Crystal Effects, Coatings, & Finishes for Swarovski Crystals
Crystal effects are coatings or surface finishes that are applied to the glass/crystals to enhance their appearance. These coatings are alternatively referred to as Stone Effects or Finishes. Most of the names of these crystal finishes follow the Swarovski naming.
Crystal effects are most commonly applied to crystals, especially the Swarovski crystals, but they can and are also applied to stones, glass pearls, glass beads, and even plastic & acrylic beads.
Coatings are normally applied to only half of a bead. Whenever the coating is applied to both sides of a bead, it has the suffix 2X; e.g. CAB 2X.
Crystal effects & finishes add beauty & character to the crystals and sometimes can enhance them dramatically.
“P” Protective Layer
In September 2010, Swarovski introduced the protective layer “P” for effects Crystal Bermuda Blue and Crystal Tabac.
This “P” layer applies only to Pendants and Beads at this time of writing (Feb 2012). This protective layer is a special lacquer system that is applied over the effect. It protects the effects from scratches, fingerprints, and prevents moisture (e.g. sweat) that could lead to corrosion penetrating into the effect layer.
Swarovski Ordinary & Special Effects
Swarovski separates their coatings into what they call “Ordinary” and “Special Effects”. However some of the “Ordinary” coatings are among the most beautiful and sought after of all the various effects.
Ordinary Crystal Effects
Clear crystals are normally referred to as Crystal, and if it has a coating applied then it will be called Crystal + Coating-Name. E.g when you have a clear crystal with AB coating, that will be called Crystal AB; if the clear cystal has a Bermuda Blue coating, then it will be referred to as Crystal Bermuda Blue; etc.
In fact it is not uncommon to have the name truncated to the name of the coating only. E.g. AB or Bermuda Blue. This is true whenever the base crystal is clear.
(also sometimes spelt as Aurora Boreale or Aurore Boreale)
This crystal effect is most commonly referred to as AB finish. When applied on clear crystal, the resultant crystal is referred to as Crystal AB or CAB for short.
Aurora Boreale effect is one of the most well-known, sought after, shimmering effects. It is an iridescent coating applied to stone, glass, crystals. It gives a terrific rainbow effect which can be subtle to very obvious. It has a very light rainbow effect that leans toward a pale yellow tone, but shimmers in pink and blue as well. When applied on a color bead, it changes the color just slightly and gives it a rainbow effect. On Jet it makes a strong rainbow effect.
Comet Argent Light (aka CAL)
This crystal effect has a bright silvery finish.
When applied to the whole crystal (i.e. 2X), the crystal effects will make the crystal look like a silver bead that does not tarnish.
When applied to half of a bead, it looks very interesting, with half the bead looking like silver and the rest taking the color of the crystal itself.
The Silver Shade finish is a silvery coating applied to the base crystal.
It gives the crystal a subtle hint of vintage silver as well as endorsing the crystal with super shine.
Special Crystal Effects
This is also non-transparent coating.
When seen through clear crystal, it takes on a deep blue tone.
When seen directly on the surface of the finish it is a dark navy blue.
This finish is not normally used on colored crystal though it can be.
Vitrail Medium and Vitrail Light
These non-transparent coatings are Ultra-shinny and it will produce different colors depending on how & where the light hits the surface. When the coating is seen through clear crystal, it takes on strong red and green tones. These finishes are not normally used on colored crystal though it sometimes is.
Vitrail Light is just lighter in tone.
An extremely striking finish. Hard to tell from photos but it is silvery on the outside. However when seen through the crystal, it takes strong purple and red tones (like a volcano). Normally though not necessariy, it is used on clear crystal.
Codes for Swarovski Crystal Effects
The incredible Swarovski crystal effects and finishes are produced using a vacuum metal coating process. It is applied on the surface of the crystal, either in the front (top) or on the reverse (bottom) sides. Depending on the application methods employed, these processes can either produce a surface effect, a translucent effect, and/or special surface effects. This vacuum coating process can be applied to clear or colour crystals.
The charts below show the Effect-Codes as used by Swarovski. They can be very helpful when making your purchases from an authorized Swarovski outlet.
|SURFACE EFFECTS||TRANSLUCENT EFFECTS|
|(Vacuum coating on surface)||(Vacuum coating on reverse side. The resultant effect shines through the crystal.)|
|image||Effect Code||effect name||image||Effect Code||effect name|
|AB||Aurore Boreale||BBL||Bermuda Blue|
|CAL||Comet Argent Light||HEL||Heliotrope|
|METBL||Metallic Blue||VL||Vitrail Light|
|METSI||Metallic Silver||VM||Vitrail Medium|
|NUT||Nut (only on Jet)|
|Variations on Surface Effects (suffix code)|
|image||Effect Code Suffix||explanation|
|V||The effect is applied on the reverse.
If a surface effect is normally applied on the front, then this indicates it is applied on the back (e.g. ABV = AB is applied on the back).
Similarly, if a surface effect is normally on the back, then this suffix indicates it has been applied on the front (e.g. VMV=VM being applied on the front).
|Z||The effect is applied to only part of the crystal (e.g. HELZ means that Heliotrope effect was only applied to part of the crystal stone).|
|B||Effect has been applied on 3 sides of a cube shape (e.g. ABB)|
|2x||Effect applied to both sides of stone (e.g. Aurore Boreale 2x aka AB2)|
|Special Surface Effects xxx|
|image||Effect Code||effect name||explanation|
|MAT||Matt Finish||Matt Finish effect results from a chemical matting process to entire surface of crystal. Small variations may occur.|
|FRO||Frosted||The Frosted effect can be done via mechanical process but only on Flat Back Roses.|
|COS||Cosmojet||Cosmojet effect can achieve blackening of single facets of the crystal.|
Do All the Effects Apply to All The Crystals?
In its catalogues, Swarovski classifies its crystal effects and finishes as Ordinary Effects or Special Effects. Currently, Special Effects are only available on (clear) crystals.
Some of the Ordinary Effects are applied only to clear crystals, some to both clear and colour crystals.
The effects are available as partially applied (Half Coating) or fully applied (Full Coating).
This listing will give you a detailed general idea of whether a specific effect is available for a (clear) crystal and/or color crystal.
General Swarovski Price Variations
General Rule of Thumb: Prices vary in ascending amount for the same base article. Full Coatings are always more expensive than Half Coatings.
FYI: “Crystal” below means the Clearly Crystal (001)
- Crystal with Ordinary Effects
- Crystal with Special Effects
- Colours with Ordinary Effects
- Crystal with Full Ordinary
- Colours with Full Ordinary