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The history of crystal dates back thousands of years to the Mesopotamian times. Lead oxide was used to enhance the brilliance of glass as used today, but applied in differently. This was an alternate to the popular rock crystal which was more expensive, harder to cut and less refractive.
In the year 1676, George Ravenscroft revolutionized the methods of adding the lead oxide, which brought lead crystal a major step closer to it’s mass production of today.
In 1892, Daniel Swarovski invented a machine to cut jewelry stones perfectly. In 1895, he moved his company, known as Swarovski, from Bohemia to the Wattens, Austria where he used the Rhine River as a source of energy to run the company’s machinery. From here the name “Rhinestone” was born. Today the word “rhinestone” is used for leaded crystal coming from any country though.
Swarovski is the highest quality crystal stone manufacturer in the world today. Stones are made in many other countries other than Austria as well, most notably Czechoslovakia, Germany, China, Israel and others.