The Future of Swarovski and Crystals for Jewelry-Making

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Swarovski, renowned for its crystal craftsmanship, is undergoing a significant business reorganization, hinting at the elimination of crystal beads and components. Facing challenges from competitors and a complex distribution system, the restructuring aims to focus on premium markets. The details remain undisclosed, causing uncertainty. In response, PotomacBeads advocates exploring alternatives like Potomac Crystals, offering affordability and quality matching Swarovski's. The blog anticipates Swarovski's potential reduction in crystal variety, emphasizing Potomac Crystals' commitment to expanding styles and colors. The evolving crystal market encourages considering alternatives amidst Swarovski's transformative phase.

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Variety of Potomac Crystals
Swarovski, renowned for its crystal craftsmanship, is undergoing a significant business reorganization, hinting at the elimination of crystal beads and components. Facing challenges from competitors and a complex distribution system, the restructuring aims to focus on premium markets. The details remain undisclosed, causing uncertainty. In response, PotomacBeads advocates exploring alternatives like Potomac Crystals, offering affordability and quality matching Swarovski's. The blog anticipates Swarovski's potential reduction in crystal variety, emphasizing Potomac Crystals' commitment to expanding styles and colors. The evolving crystal market encourages considering alternatives amidst Swarovski's transformative phase.

Rumors have abounded in recent weeks about the potential elimination of many Swarovski Crystals, colors, or product lines. Manufactured in Austria since 1895, the Swarovski name has become symbolic for beautifully crafted, high-end crystal elements.

Over the past 125 years, the Swarovski Group has grown from producing just leaded-glass crystals (in 2012, the company ceased using lead in its production) and has expanded into various other markets. These include lighting and chandeliers, optics (binoculars and scopes), museum art, jewelry, road safety products, retail stores, and direct-to-consumer high-end jewelry.

Green Potomac Crystal Round Beads

Swarovski Crystal Round Beads Shape #5001

WHAT IS HAPPENING TO SWAROVSKI IN 2021?

A Bloomberg article from August 25, 2020, cites significant changes in the Swarovski Group as they go through a total business re-organization. From Swarovski’s perspective, these measures will allow the company to focus on its premium and more profitable markets.

Currently, Swarovski struggles with the relics of its tiered distribution system while facing competition from direct-to-consumer competitors. This multi-layered system of distributors costs more to maintain – which drives up the end price to the consumer – while also allowing many non-premium players to cloud Swarovski’s brand.

The restructuring of Swarovski will take several years, and many details have yet to be disclosed. However, various international distributors in the bead markets have cited announcements directly from the company.

The announcements indicate a significant reduction in the distribution and production of crystal beads and components. At a minimum, Swarovski will likely limit the scope of its crystal distribution through current channels

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR ME?

At PotomacBeads, we don’t know what will happen to Swarovski crystals and Swarovski elements in the coming years. Industry insiders have been predicting a significant change in Swarovski’s business model for several years. For that reason, we have chosen to invest in alternative lines of crystals for beading and jewelry-making.

Variety of Potomac Crystals in Golds and Bluess

Chantilly Lace Pendant with Potomac Crystals

SWAROVSKI ALTERNATIVES IN 2021

Swarovski has had global rivals in crystal production for many years. Today, that competition comes from crystal manufacturers in the Czech Republic, China, United States, Egypt, and more. So which crystal brands and Swarovski alternatives should you be investigating in 2021?

POTOMAC CRYSTAL

PotomacBeads began producing Potomac Crystals as an affordable yet premium alternative to the high Swarovski component prices. Each Potomac Crystal shape’s dimensions perfectly match jewelry-making patterns that call for Swarovski crystals.

Potomac Crystals come in dozens of different Potomac Crystal shapes and sizes and produced hundreds of free jewelry-making tutorials using top-rated Potomac Crystals.

If you love crystal bicones, round beads, rondelles, Rivoli, ovals, drops, cylinders, or cushions, then you will love Potomac Crystals.

