Swarovski, Genius Loci

Daniel Swarovski’s story began in Bohemia, a land that has always been renowned for its crystal. But it was in Vienna that the spark ignited and the construction of an authentic empire, now celebrating its first 125 years, started to take shape

Some journeys and experiences are lifechanging. They act as a turning point between before and after. For Daniel Swarovski, that precise moment was the Electricity Exhibition in Vienna. In 1883. Daniel was already a keen crystal cutter at his small family business in Georgenthal, Bohemia, Austrian Empire, but the spark, and that is exactly the right word, ignited there in Vienna, where that young and ambitious man was fascinated by the phenomenon of light refraction. How could he recreate that shiny effect through his beloved crystals? A thought that almost became an obsession and led him to invent a machine for cutting crystal, initially done by hand, and then, in 1895, to found the company that, in a short time, was to become a world leader in crystal production. The place he chose to build the factory was also not random: Wattens, in the Tyrol, a strategic location due to its multiple hydro-electric sources. And the company is still there today, although much bigger and more modern in concept, both in terms of architecture and environmental impact. The last restyling, in 2018, was much more than futuristic, perfectly respecting the spirit of innovation that has always been one of the company’s trademarks: three buildings designed by Norwegian architects Snøhetta - Manufaktur, Campus 311 and Crystal Gactory of the Future - all “green” certified under the hallmark of LEED Gold (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design). Spaces designed to show the visitor not only the company’s priceless artisan patrimony but also the technological expertise practiced there in Wattens. The Swarovski family, which, for five generations, has only added brick after brick to building that magical Crystal World that bears its name, is particularly proud of two things: it now boasts about 3,000 stores in 170 countries with over 29,000 employees and a turnover of 2,7 billion Euros in 2018. As well as the prestigious recognition of the Royal Warrant as a producer and supplier of crystal to Her Royal Highness, Queen Elizabeth II. In tracing Swarovski’s substantial timeline, 1976 marked the first crystal jewelry, 1989 saw the launch of the “Daniel Swarovski” couture line, now known as the “Swarovski Catwalk Collection”, 1999 witnessed the debut of the Watch Collection 2006 launched the line inspired by fashion, and 2020 the appoint of Giovanna Battaglia Engelbert as company-wide Creative Director. A world that began with decorative objects but which went on to conquer many other sectors, such as interior design and light fittings, fashion accessories and jewelry. Natural gems, Swarovski Created Diamonds and Zirconia now make up precious collections, often signed by a celebrity from the star system, including the latest contribution generated from a collaboration between Atelier Swarovski and Penelope Cruz, which appeared for the first time on the Red Carpet at the Cannes Festival in 2019. Matching earrings and ring made with 15.2 carats of lab grown diamonds set in Fairmined gold where design, creativity, technology and sustainability incorporate glamour.


Share this article:

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Your browser is out of date!

Update your browser to view this website correctly. Update my browser now