The Evolution of Austrian Glass and Crystals

Sparkling Austrian Glass: A Brilliant Tradition of Beauty


Austrian glass may not be found in nature, but it still sparkles like a natural gem and can be used to create some of the finest jewelry on Earth. This type of glass is often used in crystals, though artisans have found a wide range of purposes for the coveted material. The tradition of glass creation in Austria and Germany dates back hundreds of years and is still going strong. Here are the facts about the evolution of Austrian glass and how you can purchase it today.

What is Austrian Glass?

Austrian glass is a specific type of glass made with ingredients that include silica sand, lead, potash, and other natural minerals. The different elements are first heated together and then slowly cooled to avoid breakage or stress. While the glass has been made using different techniques throughout history, the Swarovski method of glass creation is among the most respected and includes a foil backing. This backing gives crystals made from the glass a diamond-like shine.

The tradition of Austrian glass dates back to the 1800s when the region became well known for its glass artisans. Late in the century, Daniel Swarovski moved to Austria and brought his innovation with him. In addition to adding the foil back technique to the Austrian glass landscape, Swarovski created and then patented a glass cutting machine that allowed him to create more crystals quite quickly. In the 1920’s, costume jewelry took off and the demand for Austrian glass became even more significant.

Colors and Quality

Austrian glass is reknown for its quality and ability to mimic the look of real gemstones, including diamonds, rubies, and sapphires. The glass is available in a broad spectrum of colors, including blue, green, red, and purple. Because the glass incorporates a variety of natural minerals it can be manipulated to become nearly any hue. While some pieces of jewelry include only one color and type of Austrian glass, multiple pieces can also be combined to make incredibly unique jewelry.

How Glass is Used

Austrian glass is most popularly used in Swarovski crystals and costume jewelry. However, the glass has also been used to make glass ornaments, decorative pins, wine glasses, vases, and even carefully crafted glass animal figurines. Today, Austrian glass can be purchased through sites like or in jewelry stores across the world. The process of making the glass has been streamlined to the degree that the glass can be made in large quantities and is found in all corners of the world.

Austrian glass has a rich history and offers both style and quality to jewelry and more. From the crystal-lined glass brooches popular in the 1940s and Swarovski crystal watches introduced in 2011, to the European ornaments that are found across the globe,  Austrian glass has made a strong impression in fashion and home decor. Thanks to its popularity and the seemingly infinite uses for it, this remarkable man-made material isn’t going anywhere.

Amanda Meeks is a stay at home mother of four. An avid blogger, she likes to post about interesting and helpful topics. You can look for her articles mainly on art, home, DIY and craft websites.