 15 years my Looney Maiden Bridal and Bridesmaid jewelry collections continue to have an excellent reputation as high quality jewelry so I certainly do not want to be in the position of having fake crystals in my jewelry. Since I handcraft each piece of my custom bridal and bridesmaid jewelry , I am literally hands on with the creative process and can immediately spot fake crystals. In general I purchase most of my Swarovski crystals in the Swarovski sealed packages so I do not have to worry and I have been doing this for a long time so I better know how to spot them!

So, how to tell whether crystals are genuine Swarovski or fakes? After all you are paying for the highest quality crystals. As a bridal jewelry designer I have Swarovski crystal suppliers that I have had a close working relationship with for over 15 years and can say I have never received “fakes”.  I still look very closely at my crystals as I hear stories form other designers who have received fakes and may notice immediately or not until a later time when they start seeing the inconsistency of the sizes and shapes in their finished designs.  I have definitely seen what I consider fakes at some public and wholesale bead shows in past years and therefore that is why I purchase directly from my trusted suppliers.  I stand behind each piece of jewelry so my customers are guaranteed not to receive fake crystal. Most of the crystal I purchase comes in sealed Crystallized Swarovski sealed packets so I receive the genuine article.  I must add that there is nothing more pleasurable than opening one of those sealed packets and see 1440 pieces of Swarovski crystal sparkling. They almost look like candy! So back to my point, it is very important to me that I am creating all of my wedding jewelry and hair accessories in genuine Swarovski crystals as I know that the “fake” crystals will dull quickly and lose their brilliance sometimes within wearing it just a few times.  Not only will there be inconsistencies of shape and cuts, the color can be slightly off from original Swarovski crystal colors.   Since I specialize in color matching, I certainly can not have two different color lots.  Swarovski rarely changes their colors.  One of the selling points of Swarovski is that you should be able to purchase the same crystal color from different decades and have them match.

Ok, so are you ready? Here are some basics that can help you distinguish between real Swarovski crystal and fake crystals.  I do want to preface this article that if you receive fake crystals in your jewelry, that the manufacturer of your jewelry may not even know so do give benefit of the doubt. This article is more about being able to recognize genuine crystals so you can be an informed shopper.  I can be a crazy detailed perfectionist that I am constantly examining all of my jewelry making supplies from crystals to pearls and my sterling silver to make sure the quality is constant so that I can feel confident that I am creating the perfect quality wedding day jewelry.

First of all, Swarovski crystals are known for being created to be perfectly uniform in their shape, size and their facets.  You can easily look at the crystal even with out a magnifying glass although you might want to use one and see they look perfect! The glass substitutes will have the same shape, maybe even a similar size but the facet cuts on the bicone crystal will not be perfectly uniform nor line up at a single point.  There will also be a tendency for the crystals to look lopsided with their cuts where one end is very pointed and the other end almost flattened.

Sizing should be perfect with same size and shape. If the size of the crystals vary in size or shape then the likelihood is that these crystals are fakes. Genuine Swarovski crystals will line up perfectly on each end. Your crystal should not have different shapes on each side meaning one side appears to be longer than the other. If you see this then there is a high probability you may have fake Swarovski crystals. You should be able to line up your loose crystals and not see any discrepancy.

Look for bubbles inside the crystals.  If you see bubbles then your crystal is not Swarovski and is glass.  Swarovski crystal is pardon the pun “crystal clear”. You should be able to see through it without any bubbles or marks. Think of your drinking glasses. There are glasses we have that have bubbles in them and they are everyday glasses. Then think of your crystal glasses which unless they were seconds will not have one single bubble in them and be exquisitely clear.

Swarovski crystals will definitely weigh more than fake glass crystals however if you are receiving already made jewelry items this can be a little harder to tell.  I can actually tap my fingernail on the crystal beads and the feel of this will tell me if it is real or not. Just don’t bite them!  The crystals can scratch and break. I find the glass crystals almost feel like they are plastic or acrylic.

Swarovski has an Aurora Boreale (AB) coating they use which gives a beautiful rainbow effect on the one end and outside of the bicone crystals beads. The fakes will show a less uniform coating and may show small scratches in the coating.  The AB effect should not be on the inside of the crystal or only partially covering the crystal bead.

Colors should always be uniform and Swarovski offers an amazing selection of colors. Swarovski standards are set high to produce the exact same color each time.  Every so often Swarovski will slightly alter a color however they notify all of their suppliers of this. I have seen this maybe a couple times over the years where the formula may have been altered. The whole idea is you should be able to order that Light Sapphire crystal to match your Light Sapphire crystals from 20 years ago and have them match.

Luster and brilliance has always been the Swarovski trademark.  I call it a shimmery sparkle. Once you become addicted to Swarovski crystal, you will not only see the exquisite brilliance of sparkle but you may never purchase any other type of crystal again. 

One last interesting piece of information, the beautiful holographic Swarovski Swan Seal can only be marked on jewelry that is purchased directly form the Swarovski Crystal company itself. 

I hope this article has been helpful.  This article is meant to assist you in identifying fake Swarovski crystals so you can be an informed consumer and distinguish the difference in your wedding day jewelry and accessories. Investing in Swarovski crystal jewelry can be exciting and make a wonderfully keepsake. I have customers from my beginning days who are still wearing their beautiful Swarovski crystal jewelry and loving their jewelry pieces. I love that they continue to receive such pleasure with their crystal jewelry and that it still looks brand new 10to 15 years later.  Let’s just say, I know I will be using genuine Swarovski crystals forever and ever in my bridal jewelry designs.  You would just have to see my walk in closet of crystal jewelry I have! Well it’s not really a walk in closet but I sure could use one!.

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