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Rhinestones on a "tiara
Rowenta enamel rhinestone compact

A rhinestone, paste or diamante is a "diamond simulant originally made from "rock crystal but since the 19th century from "crystal glass or polymers such as "acrylic.



Originally, rhinestones were rock crystals gathered from the river "Rhine, hence the name, although some were also found in areas like the "Alps, but today the name "rhinestone" applies only to varieties of lead glass known as "crystal glass. The availability was greatly increased in the 18th century when the "Alsatian "jeweller "Georg Friedrich Strass had the idea to imitate diamonds by coating the lower side of lead glass with metal powder. Hence, rhinestones are called strass in many "European languages.

As opposed to the classic rhinestones, which had a metal powder coating on the bottom side only, several companies have opted to mass-produce iridescent lead glass, by reducing the metal coating thickness and apply it uniformly, not using metal powder with a binder but by applying various forms of metal deposition (thin foil, vapor deposition, etc): "Favrile glass by "Tiffany in 1894, "Carnival glass under the name "Iridrill" by "Fenton in 1908, "Aurora Borealis" glass by "Swarovski in 1955 and "PVD-coated "dichroic glass in the late 20th century, amongst many other decorative lead glasses coated with a thin metal layer sold under various commercial names such as "rainbow glass", "aurora glass" and such.

Rhinestones can be used as imitations of diamonds, and some manufacturers even manage to partially reproduce the glistening effect real diamonds have in the sun.


Typically, crystal rhinestones have been used on "costumes, apparel and "jewelry. Crystal rhinestones are produced mainly in "Austria by "Swarovski and in "the Czech Republic by "Preciosa and a few other glassworks in northern Bohemia. In the US, these are sometimes called "Austrian crystal".

The rhinestone-studded Nudie suit was invented by "Nudie Cohn in the 1940s, an Americanization of the "matador's ""suit of lights". Rhinestone material is often used as an alternative to "sequin.

In popular cultures[edit]

Liberal use of rhinestones was associated with "country music "singers, as well as with singer "Elvis Presley and pianist "Liberace. In 1974 "David Allan Coe released the album "The Mysterious Rhinestone Cowboy and referred to himself as The Rhinestone Cowboy again in the 1977 song "Longhaired Redneck". In 1975 "Glen Campbell had a top hit with the song ""Rhinestone Cowboy" and became known as the "Rhinestone Cowboy". That song served as the basis for the 1984 movie "Rhinestone, starring "Sylvester Stallone and "Dolly Parton. "Gorillaz has also released a single by the name of ""Rhinestone Eyes". The closing track on Madvillain's Madvillainy is called Rhinestone Cowboy.

Sizing guide[edit]

Rhinestones are sized by using the term "ss", or stone size, followed by a number to indicate size (e.g. 8ss is equivalent to 2.3 mm diameter, 10ss is 2.8 mm).[1] SS is more commonly used for apparel means, while PP (or pearl plate) is used for jewelry.[2]

Hot-fix rhinestones[edit]

Hot-fix rhinestones, also called heat-transfer rhinestones, are mainly used for apparel. The flat bottom of the stone has a glue backing and, when heated, melts onto the surface of the clothing. These can be adhered using a regular iron, however, it is recommended to use a "heat press, as they are able to reach higher temperatures (standard transfers require temperatures of up to 180–200 °C (350–400 °F)) while applying heavy pressures resulting in a more professional quality.


  1. ^ "Rhinestones and Rhinestone Jewelry". Clothingdictionary.com. Retrieved 2013-04-06. 
  2. ^ "Rhinestone Size - SS Size and PP size". Jewelrymaking-beads-library.com. Retrieved 2013-04-06. 
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