Rhinestone jewelry
Rhinestone jewelry figurals, animals, and whimsicals : identification & values
Marcia Brown.
Paducah, KY : Collector Books, c2006.
Marcia 'Sparkles' Brown, renowned jewelry expert and author of Unsigned Beauties of Costume Jewelry, Signed Beauties of Costume Jewelry Volumes I and II, and Coro Jewelry, has produced an all-new volume, this time dedicated to rhinestone jewelry. The author has drawn from over 500 designers and unsigned pieces in her private collection to take readers on a sightseeing journey - you can view figurals; animals from the real to the unreal; and whimsicals that reveal the artistry of twentieth century jewelry designers. Chapters include 'People From Around the World' from faraway places like Africa and Australia; 'Dancers' from ballet to folk; 'Down on the Farm'; 'A Trip to the Zoo'; 'Transportation' from horse drawn carriages to airplanes; 'Under the Sea'; and 'Mystical Beasts' including dragons from China, India, and America. This book will take you around the world in your armchair, send you back in time to your childhood, and bring a smile to your face.
Rhinestone jewelry : a price and identification guide
Leigh Leshner.
Iola, WI : Krause Publications, c2003.
- Features more than 400 full-color photos- Identifies and prices the most desirable rhinestone pieces- Offers historical overview of rhinestone jewelry
Collecting rhinestone & colored jewelry
Maryanne Dolan.
Iola, WI : Krause Publications, c1998.
An identification handbook and value guide, with priceless new information and more than 200 new photographs of collectible rhinestone treasures. 16-page color section. Over 750 bandw photos.
Collecting rhinestone & colored stone jewelry : an identification & value guide
by Maryanne Dolan.
Florence, Ala. : Books Americana, c1993.
  1. Cover title: Collecting rhinestone & colored jewelry.
  2. "Including a comprehensive section on designers' marks"--Cover.

Sparking in every color of the rainbow, rhinestone jewelry has been a staple in jewelry boxes for generations of women. Rhinestones are highly reflective glass pieces made to imitate gem stones. They are a poor man’s diamond, popular because women could buy several pieces, wearing a different one each day. Stunning pieces in creative designs are affordable by all.

Swarovksi crystals

Charles Swarovski is credited with perfecting a fast cutting technique that produces stones in a fraction of the time that previous, hand cut techniques utilized. Swarovski set a high standard in the making of his glass gems and today more than 85 percent of American jewelry companies use Swarovski rhinestones.

The term Rhinestone came from the Rhine River in Austria. In the late 1800s, the river was filled with small quartz rocks in many hues. As this quartz stone was used up, glass imitations took their place.

Imaginative jewelry makers loved using rhinestone in their designs since they adapt to many styles. Large, clear stones with delicate chains were popular necklace designs in the 1920’s and 1930’s. Déco style used rhinestones in a pave’ setting. By the 1940’s bigger and bolder typified designs. Pins in military themes reflecting the country’s status at war were found in American flags, Uncle Sam hats, and airplanes. Animals and flowers were also popular. 

In the 1950’s rhinestones were the most popular costume jewelry material. Necklaces, earrings, and bracelets sold as sets and made of bold multi-colored stones characterized jewelry of the time. The 1960’s hippie movement disdained rhinestones, and they fell out of favor. It was the disco movement of the 70’s and Madonna’s sparkling bracelets of the 80’s that revived interest in rhinestone jewelry.

Recent retro-styled rhinestone pieces are appearing in department stores signaling a renewed interest in classic designs. Many vintage pieces were so elegant and exquisitely made that they now command a high price in the antique market. Whether new or old there’s something for every taste in rhinestone jewelry.

Article by: St. Louis Public Library staff