Luxury lies in attention to detail, the beauty of a design, originality and exclusivity, and above all, the highest possible quality. Welcome to the world of Swarovski.
The Story Begins in 1895
Being a gifted innovator, Daniel Swarovski acquired his unique technical knowledge and skills via a process of observation and experimentation. In 1891, his efforts culminated in the creation of a machine that could cut crystal to perfection. He achieved his aim in 1891, revolutionizing an industry that until now had relied on laboriously hand-cut crystals. In 1895, he established his eponymous company in the Austrian village of Wattens high in the Alps, with its abundant supply of water to generate hydroelectricity.
In 1891, Daniel Swarovski’s inventiveness led to a machine that could cut crystal to perfection.
A New Chapter: Business Booms
By the 1920s, business was booming and Daniel’s precision-cut crystals were snapped up by high-society women across Europe’s fashion capitals. Daniel was joined in the business by his three sons, Wilhelm, Fritz and Alfred, and there followed a period of ceaseless innovation. New products, such as crystal-embellished trimming, were launched and were soon in demand all over the world.
By the 1950s, the world of haute couture had fallen in love with crystal, inspiring designers such as Coco Chanel and Elsa Schiaparelli to incorporate crystals in their collections. It wasn’t long before they were seen adorning Hollywood film costumes and red-carpet gowns worn by screen queens like Marilyn Monroe and Audrey Hepburn.
In 1956, the famous Aurora Borealis effect came to world attention, greatly prized by Christian Dior—it owes its name to a shimmering luminescence reminiscent of the Northern Lights.
A Family Company with a Fascinating Story
Swarovski thinks in terms of generations, not decades—in fact, the company is now owned and run by the fifth generation of the family. In 1972, Swarovski expanded its offer of loose crystal components by launching a stunning range of finished products, for which it is now also renowned. Jewelry and watch collections, crystallized interior décor items, sought-after and collectible figurines, and corporate gift ranges that are as stylish as they are functional, are all part of Swarovski’s signature offer.
Since 1972, a stunning range of finished products expanded Swarovski’s signature offer.
An Era of Wonder: Swarovski Kristallwelten
Today, the fascination of crystal is greater than ever. To satisfy global interest, Swarovski created a precinct known as Swarovski Kristallwelten (Swarovski Crystal Worlds) in 1995 to mark the company’s hundredth anniversary. It showcases stunning illustrations of the way crystal brings artworks to sparkling life. Cao Perrot’s Crystal Cloud is just one example: created using 800,000 handset crystals, it graces the garden’s mirror-like black lake. Inside, works of art by legends such as Yves-Klein, Salvador Dalì, Andy Warhol and other notable artists delight visitors from all over the world. Outstanding details include sixteen Chambers of Wonder based on the historical chambers of wonder at Ambras Castle—a 16th-century attempt to collect all the knowledge available at that time under the same roof.
A Business with an Ethos of Sustainability
From the very beginning, a commitment to social and environmental responsibility has been at the core of Swarovski’s guiding principles, summed up in four central pillars: Create, Respect, Protect, Care. “Try to think not only of yourselves,” said founder Daniel Swarovski, “but also of your fellow human beings. Those who adhere to this will be blessed with success”—this philosophy still underpins everything Swarovski does.
Today, the headquarters is still located in the small alpine town of Wattens, where Daniel first set up his business, and employees and collaborators are treated with the same respectful and inclusive treatment as they were in 1895.
“Try not to think only of yourselves, but also of your fellow human beings. Those who adhere to this will be blessed with success.”
Daniel Swarovski, Company Founder
Importantly, the clean and sustainable hydroelectric power that drove machinery then also drives it today. This is central to the company’s ethos, evidenced by a philanthropic commitment to international water management: Swarovski Waterschool, the educational project established in 2000, aims to make children and their communities in seven countries on four continents aware of the critical need to use this scarce natural resource responsibly. The Swarovski Foundation, set up in 2013, also works across three areas to support charitable initiatives focused on culture and creativity, wellbeing, and the protection and conservation of natural resources.
Art and Alchemy, Science and Service
A company that never stops exploring, experimenting, and pushing boundaries, Swarovski’s research and development programs have produced a roll call of extraordinary technological achievements. And when it comes to creativity, Swarovski is simply ahead of the crowd. Attention to the tiniest details, use of the finest materials, a flair for original designs—these are what lift Swarovski’s business gifts into the realm of art.