Know Your Vintage

 

Swarovski and the Rainbow Stone

Any woman would love to sparkle like the crystals of the snow, and in vintage jewelry that is precisely what Aurora Borealis does. This type of crystal is a man made rhinestone, which as stated in Warman’s Vintage Jewelry Guide, is a simulated gemstone that has been given a foil or metallic backing to enhance its brilliance.

Daniel Swarovski

Daniel Swarovski

Though the rhinestone has existed for years it was “revolutionized” by Swarovski in the 19th century. With a glass cutting machine crystals could now be produced at a much higher rate and with 32% lead count they were incomparable.

Aurora Borealis50s stretch bracelet from Costumetreasures.com

Aurora Borealis 50s stretch bracelet from Costumetreasures.com

To raise the company to even further heights, Swarovski partnered with Dior and created the new crystal with iridescent, blue metal coating. It was called the Rainbow Stone, or the Aurora Borealis, and was perfected and marketed in 1955 as found of Dr. Lori’s Website, a certified antique appraiser.

swarovski bracelt on ebay trifari alfred philippe 1961 $799

Swarovski bracelet on ebay Trifari Alfred Philippe 1961 $799

It was an immense success and put them at the top for crystal suppliers. Opera stars as well as some of the most prestigious rich and royals in Europe wore these “Aurora Borealis” stones. Initially being very expensive only the rich could afford them. Eventually they dwindled down, as stated in the Vintage Jewelry Lane website, to the lower quality jewelry for companies like Corocraft and then eventually plastic.

vintage-bib necklace from Joanjewelry.com $30 rhinestone bib necklace

vintage-bib necklace from Joanjewelry.com $30 rhinestone bib necklace

Unfortunately this type of jewelry is often miss-dated by sellers and collectors, claiming to be from the 30s or 40s. Though the rhinestone has existed for millennia the Aurora Borealis has only existed post 1955. Vintage Jewelry Lane as well as several Ebay guides, like that of seller fant-impromptu-iv, recommend that collectors be wary of these jewels and know that unless the jewelry has Aurora Borealis replacement stones it was made post 1955.

 

Sources:

“AURORA BOREALIS Jewelry: How Old Is That Really??? : EBay Guides.” EBay Guides. N.p., 2010. Web. 23 Nov. 2012. <http://reviews.ebay.com/AURORA-BOREALIS-Jewelry-How-old-is-that-really?ugid=10000000000726267&gt;.

Hart, Lori. “Swarovski Crystal – History, Fashion, and Value by Art Historian Dr. Lori.” Swarovski Crystal – History, Fashion, and Value by Art Historian Dr. Lori. Masterpiece Technologies Inc., n.d. Web. 23 Nov. 2012. <http://www.drloriv.com/appraisals/swarovski.asp&gt;.

Leshner, L., Warman’s Vintage Jewelry, Krause Publications, 2008, Ioloa, WI.

Speake, Carol. “Magento Commerce.” AB Rhinestone Information. Vintage Jewelry Lane, 2009. Web. 29 Nov. 2012. <http://vintagejewelrylane.com/information/auroraborealisinfo.htm&gt;.

 

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