Rainbow shades of crystal bicones

Potomac Crystal Bicones 6mm

While the future of popular crystal shapes like Swarovski Bicones and Rounds seems to be murky, our goal is to continually produce more Potomac Crystal styles and colors for you each year. As Swarovski potentially phases out some of their shapes and color selection, Potomac Crystals will add more.

Already, you can find a growing number of new Potomac Crystal colors in the most popular crystal shapes — Bicones (Shape #5328), Round Beads (Shape #5000), and Rondelle Beads (Shape #5040).

tubes of blue crystal rounds

Potomac Crystal Rounds in various sizes with the New Creation Bracelet

CURRENTLY AVAILABLE POTOMAC CRYSTALS

Sizes:

14mm

8x25mm, 10x30mm, 5x10mm, 5x15mm

3mm, 4mm, 6mm, 8mm

5x8mm, 6x12mm

14mm

3mm, 5.4mm, 8mm (more coming soon)

8mm, 14mm, 20mm

14mm

2mm, 3mm, 4mm, 6mm

12mm & 18mm

2.5x4mm

6mm, 8mm

27mm

4mm, 5mm

9x14mm

10mm, 14mm

4mm, 6mm

4x8mm

19x12mm

Various

5x15mm, 9x27mm

5x10mm, 4x15mm, 13x27mm, 18x32mm

3x5mm

13x18mm, 18x25mm, 20x30mm

13x18mm, 18x25mm

13x18mm

8mm, 10mm, 12mm, 14mm, 18mm

1.5x2mm, 2x3mm, 3x4mm

2mm, 3mm, 4mm

14mm

13x18mm

8mm

3x5mm, 6x8mm

18x20mm

18mm, 23mm

12mm

Swarovski Shape #:

5752

4547

5328

6010

1088

4139

4439

5601

4470

5005

1201

2088

6656

5741

5020

4230

Various

4161

4228

4120

4320

4627

1122

5040

5000

4447

4527

5500

4933

4727

Potomac Crystal Shapes 2020

collection of potomac crystal rectanglescs

Potomac Crystal Step Rectangles 13x18mm

PRECIOSA CRYSTAL

Preciosa crystals have been produced for many years and have been a leading competitor of Swarovski. Like Potomac Crystal, Preciosa crystals offer a very high-quality glass while also representing a lower price point to consumers.

Unfortunately, Preciosa doesn’t offer anywhere near the same variety of shapes and cuts. Some of Preciosa’s products, like the rivoli, also differ ever so slightly in size. This can sometimes mean modifying patterns to accommodate those differences. Also, Preciosa offers fewer base crystal colors than Swarovski, but they do offer hundreds of varieties of colors, including many vacuum coatings.

colorful preciosa chatons

Preciosa Chatons

CHINESE CRYSTAL

There are several Chinese factories producing crystals in a wide range of quality. The crystals’ caliber can vary significantly from substandard and seriously flawed crystals to a quality steadily approaching high-end, famous crystal makers like Swarovski. Since a majority of Chinese crystals are manufactured for mass markets, like chain craft and big-box stores, they tend to be the lowest quality and usually come with significant flaws. So, if you choose to use mass-market Chinese crystals, be careful! You never quite know what quality you will get, and they can take months to arrive, barring they don’t get lost in transit!

The higher-end Chinese crystals are generally sold through private companies who travel to Asia to scour the country for the best quality and develop a personal relationship with makers. Developing personal relationships with the factories cuts out the middleman – which means lower prices for you and ensures the highest quality.

LOOKING TO 2021 & BEYOND

In conclusion, which crystals will you be using in the future? It’s hard to tell with the ever-evolving jewelry-making market. Hopefully, all Swarovski crystal shapes & cuts will not be disappearing forever. Still, we want to prepare you with information that can help you make an informed choice on alternative crystals for your creations.

We are here to support you and your designs, help you grow creatively, and keep you well stocked with all things beads and jewelry-making in the ever-changing world.