Brilliant Rhinestones in Antique Buckle

During the 18th century, brilliant pieces of colorful rock crystal, or glass, were discovered along the Rhine River in Austria. While working with these pebble-like formations, an Alsatian jeweler by the name of Georg Friedrich Strass discovered that using a mixture of thallium and bismuth improved the refractive qualities of the rock, and once cut and finished, they resembled a diamond. Through further experimentation he found that the use of metal salts could alter their colors. He didn’t stop there, however.


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