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Pieces of the Past®
Austrian Crystal Beads Blog

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Unique Swarovski Sizes

Caribbean Blue Opal AB Many of you in the past has requested some of the harder to find sizes and we have created a great way to order those hard to find finishes in the sizes that not everyone carries. From our company website at http://www.piecesofthepast.com you can now special order these and we will immediately add them to our inventory for you. We may not have them all in stock but you, the customer, can now determine what we carry just by placing a special order for these items.

Some of the new sizes include:

  • 10mm - 5000 Rounds
  • 3mm - 5301 Bicones
  • 7mm - 5301 Bicones
  • 10mm - 5301 Bicones
  • 12mm - 5301 Bicones
  • 9mm - 5810 Pearls
  • 10mm - 5810 Pearls
  • 12mm - 5810 Pearls
  • Crystal Copper 5601 Cube 8mmSome of the next sizes to be added in the coming weeks will be the full line of the very hard to get 8mm 5601 Cubes, 12mm 5000 Rounds, and the extremely hard to get 8mm 5020 Helix crystal beads. To see any of these or the ones listed above please visit our company site and click on the category links on the left size or place the size and color in the seach box on our site.

    In addition to the sizes, we have now added two special categories to our company store site, box special (items we have to sell in the full unopened Swarovski packs, and clearance items that we may have a large supply in stock. These will be update as often as possible.

    As always, we are here to serve you and if there is anything we can add to make your shopping with us more productive please let us know and we will do our best to accommodate your request.

    Any questions at all just let us know, we are here to serve you.

    Blue Zircon Satin 5000 RoundsIf you would like to place an order for any of these items you can do so directly from our website at any time and as soon as the order comes in we will place our order with Swarovski. As some of you know, this is not an exact science and arrival times will vary greatly but we have tried to only add items we know are available from Austria without a very long wait. Any time you place an item on backorder you can always check the status of your order at http://www.piecesbeads.com/servlet/Service with your confirmation number.

    We are always adding new articles and up to date Swarovski information so keep checking back.

    Crystal Silver ShadeComing up, we are putting the finishing touches on our next guide, Effects and Finishes Part 2, which will explain in some detail the differences between effects and finishes along with combinations that give a very unique look to the crystal. As soon as the updated guide is completed it will be posted on our blog and on the bead-guide site below.


    Thursday, April 27, 2006

    Swarovski Cosmic Beads

    AQUAMARINE #5523 The new from Swarovski® COSMIC beads are now coming in and we should have a good supply of colors in this new and very unique crystal in the upcoming days. The COSMIC bead comes in two different sizes, a 12mm x 8mm and a larger 18mm x 12mm size and we will have both sizes in stock. A much larger bead than the typical crystal release by Swarovski® (and a little more pricey) but a very beautiful cut and it would look great in a necklace or other piece of crystal jewelry.

    This new bead is hard to describe but it has some similarities in Swarovski® release last summer of the POLYGONS but is much shorter. The cut diagram is listed below as a reference and pictured above is the #5523 in the AQUAMARINE color. Some of the colors being placed on our store are INDICOLITE, JET, LIGHT AMETHYST, CRYSTAL GOLDEN SHADOW (in the 16mm size), and on order are the new CRYSTAL SILVER SHADE, FUCHSIA, OLIVINE, CRYSTAL COPPER and several others so stay tuned.

    #5523 Cut Diagram

    AQUAMARINE #5523 Another new addition to our inventory is not a new release with Swarovski® but it is new with us, the #5500 Drops. This is a bead (meaning it is a drilled through the center crystal) that makes a great spacer or a bead where you want the look of the pendants but not top drilled. We have these in many different colors now on our website and are continuing to add new colors each week.

    Coming soon we will be adding a large selection of colors from the #5200's (a barrell shaped bead) and we are always adding new colors to our existing inventory lines. If we can carry a specific color for you please let us know.

    Friday, April 07, 2006

    Swarovski Finishes, Part 1

    CRYSTAL AB SATIN There are almost an endless supply of great colors and styles from Swarovski®. This is to help explain some of the great finishes Swarovski® makes and some unique things to be looking for when searching for Swarovski® Crystal Beads in different finishes and effects.

