10 Things You Didn’t Know About Crystals

Crystals have made a dazzling statement in jewelry design for centuries. The element of sparkle and the sense of grandeur these minerals add to jewelry is quite obvious, but there are also many facts about crystals that are not so well known. Read on to learn more behind-the-scenes information about this much loved material in your bead stash.


1. The infamous ruby red slippers worn by Judy Garland as Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz were adorned by Swarovski crystals. In 2000, one of the four pairs of slippers that Garland actually wore in the film was sold for $660,000.

2. Marilyn Monroe wore a glittering Jean Louis gown dripping with 6,000 Swarovski crystals when she sang “Happy Birthday” to John F. Kennedy at Madison Square Garden in 1962. The dress was sold for $1.2 million at an auction in 1999.

Marilyn Monroe3. The second largest tourist attraction in Austria is Swarovski’s Crystal Worlds (Kristallwelten) and the giant that guards it. It was created in 1995 by Andre Heller as an homage to Swarovski’s 100th anniversary. The giant’s face is both a land and water sculpture. The eyes glow like crystals and a waterfall flows from the giant’s mouth into a pond below. The large giant welcomes visitors into a cavelike museum within which a series of fantasy crystal sculptures and a three-story glass wall filled with crystals celebrate Swarovski.


4. Liberace, a performer, had a passion for over-the-top sparkle. In addition to his shimmering costumes, he owned a Baldwin piano encrusted with Swarovski crystals.


5. The word crystal derives from the Greek Krystallos, which refers to a mythic ice palace of the Olympian gods that not even the heat of the sun could destroy.

6. In the Middle Ages (A.D. 500 to 1500) crystal balls used to foretell the future were made entirely of carved and polished rock crystal. Also called “crystallomancy” or “scrying,” crystal gazing is known as the art of concentrating on a crystal ball in order to achieve a psychic state in which divination can be accomplished.

7. When Richard Burton bought Elizabeth Taylor the heart-shaped Taj-Mahal diamond, he is said to have bragged, “It has so many carats, it’s almost a turnip.”

elizabeth taylor8. Another crystal for commoners? Sugar. A single American will eat, on average, more than 130 lbs of sugar each year.

9. In 1885, a garnet weighing nearly 10 lbs was discovered beneath 35th Street near Broadway in New York, close to today’s Macy’s store. According to urban lore, it was either unearthed during subway construction or by a laborer digging a sewer.

subway garnet

10. You could be sitting in a gypsum cave right now.. It is a primary component of drywall!


Channel your inner Marilyn Monroe or Judy Garland, and carry your newfound knowledge of crystals into the new year with all the best resources for designing with crystals in this dazzling collection of 70+ designs: Sparkling Jewelry Projects for the New Year.


Facts 1-6: Create Jewelry: Crystals by Marlene Blessing and Jamie Hogsett (Interweave, 2007).
Facts 7-10: Discover.

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