About Rhinestones and Their
Rhinestones are bits of faceted
glass. Glass beads, as well as gems, were used and revered by the
ancients. Many centuries ago in Europe,
"paste" (brilliant, clear, hand cut glass, sometimes layered with a thin
slice of diamond) was used to create the illusion of "the real thing."
The original "rhinestones" (pebbles
of rock crystal) came from the river Rhine. These Rhine-Stones gave
way to mass-produced glass rhinestones. Most are backed with gold,
silver, or tinted foil, or tin, to simulate dazzling gem colors.
Finer rhinestones are hand-faceted and polished, many are hand-set within
prongs. Unfoiled rhinestones usually have a high lead content creating
fire and sparkle. These are referred to as crystals. Austria
and the former Czechoslovakia are noted for crystals.