Monday, October 22, 2012

In the Crystal Pipeline

A couple of weeks ago - I went to the Swarovski Fall product launch at one of our major suppliers. As usual, we got a lovely little box with a few samples of the fall line-up. Most of this is now sitting on my desk, with me scrambling to process it, shoot it, and get it into the database(s) - so you can take it home and fondle it.

I thought I'd just take a few minutes to give you a sneak preview of what will be coming at you in the next few weeks!

This is the new crystal key and key to the forest series. Designed by Yoko Ono - this is a pretty distinctive pendant.  It comes in sizes small enough to wear as earrings, and some more appropriate for pendants. Personally - I'm just boggled that they can manufacture this at all! (We rolled these out on the website last week!)

More in the "Euro" beads - Pandora/Biagi/Troll-style beads. Swarovski calls these "Becharmed" and is adding pearls, and the rhinestone encrusted rondelles to the line up. 

 The insert for the hole is made with stainless steel, and will now be stamped with the Swarovski name.

 This is the star rivet. This is for embellishing fabric, as is the other rivets. Would look pretty hot on a denim jacket!

 On the left is the Victory Pendant, (also rolled out on our site last week) - and the "Pure Baquette Fancy Stone." This is a rectangular faceted stone, not a bead.
 These are representative of the "Pure Leaf" family - the pendant and the sew-on stone.

And this is the new colour, Light Turquoise. This is a deep, darker colour than the Aqua we are all used to, and a little greener. Closer, actually, to Blue Zircon. It is an absolute b1tch to photograph. 

 Here you see the Light Turquoise with the Caribbean Blue Opal on the left, and some Aqua beads to the left and behind the Light Turquoise oval in the centre.

27753011333267 Swarovski Elements Bead - 4 mm Faceted Bicone (5301) - Turquoise (36)
Just between you, me and the gatepost - I think that calling this new colour "Light Turquoise" is going to be confusing. For one thing - they already have a colour called "Turquoise" - see the bicones on the left, and it is an opaque. I have a hard time getting my head around called a transparent colour "Turquoise." And to have Turquoise as an opaque and Light Turquoise as a transparent ... well - it's all going to confuse the heck out of people. I can just see us getting phone calls asking for a "light turquoise" - and now not know if they mean generically, a light shade of turquoise, or the specific "Swarovski Light (Transparent) Turquoise as introduced in 2012."

Not that they asked me. 

This is the new coating effect: Crystal Blue Shade. It is a subtle blue, and tends to vary a lot depending on the lighting, from a nice blue (like a lighter version of Indian Sapphire) to a steely grey. This one too is a b1tch to photo properly.

This is the new Swarovski pearl colour for the season - it's ... Grey. Crystal Grey Pearl. I suspect the intention was to fall between the Light Grey Pearl and the Dark Grey Pearl.

Now THESE I can get excited about - these are new flat tablets - in smaller sizes. These are the Mini-Oval, the Mini-Round, and the Mini-Square. I definitely can't wait to try these out! We rolled some of these out last week too, and more to come.
These are new cabochon colors - a super shiny silver one (look - you can see a reflection of the photographer!) and Golden Shadow.

Also exciting is that Swarovski has refined the faceting pattern for their Chatons. (Pointed back stones) This is the Xirius (pronounced Seer-e-us) cut, and has 57 facets - the same number as a brilliant cut diamond (if you don't count the culet on the diamond - which these do not have. On a diamond - the very tip on the back is flattened - it's called the culet.)

Here, compare with the blue Swarovski on the left, and the newer, more intricately cut stone. What these means is that Swarovski stones will be even more fiery and dazzling than before - and that is a GOOD THING. It will also make it easier to spot fakes and "Knockoff-skis."

Also, domed top, pointed back "Cabochon Chatons" - including some with a matte finish! Yum.
And the Crystal Rocks transfers - which we have already seen a few weeks ago, paired with the Instant Glam by Fernando.
And - now including the Ceramics line on the transfers. (Swarovski is not all crystal!)

Probably the most interesting thing that they rolled out is not what they are selling this season - but what they are NOT selling. Swarovski has re-formulated their crystal to completely remove any lead from the formula. 

Traditionally - lead has been added to crystal to make it more brilliant, clearer, shinier and sparklier. In addition to the esthetics, lead also makes the glass easier to work and more forgiving. In fact, lead glass is a delight to work (speaking as a flameworker now!) - so the decision to forgo the lead in the glass was certainly not taken lightly.

It has also meant that they have had to sink considerable time and energy into inventing an entirely new formula of glass. But, their feeling was, even though existing levels were low, they they would rather remove it entirely than continue using it in the future.

Between the new crystal formula - "Advanced Crystal" - and the new Xirius cut - Swarovski is, in it's own words, "taking crystal one step closer to the diamond."

1 comment:

Gail DB said...

This is a very interesting and informative article, DJ. Thank you.