Since the rise of Fashion Jewelry in the 1950's, many different metals and materials have been used to create original pieces that imitate the style and the quality of fine jewelry. One of the most successful of these materials up to date is the use of crystals in jewelry-making.

Crystal jewelry (jewellery) is a cheap alternative to diamonds, emeralds or other precious and semi-precious stones that sparkles in the light and is very durable to the wear and tear of daily use. Crystals come in any spectrum of colors; red, pink, blue, yellow, green, black and white are among the most common. Crystals don't yet have an international classification that determines their value, but some brands are considered more reputable than others and can cost more. Authentic Swarovski Austrian crystal jewelry is considered by most jewelry-lovers to be the most brilliant and therefore most valuable kind of crystal jewelry on the market.

The level of 'sparkle' in crystal jewelry is determined by how it is cut and also by the amount of lead in the glass. Modern crystal makers like Swarovski, Waterford, Baccarat and Mikasa use lead crystal with up to 35% lead, giving it its highest possible brilliance.

While crystal necklaces, earrings and bracelets are often made using crystal beads in combination with less expensive materials like elastic bands or stainless steel wires, it is not uncommon for them to be used in combination with other semi-precious stones and metals, especially in the creation of artisanal costume or fashion jewellery. Brands like Alcozer & J. combine semi-precious stones and metals like silver, rose gold and brass with crystals to create sparkling handmade earrings, brooches and fashion rings. Many Italian fashion designers like Armani and Alviero Martini incorporate crystals into their collections of Fashion Jewelry to add glamour and sophistication to their looks. Designers like Just Cavalli also use crystals to adorn the bezel of their watches. Antica Murrina creates elegant earrings, rings, bracelets and necklaces in gorgeous Murano glass, using crystal accents to enhance the delicate femininity and the light reflected through their jewelry. (This is extremely appropriate since crystal derives its name from the Venetian use of the word 'cristallo' for the rock crystal that Murano glassmaker originally imitated.)

Crystal tennis bracelets have become extremely popular in recent years, as have crystal tennis necklaces. Pearl and crystal necklaces and hair jewelry are very popular among bridesmaid and bridal jewelry for their clean lines and bright, sparkling colors.

Crystal jewelry has earned its place in the ranks of beautiful Fashion Jewelry for a reason. It is difficult to compete with sparkling necklaces and earrings that are so similar to diamonds and sell for prices cheap enough that you can replace them when lost or when you tire of wearing them. With crystal beads, you can change the look of your favourite outfit with minimal effort and reasonable cost. Besides, what woman doesn't want to sparkle?


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