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article imageBling King Swarovski Celebrates a Crystal Milestone

By Julia Suppa     Jun 9, 2006 in Lifestyle
Digital Journal — Long before the word bling found its way into the dictionary, Swarovski epitomized the term. Founded in 1895 by Daniel Swarovski, the Austrian family company is renowned for its exquisite miniature crystal animals and models of buildings, as well as its jewellery collections and popular gift items. This year, the world’s leading brand of cut crystal turns 111 years-old.
These days, you can find Swarovski crystals embellishing almost anything — from license plates to designer sunglasses to cell phones to shoes. Celebrities adore the brand; many leading actresses have been photographed wearing dresses embedded with crystals and even the most macho men have been seen sporting the sparkles.
Artist Chris Levine created a light sculpture using the largest crystal cube ever cut by Swarovski. — Photo courtesy of Swarovski
But many people may not realize the technology, outstanding design and artistry needed to create a piece from Swarovski’s many different collections.
To commemorate the company’s birthday and vision this year, Swarovski launched its 2006 Crystal Palace collection in Milan featuring creations from fifteen of the world’s most innovative designers. These brilliant minds have merged lighting, art and technology using Swarovski’s entire range of crystal components:

Artist Chris Levine was commissioned to create a light sculpture using the largest crystal cube ever cut by the company, measuring 27.5 cm (10.8 inches) square and weighing in at 67 kg (147.7 lbs.). The result was D-Cube, a beautifully delicate piece representing the spirit of man. Levine combined the very latest laser technology and precision cutting to create the hyperorganic light form. Levine’s final work will be installed later this year at the Swarovski Crystal Worlds Museum in Wattens, Austria.
Hussein Chalayan created an airplane wing balancing against a wall. When its large wing flap moves, a long strip of Swarovski crystals are illuminated by LEDs. — Photo courtesy of Swarovski

Hussein Chalayan, an internationally regarded designer celebrated for his progressive attitude to new technology created Repose, a conceptual art installation piece. Repose shows an airplane wing balanced against a wall; its large wing flap moves up and down to reveal a long strip of crystals illuminated by LEDs.
Mediterraneo is the creation by New York City architect and designer Gaetano Pesce. His scintillating chandelier has a definite personality, radiating with colour and changing form. Using 140 crystal strands, each consisting of 87 Swarovski crystals,
Gaetano Pesce Mediterraneo design looks a lot like a traditional chandelier at first glance, but the chandelier actually dances and exudes smells, colour, radiance and changes form. — Photo courtesy of Swarovski
Pesce illuminated the design with LEDs programmed to change colour.
These magnificent designs all celebrate the past, present and future of this iconic crystal company. The company plans to continue creating crystal miniatures and home designs, but because the Swarovski group also includes Tyrolit (a company that produces grinding tools and abrasives) and Swarovski Optik the company will begin offering more precision optics for hunting and nature observation.
In 2004, Swarovski employed about 16,000 people and pulled in about €1.8 billion ($2.3 billion US) in revenue. And since 1995, thousands of visitors have walked through the crystal vestibule at the Swarovski Crystal Worlds Museum in Austria.
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