Swarovski crystal is known for its superior quality, making it a popular choice with collectors. Although a range of products is available, Swarovski is especially famous for its animal figurines. These charming items can be whimsical and stylised, cute and funny, lifelike, or a combination of these attributes. They come in a range of shapes, sizes, and prices. It is easy to find a gift for an adult or a child, or to start a collection. Although clear crystal or cut glass is most often associated with these types of figurines, they are available in various colours. Like clear figurines, coloured ones reflect and refract light to create dazzling displays.
Six important factors should be considered before buying Swarovski animals. It is important to understand the history of Swarovski and its range of figurines as this allows the buyer to make excellent purchasing decisions. Knowing what types of animals are available allows buyers to choose the perfect gift or to start cherished collections. Learning what makes this crystal special makes it easier to identify authentic pieces. As with starting any collection, researching the items available is important; know where to look for clear and accurate information. Learn about the logos used to identify pieces and know how to evaluate items on offer to find the best Swarovski animals at the best price. Swarovski animals are available from authorised dealers, Swarovski outlets, secondhand and specialist shops, and from a number of online sources, including eBay.
The Swarovski story starts as far back as 1892 when company founder Daniel Swarovski invented a machine that allowed crystal to be cut more precisely than existing manual methods allowed. In 1895, he established a crystal cutting company in Wattens, Tyrol. The beautiful crystals, cut according to a closely guarded method, were greatly valued by the fashion and jewellery industries.
By 1917 the company started to develop cutting and grinding tools for its own use. Two years later, Swarovski realised that these could be sold to others in the industry and launched the Tyrolit tool subsidiary. By the 1930s the company had expanded its line to include optical lenses. By 1945 the line included spectacle lenses and three years later, binoculars. In 1956, a collaboration with Christian Dior saw the birth of Aurora Borealis crystal, which has a shimmering finish that enhances the sparkle of cut crystal.
In 1965, Swarovski started producing crystals for chandeliers and lighting. The first animal figurine, a mouse, was made out of four chandelier pieces that had been glued together. The Silver Crystal line featuring the first set of animals was launched in 1976. Since then a huge variety of animals have been created and sold worldwide. The company is headquartered in Austria and the crystals are manufactured there. However, there are several production plants across the world. Swarovski products are available for sale in many countries, including France, Germany, Scandinavia, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
Swarovski animals come in a range of shapes and sizes, from mythical and stylised designs to realistic replicas. Size tends to be one of the determining factors when it comes to price. However, some small, intricate pieces may be more expensive due to the amount of detail in the item. Designs include birds; wild animals, such as moose and lions; domestic animals, such as cats,dogs, and horses; and sea creatures, such as dolphins and fish. They come in clear or coloured varieties.
Aside from design characteristics, production features also play a role in price and availability. If an animal is part of a limited edition range, only a certain number of figurines were produced. This usually makes items more sought after, but it depends on the number of pieces produced in the run. Others may be described as retired, which means that they are no longer being produced. If they were recently retired it may still be possible to buy them from primary sources, such as Swarovski retailers and authorised dealers, provided the seller still has stock. It is more common to find retired pieces on the secondary market, for example from eBay sellers.
It is important to understand what sets Swarovski crystal apart from its competitors before shopping for animal figurines, as this makes it easier for the buyer to identify authentic products. Swarovski crystal contains 32 percent lead, which is the highest possible amount that can be added. Crystals are precision cut and polished using patented machinery and methods, producing items with excellent sparkle.
Swarovski crystals are cut in a way that ensures the facets meet perfectly. The height, width, and slope of the crystals are consistent as they are machine cut. The surface of a new piece has no scratches, fogginess, or swirl marks, and a genuine Swarovski item does not have bubbles inside the crystal. Logos and identifying marks can be used for further authentication.
When buying new Swarovski animals, check the presentation box for a silver hologram sticker. This sticker should feature the words "Swarovski Elements" in capital letters. Items produced after 1989 feature the Swarovski Swan logo. Those manufactured before this date have different logos, which may not be visible or may be very faint. The Square Silver Crystal SC logo can be found on items produced between 1976 and 1988. The sCs or SCS logo, which represents the Swarovski Crystal Society, can be found on some items manufactured from 1987 to the present day. Contemporary pieces may also feature the word "Swarovski". It is important to note that smaller items, usually below 30 millimetres, may not be marked, simply because it is impractical to do so. In addition, many items from the 1970s and 1980s do not bear any kind of markings.
Before starting a collection it is important to learn about the items as this gives a clear indication of their market value and desirability. A number of books and guidelines have been published that offer more information about specific lines and retired products. In addition, Swarovski established the Swarovski Crystal Society (SCS) in the late 1980s, which is described as a global community for crystal enthusiasts. Joining the society requires an annual subscription, but allows members access to articles, resources, and limited edition, members only items.
Before buying Swarovski animals, take the time to evaluate their condition. New items should be sealed in the original packaging and should be accompanied by a certificate of authenticity. Retired items are often offered by those who are reducing or selling their collections and are rarely brand new. However, if the collector took good care of the item it should be in excellent condition.
Check for obvious signs of damage, such as chips, cracks, or scratches. Ensure that the finish has not been damaged and that any metal attachments are in place and as they should be, for example whiskers should be present and not bent out of shape. Since some animals have delicate parts, check that these are all intact and undamaged.
When buying used items, the inclusion of the original packaging is not essential and should not affect the price. Where the packaging does come in handy is during postage. The original item packaging is designed to protect that particular item and chances of damage during transit are minimised when the original packaging is used.
eBay is the perfect place to find Swarovski animals for gifts or to start your own collection. To find what you are looking for, simply type a key phrase, such as "Swarovski duck", into the search bar, which can be found on every page, to see the items available from eBay sellers. Narrow your search results by choosing the most appropriate category and item characteristics. Use the advanced search feature for more search options.
Before you buy on eBay, take a few moments to learn all that you can about the item and the seller. All the information that you need to do this can be found on the item listing page, which is accessed by clicking on an individual listing. Look here for details such as the full item description, buying choices, payment options, postage and packaging costs, and the seller's feedback information. Always add postage and packaging costs to the item's final selling price to work out the total cost. If you have any questions for the seller, use the "Ask a question" link. eBay's seller feedback feature allows you to see what other buyers have to say about a specific seller's products and customer service.
Swarovski crystal animals are highly collectible and make excellent gifts for children and adults. Before buying, take the time to learn about the history of Swarovski and the animal range as this makes it easier to authenticate the products on offer. Know what animals are available to find the perfect gift. Choosing a design style is a matter of personal taste. The size and detail of the piece may influence the price. Similarly, the number of items produced in a range affects the rarity value.
Swarovski has a reputation for producing high quality items. Know what features and characteristics to look for to ensure that the item bought is genuine. In addition, logos and certificates of authenticity can be used to determine whether an item was made by Swarovski. A number of resources, such as books, guides, and SCS articles, are available that can teach collectors about the range. Always evaluate items carefully before buying. If they cannot be inspected in person, request photos that show the items' condition clearly. eBay sellers offer a wide selection of Swarovski animals at competitive prices.