The history of Swarovski Crystals and Swarovski crystal jewelry begins with birth of Daniel Swarovski on October 24, 1862, in Georgenthal, Bohemia, then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire
Daniel Swarovski was born into the world of crystals. Not only was Bohemia a hotbed of crystal and glass production at the time, Swarovski's father owned a small factory that cut crystals. Swarovski apprenticed with his father as well as with other crystal cutters. In 1883, at the age of 21, Swarovski attended the First Electrical Exhibition in Vienna. Swarovski was hit by the bug of electricity. He wanted to create a machine that would automatically cut crystals perfectly.
It took Swarovski 19 years to perfect his machine. In 1892 Swarovski took out a patent on his automatic cutting machine.
Swarovski: Formation of a crystal dynasty
In 1895 Swarovski opened the crystal company named for his family, along with Armand Kossman and his brother-in-law, Franz Weis. Swarovski moved with his family away from Bohemia to Wattens, Tyrol, in the Austrian Alps. In Wattens they found sufficient water to power the company's operations. The location was isolated enough to give them a good head start against competitors, yet located in an area where Paris, and their important buyers, were relatively easy to reach.
During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, crystals were used in formal evening wear. This was Swarovski's first market.
1900-World War I
Looking to source its own power, Swarovski opened a hydroelectric plant in Wattens in 1907. In 1908 Daniel's three sons, Wilhelm, Friedrich and Alfred, joined Swarovski. The addition of Daniel's sons boded well for the future of the company. During 1908 the men started to experiment making, as well as cutting, crystals.
In 1913, Swarovski succeeded in making flawless crystals. This is the beginning of what Swarovski is arguably most known for today. Swarovski would only sell these beautiful crystals to the fashion industry.
World War I-World War II
The outbreak of World War I in 1914 changed the way of the world at the time. The end of World War I in 1918 saw the disintegration of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Europe was recreated and the stage was set, albeit unintentionally, for World War II. Swarovski managed to survive and prosper during these difficult years.
During World War I, Swarovski developed tooling, such as grinding wheels, which were introduced in 1919.
In 1931 Swarovski introduced trimmings, or crystals on fabric ribbon, to be used on clothing and shoes. The company continued to expand over the years by introducing related products such as telescopes and binoculars through subsidiaries.
On January 23, 1956, Daniel Swarovski died. He was 94 years old.
Swarovski continues to produce fine crystals, jewelry and figurines today. Descendents of Daniel Swarovski still take an active part in managing the Swarovski Group.