rhinestones history

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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