With crystal healing technologies and gemstones gaining popularity as an alternative form of treatment, many are realising the power of crystals. So much so that these crystals have started becoming an important part of our daily lives — a dream that Daniel Swarovski had seen back in 1895. However, little did he know that his bohemian legacy would become one of the most prestigious brands over the years. Swarovski made an entry straight into the hearts of Indians in 2001 and ever since, he has been a favourite. Wedding designers count on Swarovski crystals for their decor and fashion designers such as Tarun Tahiliani are including crystals of this Austrian brand as a part of his label's bridal designs.
Vivek Ramabhadran, vice president, South Asia and Africa, Swarovski Professional, says, "Swarovski makes its crystals in a way that designers find it easy to embellish them on outfits. The crystals have a flat back that helps them bond with the fabric with only a little amount of heat. Another key feature of Swarovski is that it never compromises on quality. Even if you pick up a decade-old outfit with a Swarovski crystal on it, the shine of the crystal will be intact."
The company is also known for its chandeliers, interior installations, couture and accessories, all of which are made in Swarovski's headquarters in Austria. From designing a particular collection to its assortment plan, cutting, polishing, shaping, etc. takes two to three years. That makes it quite clear why the product range starts from 1.5 million and goes upward to around 200 million.
Waterford, an Irish crystal brand, has become a popular choice in many European nations. Its barware and giftware products are considered more than just possessions. The Waves of Tramore collection by Tom Cooke — the highest selling at Waterford — has a crystal collection, the cuts of which are said to resemble the tides of Tramore bay in Ireland. The items from these collections are often priced at €5,000 and go upwards as one approaches their bespoke gift collection.
"Other ‘Mastercraft’ collections such as Irish Conversation: Reflections by Waterford designer Martin Ryan, with its deep faceted pattern of sparkling diamonds and cascading olives, captures light as it filters through the leafy undergrowth. Whether it’s a summer evening in the woodlands or the spray of winter waves crashing against the rugged coastline, the sights and sounds of Ireland are transfixed in this crystal tapestry," says Lisa Marriott-Reynolds, product manager, Waterford Crystal.
Another player that is creating equally exquisite art with its crystals is Steuben. Many of its crystal collections have received recognition and appreciation from The Corning Museum of Glass. Their products are unparalleled in terms of lighting up dark spaces. "In 1933, Steuben formulated a prismatic crystal formula that could capture, reflect and refract light unlike anything else in the world. Ever since, Steuben has made it into homes of many — including every US President since Harry Truman — for its sheer reputation," says Steven C Bender, business manager, Steuben.
The American brand also boasts of a diverse collection of every possible kind of home décor — from vases, hand coolers and barware to nature-inspired crystal animals. The price of these collections starts at a modest $125 but can go as high as $63,000. Its collection, Moby Dick, for example, lands on the highest end of the price range. It also has collections for weddings and corporate gifting.
While the percentage of lead differentiates premium crystalware from the rest, converting vessels into pieces of art is what sets these brands apart.