Crystal glass has a higher refractive index than the glass used for most pressed or lamp work purposes so has a lovely sparkle, brilliantly brought out by the clever cutting of surfaces, sometimes further enhanced with an AB finish.
Clear finish beads are a single colour that spin the light delicately on the cut edges; AB finish beads have a surface coating on some of the sides of the bead so that as they turn as well as sparkling on the cut edges they also reflect where the aurora borealis effect picks up the light. There are also some special finish beads such as Bermuda Blue and Copper Capri with metallic effects and Double AB finishes for an amazing array of colour and effect in a single bead.
We stock crystal glass from two main areas of supply - the Czech Republic (sometimes referred to as Bohemian glass) have been supplying crystal for many decades and our beautiful rounds, bicones, drops and hearts are mostly Czech made. From China, a more recent manufacturer of crystal glass beads, we have a fabulous selection of stunning ovals, twists and rondelles at amazing prices, with some simply stunning shapes too that are fantastic as feature beads. We also have a couple of crystals from India.
Also in this category we have diamante stones, or chatons as they are sometimes called, some loose and some in settings as these are also made from crystal grade glass, and 'window crystals' which are much larger crystal shapes most often used for hanging in windows so that the light refracts through them and creates glorious patterns in a room. Some of these window crystals are also perfect for feature centrepieces in necklaces - we used one of the smaller stones for the centrepiece of the Galadriel necklace in Spellbinding Bead Jewellery.
Strictly speaking we should not include Cubic Zirconia with the crystals as this is a synthetic gem stone, not a cut glass, but it has a similar wondrous sparkling quality and they work so well with crystals it is difficult to tell the difference.