Many people are familiar with the Swarovski name; walk into any modern bead store and there will likely be a large selection of colours and sizes available. But I like to seek out the unusual; different shapes, discontinued colours - pieces you can’t find in modern bead stores.
These rare crystals were nicknamed "potato chip" because of their shape. With incredible faceting that reminds me of a disco ball, and a colour range that includes both blues and purples, I've never seen beads quite like these.
Actual crystals measure an impressive 15mm around! Vintage crystals of this size are getting so hard to find in this excellent shape. I've paired them with gorgeous long sterling silver ear wires, so the entire earring length measures about 2" long.
I deal with a jewelry manufacturer that used to create costume jewelry from about the 1930s up to the 70s. Many of their Swarovski beads were made either exclusively for them or for other major manufacturers which were then acquired at auction. In the 50’s the competition amongst the costume jewelry manufacturers of the day was intense. Often they would commission Swarovski to produce special color combinations for them. Each respective factory had their own combinations.
In fact, the combinations were a closely guarded secret lest some competitor copy the combinations. Some of these companies included Coro, Napier, Trifari, Lissner, and Capri.
In 1972, my supplier bought a truckload of odd Swarovski crystals at auction from popular costume jewelry maker Albert Weiss Company when they closed their doors. You would be hard pressed to find these crystals anywhere else as no one knows exactly which colors were combined with which finishes to produce the end result.
Sometimes the current Swarovski company will re-issue a popular colour from the past, however these are made with modern techniques and can never fully recapture the unique processes and time consuming faceting used in the past.
These lovely pale lilac crystals are a classic large-sized Swarovski design. Incredible (likely hand cut) faceting throws the color and sparkle off in all directions. These crystals are in perfect condition, the close ups may show what looks like imperfections, but are merely tiny dust particles or sun specks. The colour in some photos may look darker (to show the dramatic sparkle of these beauties in the sun), but they are indeed a very pale lilac colour in real life. Closest to the first photo in actual colour.