Exactly what is costume jewelry?

Exactly what is Rhinestone Jewelry?

The name “Rhinestone” came from the factory which used energy that was driven by the Rhine River which passes through Austria . The sand in that region contained a high lead content which gave it that characteristic rainbow sparkle.  Defined as colorless artificial gems that are made of paste, glass, or gem quartz, rhinestones are usually cut into facets that make them sparkle to imitate diamonds.  The liberal use of rhinestones was often associated with garb worn by Country and Western music singers, Las Vegas dancers, and other show business entertainers.   Today,  it is not limited to any industry and they have become everyday wear for most areas in the world.


Real rhinestones were originally cut and finished by hand.  In the late 1700s, a jeweler in western Europe came up with an idea to coat the back side of the glass with a metal powder.  This newly defined process significantly enhanced the brilliance, complexity, and the reflective qualities of the glass.  Nowadays, the majority of the rhinestones that are used in jewelry come from glass that looks just like natural stone.


Rhinestone Cuts

Rhinestones can be found in many different cuts, sizes, colors, and shapes. It is important to make note of the fact that the cut of the rhinestone does significantly affect the stone’s brilliance.  It is important to remember that the rhinestones with more facets will reflect more than those cut with fewer facets; although once there are too many facets, the increase in brilliance does not improve.  Rhinestones that have been cut with fewer facets will flash straight on more than those cut with more facets.  Eight-facet rhinestones comprise the very best.



Rhinestone Sizes

Rhinestone sizes are designated using the abbreviation for stone size which is “ss”. There is less demand for the larger sized rhinestones because they have fewer colors; and the smaller stone size numbers (08 to 16) are too small for adorning ballroom gowns.









Approx mm



#12208 4 Row Rhinestone Choker and Earring Set08






















































Rhinestone Colors

Rhinestones can be found in a wide variety of colors which can be confusing for consumers.  Wider varieties of colors are offered to consumers every year.  The colors for rhinestones can be broken down into four basic categories:

1.  Crystal Colors


These rhinestones are also referred to as the conventional ‘diamond look-a-like’ because they have no color and are completely clear. This is the rhinestone that is seen the most regularly.

2.  Transparent Colors

Transparent colors are rhinestones that usually are named after the gem that they replicate for example:






















Lime or Apple Green







Royal Blue










For the stones that have the term 'Light' in front of the color, it is a paler rendition of the actual color itself and referred to as semiprecious gem colors.

3.  AB Colors


AB rhinestones are created by applying an Aurora Borealis coating to the stone. In light refraction, this coating makes a prism effect, which usually reflects all of the colors in the rainbow.  Generally, the base color will be seen through this coating.  At times the coating will completely alter the stone’s color.  Examples:

·        Jet AB is not black, but rather it shines green.

·        Crystal AB is the result of an AB coating on a crystal rhinestone.  It will disperse mild colors in all ranges:

  •           Swarovski AB coatings replicate blues, greens, reds, and gold’s.

  •          Czech stones mirror other gold’s and yellows.

  •          Korean stones do not have AB coatings.

  •     Chinese stone makers are now matching these AB coatings of better makers quite well.

4.  Effect Colors


These rhinestones are made by polarizing the glass. The stones come in special colors and usually reflect two or more colors, depending on the direction of the light or the light source.