Swarovski has developed a crystal made with a completely new recipe. Imagine the finest chocolate you’ve ever had- smooth, glossy surface, rich and full aroma with a hint of sweetness, the characteristic “snap!” of a well-tempered batch, that silky finish on your tongue. The ultimate, right? Kind of curls your toes? (If chocolate’s not your thing, imagine your most pleasurable wine experience, or cheesecake, duck, oysters, a Cuban cigar…something indulgent.) Now, imagine this chocolate turned out to be a fat free, calorie free, gluten free, sugar free, totally vegan, organic, fair trade, employee owned superfood. And it cured cancer. And raised injured orphaned baby squirrels.
Yeah. That would be Advanced Chocolate. Is your mind blown? This is essentially what Swarovski has done to crystal with…Advanced Crystal. The new crystal recipe is created from a newfangled collection of ingredients, and amazingly, doesn’t include lead- the definitive and essential element of crystal. That’s like revealing that your Advanced Chocolate is made without cacao. It’s crazy. (But, just crazy enough to work…)
Though levels of lead through the traditional making of crystal are too low to be harmful, the word scares folks. This has led to a manufacturing standard with the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, commonly referenced as CPSIA standards, which regulate the amount of lead in products marketed toward children.
Though Swarovski has long met (ahem, exceeded) the standards in all of its crystal (not only the batches that have been officially tested and certified for use in children’s products), it has eliminated the possibility with the exclusion of lead, perhaps anticipating consumer and environmental ethics.
As of September 2012, 100% of Swarovski's line is being manufactured completely lead-free. The addition of lead to glass to make crystal creates a denser material- making it easier to precisely cut- and alters the molecular structure to break up the light passing through it, causing the spectrum-spanning prisms that grace your walls and dance in your eye. Somehow, in their new patented formula, Swarovski found a way to get the properties of lead-based crystal without it- even to the extent of receiving the highest marks in quality, “Ultra Clear,” from the European Crystal Directive (the finicky big wigs), following the objective criteria of crystal’s “5 C’s”: Cut, Clarity, Color, Contour and Care.
The sustainable composition meets so many safety standards, in fact, that Advanced Crystal can be used in the oft tricky genres of Packaging Products, Electronic Equipment, Children’s Clothing and Toys, Interior Decoration and even Tableware. That means you can eat off of solid Swarovski blinged-out plates! With solid Swarovski blinged-out forks! So regal. And perhaps best of all? The Swarovski factories have been creating these gorgeous bits through environmentally sound practices since the company’s inception in 1895.
Always forward-thinking with a humanitarian at its founding, Daniel Swarovski created an organization that was green before green existed. Officially Eco Power Plants, the factories are powered by water that is cleaned and filtered before returning to the River Inn; they operate CFC-free (that pesky ozone-depleting chemical); and are consistently finding ways to reduce the amounts of waste materials generated and water used. Plus, a benefit of crystal production is that, by nature, flawed finished products can be melted down and completely reused.
In addition to responsible manufacturing practices, as lovers of the amazing benefits of water, the company has established Water Schools, setting up in Austria, China, India and Uganda, teaching children (the decision makers of the future) how to value and preserve the essential resource. In joining with The Global Compact in Austria- the world’s largest network joining for socially and environmentally responsible organizations- we can see the guidelines Swarovski has promised to meet, and can watch in their constant efforts to improve the quality of the company’s development. - Home page: http://www.unglobalcompact.at/ungc/site/en/home - Participants List: http://www.unglobalcompact.at/ungc/site/en/netzwerk/participants (Listed as D. Swarovski & Co.) - 10 Principles: http://www.unglobalcompact.at/ungc/site/en/unglobalcompact/10principles “…we have the responsibility to ensure that activities on our own yard should not cause harm to the environment of our neighbours.” -Daniel Swarovski (1862-1956)
All of this is behind that itty bitty Advanced Crystal in your hand. As brilliant as ever, as useful as ever, as green as ever and WAY ahead of the curve, Swarovski continues to improve into the next generation with Advanced Crystal what they have already perfected, maintaining their reputation as the worldwide leader in crystal earned throughout their 100+ years. Can we consider that the cream filling?
Rhinestones Unlimited blog author Jemm Stone is a multifaceted girl navigating our sparkly world with on-point insights. Visit RhinestonesU.com/blog to follow her thoughts as she highlights design trends, turns the spotlight on industry influencers and breaks down how-to tips like light through a crystal prism.