    Swarovski® Crystal Bead Finishes & Effects, Part 1

    Swarovski® Crystal produces finishes in three to four different types in large production quantities.  Other finishes and effect will be included in the next posting and are produced in smaller quantities.  The color, or regular finish, the AB, AB-2X, and the SATIN.  There can also be many combinations (as shown in the color above CRYSTAL AB SATIN) and limited production or vintage beads that we will discuss in the next post.

    1. COLOR (regular finish) - these are the crystals most of us are familiar with.  They come in a large variety of colors, sizes, and shapes (or components).  Some popular colors include LIGHT SIAM, PERIDOT, ROSE, and many more.  The regular colors are staples in Swarovski Crystal (also known as Austrian Crystal), and can usually be found on a color chart from your seller.  The color finish beads can be found in the plain color and also a light version but keep in mind, not all colors have a corresponding light version that is being produced.  An example of this would be EMERALD and LIGHT EMERALD.

      5301 Cobalt Blue color

    2. AB (aurora borealis) - this finish is where a color has been coated with a finish called AB.  The AB finish is an outside coating on an existing crystal color that covers about half of the crystal face.  When you turn the crystal you will see the crystal color on one side and the AB finish on the other.  If the crystal has many surfaces like the SPACERS (5040's) the reflection will appear as you turn the crystal.  The reflection is best described as a rainbow effect as you turn the bead.

      As with the light color, the AB's are not made in all colors and some are only produced for a short period of time and then not again.  Some current examples of the AB finishes are: KHAKI AB, TURQUOISE AB (as seen below), and FUCHSIA AB.  These AB finishes are a little more expensive than the color crystals because of the extra process they go through during production, but they have a brilliant shine to them.

      5301 Turquoise AB

    3. AB-2X (aurora borealis, two times) - this finish can be described as a two times coating of the AB.  As I mentioned above, the AB is a finish on about half of the crystal.  The AB-2X covers the entire crystal, and is the same outside coating of an original color just as the AB.  These, like the AB are not made in all colors and sizes.  This is a more rare type of finish than the AB and is also more expensive than the AB.  An example of a crystal made in all three; color, AB, and AB-2X would be a color like the FUCHSIA AB 2X but there are many more.

      GARNET AB-2X
      5301 Garnet AB 2X

    4. SATIN - the SATIN finish is a very unique looking type of color and it may or may not qualify as a finish by some.  This is not a coating on the outside of the crystal, but rather a deeper, more saturated look, that is produced by Swarovski when the crystal is manufactured.  Using the same example as above, the FUCHSIA SATIN color is also made in this unique finish.

      5301 Peridot SATIN

    These of course are not all of the finishes and effects that Swarovski® makes and we will cover those in detail in another posting. Each attribute to the bead gives it a very unique look for watch for those different finishes.

      Coming Soon:

    • Swarovski Crystal Beads, Finishes & Effects, Part 2 (effects and combinations of each)
    • Swarovski Crysatl Beads, Finishes & Effects, Part 3 (special production items, limited or vintage)
    • Am I buying a real Swarovski Crystal or not?

    Tuesday, April 04, 2006

    Swarovski Article Numbers

    Swarovski® bead numbers can be very helpful in finding the exact item, color or bead shape you are looking for. Have you ever seen the numbers that are associated with the Swarovski® bead components and wondered what that are or how they are used? Swarovski Crystal Beads - # 5601 Cubes HELIOTROPE Information on the main Swarovski® website can be a hard place to locate information but they do have another site that does have some good information with photos and product numbers. A site that might be a little harder to find is the Create Your Style [beads] site by Swarovski®. It has a list of all the categories and articles available (also found on our website).

    Swarovski® crystal beads are produced using a number designation for each component (shape) and are broken down into categories for like pieces. Swarovski Crystal Beads - # 5500 Bead Drop AMETHYST For this article we will be referring mainly to the "components" line of Swarovski® products. Swarovski® of course makes many products, and one of those are their line of components [individual pieces used for making various jewelry and craft items]. Within the components the products can be broken down into basically eight categories. Within those eight categories are many different articles of different shapes and sizes.

