I have had a passion for things that sparkle since I was a competitive figure skater, many years ago. I can remember the beautiful costumes that sparkled so brilliantly under the artificial lighting in the rink. Once rare, this type of adornment is seen everywhere today from the rink to the Runway. Swarovski crystals beam like no other rhinestones out there and rhinestone embellished apparel sparkles more than ever. Through the years, people have asked me many questions about my clothing. One of the big questions is “why does your clothing sparkle so brilliantly?” My response is, of course, that I use genuine Swarovski crystals. There are several types of rhinestones available. “Austrian” cut-crystal rhinestones are from Swarovski and they set the standard against which all other rhinestones are judged. They are the leaders by far for cut, clarity, color, and brilliance. The crystals are fired using a combination of natural minerals and quartz sand, and then cooled slowly to avoid inclusions. The Swarovski hot fix crystals have special glue affixed to the back of the crystals, allowing the crystals to adhere to fabric upon heating. Swarovski crystals contain 12 to 14 facets (smooth surface cut) compared to the Czech stones (8 facets.) Other rhinestones are machine pressed (molded) and not cut at all. The last type of rhinestones is readily used because they are the least expensive. They are the stones typically found on clothing found in many clothing stores and discount department stores. Because they are so inexpensive, the apparel can be mass-produced for these stores and sold for a nominal fee. Make no mistake about it; there is a HUGE difference in what I like to call “the sparkle factor” between these stones and Swarovski’s crystals. The reason being is that many of these rhinestones are not stones, at all. They are made from molded plastic (acrylic rhinestones.) Because acrylic does not transmit light like crystal, they do not sparkle like the real thing. Clearly, Swarovski embellished clothing is the way to go if you are looking for high quality clothing that will last for a very long time. The stones stay affixed to the clothing and the sparkle factor never disappears. True, Swarovski crystals are more expensive than most, but as the saying goes, “you get what you pay for.” Swarovski embellished clothing is here to stay!