Rhinestones are faux gems that are usually made from either crystal, glass crystal, glass or plastic (acrylic). These sparkling appliques can be used to embellish clothing or costumes, and also used in jewelry making for earrings, necklaces, bracelets and more. Rhinestones became a popular choice for costume jewelry in the 1920s. Fashionable women loved that rhinestones mimicked luxury jewels for less, and the rhinestone trend was born. Today, rhinestones are extremely popular in statement necklaces, stunning earrings, and sparkling bracelets.
If you are new to working with rhinestone beads, you may feel overwhelmed. Rhinestones require a specific set of tools and skills unlike other jewelry making techniques, and there are many pros and cons to using them.
First, rhinestone materials can make a big difference in their quality. Swarovski Rhinestones are absolutely the finest stones available, and are the standard against which all other rhinestones are judged. Czech (and some Asian) Cut-Crystal stones are very close in quality to Swarovski® Austrian Cut-Crystal stones, and are typically a little cheaper. Molded 'crystal' Stones are molded into shape rather than cut, which degrades the quality. Glass stones may be either cut or molded. Cut glass stones are probably somewhat higher-quality than molded 'crystal' stones, but lesser-quality than cut 'crystal' stones. The lowest quality rhinestones are Acrylic stones, which are molded plastic, and not worth discussing for stage performance.
For a specialty project using wholesale rhinestone beads, Swarovski or Czech crystals are highly recommended to have the best quality project. If the project is for children or a beginning crafter, there’s no harm in using Acrylic or glass rhinestones. It’s up to your preference and the type of project you are creating.
Each material of rhinestone comes in a few different types. The most traditional type is sew-on rhinestones. These stones have two holes on opposite ends of the stone so they can be sewn onto a garment. Other rhinestone beads use findings – either pre attached or attached by the crafter. They are affixed to the garment with setters, either a plunger setter or stapler setter. These types of rhinestone setting options can be slightly difficult or time consuming to complete.
The most modern type of wholesale rhinestone beads is hot-fix rhinestones they are backed with a special glue and are set using an iron or a special Hot Fix applicator tool. The tool picks up the stone, heats it and melts the glue, and allows you to quickly and easily apply the stone to the fabric. This method is very easy and quick, as well as being accurate. Simple flatback rhinestones can also be applied using craft or fabric glue.
Rhinestones can also come in a cup chain, which makes a long strand of rhinestones perfect for use in jewelry making. Rhinestone cup chains can easily be turned in to beautiful earrings, necklaces, and bracelets.
Though rhinestones are a beautiful selection for many crafting projects, there are a few cons. First, they require a special set of skills and tools. Unlike most jewelry making, you need more than just a few tools and wires. Jewelry with rhinestones requires special setting tools and findings, or perhaps special glue or a special hot fix tool. An easy way to get over this problem is select one type of rhinestones you prefer to work with and purchase all the tools for that type. This makes it easier to select rhinestone projects and also easier to shop for rhinestones and rhinestone tools.
It’s important to take the project into consideration when selecting types of rhinestones. For example, rhinestones cannot be glued into leather, water resistant material and non porous surfaces, but other fabrics work well. Not all rhinestones work for all types of projects, and most types of rhinestone jewelry we are familiar with use settings as opposed to glue or hot fix. You may have to use a more difficult technique to obtain the look you want, but it’s worth it for a beautiful rhinestone jewelry piece!