    An example of this would be the diagram below. At the top level are the Swarovski® components, then come the eight subcategories:

    [ Crystal Beads (5000), Crystal Pearls (5800), Pendants (6000), Round Stones (1000), Fancy Stones (4000), Flat Backs - non Hotfix (2000), Flat Backs Hotfix (2500-2700), Sew On Stones (3000) ]

    Each of the eight main categories above start with a unique number and everything within that catagory shares the first part of that number. The numbers are in brackets above, but staying with the crystal beads example (the 5000's) everything within that catagory will be a #5000 of some kind. In example, #5000 is a round, #5003 is a different cut round, #5040 is a spacer, a #5601 is a cube (seen in the photo above), and so on.

    So, why is all this important in the first place? Well, have you ever tried to find a very specific color, finish, size, and shape? Knowing the article number is a great start. It will also determine the exact cut you are going to receive. Most are familiar with the bicone cut, but how about the #5523 (the new COSMIC bead) or the #5203 (POLYGONS)? These are very complex cuts and finding the article number and a corresponding diagram is a great tool.

    Friday, March 31, 2006

    Limited Rare Swarovski

    One of our specialities in crystal beads is with the limited, rare, or out of production Swarovski® crystal beads. Because we only carry Swarovski® beads we try to stock a much larger selection than other online shops and one of the ways we do that is with items that are harder to find.

    Swarovski Crystal Beads - #5000 FIRE OPAL SATIN Swarovski® will start and stop production of bead colors all the time so a color that you might have been buying for some time might all of sudden become quite hard to find. These are called out of production colors. Each month we place a large order with Swarovski® for items that are specifically out of production. These come right from Austria (usually takes a few weeks to arrive) but sometimes these color can be out of production for years, Swarovski® just still has some in stock in Austria.

    The #5000 FIRE OPAL SATIN above is an example of an out of production item. This color took us about 6 months to receive, but we only have a small number of crystal beads with that color and once they are gone we probably won't receive any more. In our store and on our ebay store we call these colors limited due to their availability but are sometimes also called rare crystal beads.

    Swarovski Crystal Beads - #5000 WHITE OPAL SATIN 2X Some of these limited crystals can be very unique. They may have been produced specifically for a customer of Swarovski® on a short production run, so they tend to be the unique finishes, many are satin finishes that they have only produced once but look great. Two examples in the #5000 Rounds would be the HYACINTH SATIN and the WHITE OPAL SATIN 2X (only made in the 5mm round) which combines the SATIN finish and the 2X finish. [see more on finishes]

    Swarovski Crystal Beads - #5301 TOPAZ DORADO Don't confuse these unique and rare colors with finishes produced by third party companies (not by Swarovski® we discussed in an earlier post. [Real Crystal Bead Colors] As we talked about before, just get to know your seller. Most are very open about what they sell.

    Another area that can be confusing to some is the use of the term vintage Swarovski® Crystal Beads which we will discuss in another post but in general these are crystal beads that Swarovski® produced many many years ago that are not being sold by the distributors but most are in the hands of collectors. Look for a production date or a photo of the original packaging from Swarovski.

    For a search of all our current limited production inventory on our store click here and for a list of our limited items on ebay click here.

    Swarovski Crystal Beads - #5000 Rounds
    Swarovski Crystal Beads - #5020 Helix
    Swarovski Crystal Beads - #5040 Spacers
    Swarovski Crystal Beads - #5203 Polygons
    Swarovski Crystal Beads - #5301 Bicones
    Swarovski Crystal Beads - #5305 Spacers
    Swarovski Crystal Beads - #5310 Simplicity
    Swarovski Crystal Beads - #5500 Drop
    Swarovski Crystal Beads - #5523 Cosmic
    Swarovski Crystal Beads - #5601 Cubes
    Swarovski Crystal Beads - #5810 Pearls
    Swarovski Crystal Beads - #5821 Pearls
    Swarovski Crystal Beads - #5826 Pearls