HomeEncyclopedia of gems ➤ Rhinestone

Rhinestones are not gemstones. Rhinestones are imitations of gemstones, which are most often made of lead glass with high refractive index of light.

In the old days, rhinestones were called crystals of rock crystal, which were found on the Rhine River. From these crystals the name "rhinestones" also came.

Glass imitations of gemstones have been known for a long time, but they became particularly popular after the Alsace jeweler Georg Strass in the 18th century received potassium glass with a high content of lead and used it in the manufacture of diamond imitation jewelry. This glass was a "lead crystal" and had characteristics similar to those of cut diamonds - strong luster, high refraction index, beautiful play of color in stones.

Rhinestone brooch

The most popular were transparent colorless imitations of a diamond, although colored rhinestones are also made.

Rhinestones in the USA are called "Austrian crystal". The names "rainbow glass" and "aurora glass" are also known. However, these are only commercial names created in order to sell rhinestones more expensively.

Sometimes rhinestones are called other imitations of gemstones, not just products made of lead glass. For example, rhinestones can be made from crystals of rock crystal (amethyst). Two-piece imitations are also created: the top is a real gem, but the bottom is plain glass.

Indicolite gemstone
See also: Ruby gemstone
Diamond gemstone

The most popular stones in our encyclopedia: