Monday, December 25, 2006

Crystal Beads by IvorysArts

Jewelry Terminology

By Julia Bryan of Ivory's Arts

The EJA Gallery:

Crystal Beads and Components

In my inaugural weekly column about jewelry terminology, I'm going to talk about crystals, more specifically Swarovski full-lead crystals, also known as Austrian crystals, as they are considered the premiere manufacturer of leaded crystals worldwide. Many of the terms used will also apply to other crystal brands, so they will have a broader range of application than just one brand or type of crystal.

First of all, Swarovski produces an incredible array of colors; some, but not all, are produced in a regular color and a light color (amethyst and light amethyst, for example). However, the range of colors is broadened considerably when finishes and effects are added. This is one of the first distinctions that many people are unaware of. A finish is applied over a clear or colored crystal, while an effect involves elements added to the crystal during manufacture to create an altered color shift. These are differentiated in the crystal name, if the name begins with the word Crystal, it is usually an effect (Crystal Silver Shade, Crystal Moonlight, and Crystal Vitrail Light are examples). If the crystal has a coating, it is added to the color; Amethyst AB, Emerald AB2X and Jet Dorado are examples. However, there can be some confusion, for instance Crystal AB is a coating, not an effect. And Satin is treated like a coating but is actually a more color-saturated crystal which is created during manufacture of the crystal (like other effects), rather than applying a coating afterward.

Next week I'll cover the different coatings and effects, and provide illustrations for those crystals I happen to have on hand.

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