Sunday, September 6, 2009

Crystal clear?


As I look at the stash of crystal necklaces and bracelets I purchased at the flea market last week, they are anything but clear...they refract, reflect, rekindle the light around them.
Yet, a crystal ball is clear...
maybe because it really cannot reflect the future? Or, as economist Edgar R. Fiedler says, "He who lives by the crystal ball soon learns to eat ground glass." Bet there are many Wall Street bankers eating peanut butter and glass these days!

But, back to my stash...crystal is glass mixed with lead. It was discovered in the late 1600's by George Ravenscroft after much trial and error, discovering that lead added to glass made it stronger, harder, and more malleable. Lead crystal is also known in home decor for glassware.

Crystals were made by hand at first, but, in 1892, Daniel Swarovski, an Austrian glass cutter, designed a machine to cut facets perfectly just like diamonds. This enabled designers to create uniform jewelery. Now computers are used to calculate statistics for the factors that give the beads their beauty.

According to my research, the amount of lead added ranges from 10% for fine crystal to 25% for leaded crystal. Swarovski mixes almost 34% - making it the heaviest crystal bead. A couple of medium sized crystal beads of Swarovski can often weigh almost one gram. So, the easiest way to identify a genuine crystal bead would be to weigh it and the real crystal beads are sure to be heavier than the fakes.

Dyes or chemicals are added to glass to give crystal its colors and there are beautiful color palettes which make crystal beads look just like real gemstones. Again, Swarovski scores here, having replicated many gemstone looks.

This necklace is unique because it is strung on fine chain...

I love the iridescent quality in this one...


The blues here...




A ruby bracelet is sweet...













So, crystals are not clear, and, as Oliver Wendell Holmes said, "A word is not a crystal, transparent and unchanged; it is the skin of a living thought and may vary greatly in color and content according to the circumstances and time in which it is used." So it is for this stash of jewelry...may it be worn in good circumstances and good times!

5 comments:

Brenda @Just a Bed of Roses said...

what a great topic, I plus the customers love crystal jewelry, mostly the vintage stuff...so perfect for this time of year... shabby witches, teen dances etc.

I am putting your blogspot back on...I accidentally erased the whole load last week...computers and myself,the mentally challenged who use them!

Michelle (Shell) May said...

The piece strung on that fine chain is my favorite. I love it.
bunny hugs,
shell

Patricia said...

that brought back memories. I remember my Mom having a triple strand crystal necklace that we used to play Princess with! Interesting about the lead content in these, now I know why Svorski crystals can't be used on children's items!

Pat
Patricia Rose-A Potpourri of Fabric, Fragrance and Findings
www.patriciarose-apotpourri.com
www.patriciarose-apotpourriof.blogspot.com

gail said...

OMG Susan,,, you made my day. I laughed so hard at your post. That was priceless. I will remember this valuable advice!
I love sparkly crystals. Me like shiny!!! lol
Have a great week, (()) gail

ann at greenoak said...

the red is lovely....andi never saw one on a chain either.....ann