Sep 192011

Giftware suite was a division of Swarovski primarily in business in the 1980’s through the early 1990’s.  Giftware Suite is most well-known for the Swarovski Christmas ornaments.  However, the Swarovski Giftware Suite division can also be credited with a number of other popular crystal products, like useful desk objects.

One such crystal figure was the Swarovski Giftware Suite  Letter Opener.  The Giftware Suite letter opener was marketed and sold in three different colors: red, green and black.  All the letter openers were identified with a single Swarski part number 72809.  While I was not able to locate official introduction or retirement dates, a Swarovski Block SC logo would indicate an introduction date of 1988 or earlier.  A Swarovski Swan logo would indicate a production date 1989 or later.  And the fact that Giftware Suite seemed to cease in 1992, would indicate retirement no later than 1992.

Swarovski Giftware Suite Letter Opener

Swarovski Giftware Suite Letter Opener

Now, with some background information about the Swarovski Giftware Suite division and Swarovski letter opener, I share the news about the letter opener prototype that arrived at Crystal Exchange America in the course of a transaction.  The letter opener was packaged in an original Swarovski box.  For the Giftware Suite products, the box was mostly white.  This Swarovski box even has the correct identification sticker on the lid. When I removed the foam and letter opener from the box, I was surprised to see that it was not painted with red or green or black trim…it was white trim.  Not knowing what to expect, I enquired to the seller for more info on this unusual color.  I learned that a family member was employed by Swarovski many, many years ago and purchased it in an employee clearance sale.  From my understanding, prototypes and discontinued figurines would sometimes be made available to employees at discounted prices, and that was how this one was acquired.  It was not clear how many Swarovski prototypes with white trim were made, but it was never produced for public distribution.

The Giftware Suite letter opener was sold separately and as a part of an executive desk set.  Other items in the executive desk set include a ball point pen, bookmark, letter opener, and card holder.

Crystal exchange America, located at  has some Giftware Suite figurines available in their online store.  The Christmas Ornaments can be found in the ‘Christmas and Ornaments’ category.  The other more functional units, pendants, and key rings / key chains,  can be found in the ‘Vintage’ category, ‘Giftware Suite’ sub-category.

Dec 142010

Swarovski has produced holiday ornaments dating back to 1981.  The 1981 Snowflake ornament was designed to be either a Christmas ornament or a Christmas pendant since it was attached to a long chain.  Because of the timing a branding at the time, it is the only Swarovski ornament to bear the block SC logo.

Swarovski continued releasing ornaments in 1984, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989 and 1990 before settling in to the Swarovski Star / Swarovski Snowflake tradition.  During the years of 1984 -1990, the Swarovski ornaments were issued by their Giftware Suite division and did not contain any type of Swarovski logo.

In 1986, the Swarovski Ornaments were referred to by the company as “Holiday Etchings”.  There were 11 different shapes and sizes of the Swarovski Holiday Etchings.  From the literature I have seen, there were 4 angels, 3 bells, a dove, a peace, a holly, and a snowflake design on various shapes.   The single most important feature of knowing that these were limited editions to the year of 1986, is that the year is etched on these ornaments.  All these 1986 ornaments that I have seen are all in white velvet-like bags and have white Giftware Suite boxes.   All part numbers on the boxes are 5 digit numbers, beginning with “9”.

It is worthwhile to mention that these ornaments do have look-alikes, even made by Swarovski.  Many were made with the same design and shape, but do NOT include the etched 1986 on them, so they were not limited editions.  It has been documented that they were sometimes packaged in red, blue, or green vinyl-like boxes.

Being a few weeks before Christmas, there are countless Swarovski Ornaments listed for sale in the online auctions.  I have a few out there, on behalf of our clients, that have just ended or are ending in the next week.

So all you Swarovski crystal fanatics… if 1986 Swarovski Ornaments are on your wish list this Christmas, make sure that the 1986 is visible on the auction image to ensure that it is truly a limited edition ornament.

Happy Sparkling Holidays from the Kristall Buzz!

Dec 062010

This is the time of year when Swarovski Ornaments are most popular on the secondary market and Ebay auctions.  The current Swarovski 2010 ornament is available as well as very old, hard-to-find, and rare ornaments.

Presently, there is a rare Swarovski Ornament on Ebay:  the 1996 Cadillac Ornament.  The 1996 Cadillac Ornament is a teardrop-shaped Swarovski crystal, customized for the Cadillac company.  It has a Christmas tree etching in the middle.  Below the etching is the word “Cadillac”, and the feature year 1996.  This ornament is in a green box, with a velvet-like lining on the inside.

1996 Swarovski Cadillac Ornament

1996 Swarovski Cadillac Ornament

1996 Swarovski Cadillac Ornament Packaging and Paperwork

1996 Swarovski Cadillac Ornament Packaging and Paperwork

I did find other Cadillac ornaments in addition to the 1996 Swarovski Cadillac ornament on Ebay.  1998 and 1999 Cadillac ornaments were listed, but closed at ‘unsold’.  From my research, I found even more:  1997, 1998, 1999, and 2000.  All the Cadillac ornaments I found utilize the teardrop crystal.  The 1997 Swarovski Cadillac ornament features a snowman in the etching. The 1998 Swarovski Cadillac ornament features bells in the etching.  The 1999 Swarovski Cadillac ornament features a wreath etching.  Lastly, the 2000 Swarovski Cadillac Ornament features a penguin in the etching.  All ornaments contain the word Cadillac, with the issue year below.  All are packaged in similar green boxes, with red interior.

The same Swarovski Crystal teardrop component was used for the 1984 Swarovski Ornament, 1987 Swarovski Ornament, 1989 Swarovski Ornament, and some 1986 Swarovski Holiday Etchings.  The 1987 ornament displays at candle.  The 1989 Ornament displays a dove and the teardrop crystal is framed by gold-tone metal in the shape of Christmas tree.  The 1986 Holiday Etchings display bells, angels, holly, mistletoe, and other designs.  These 11 Holiday Etchings are among the rarest of Swarovski Ornaments.

All these Swarovski ornaments mentioned here (from the 1980’s) have the year etched below the feature design.  They were all released by Swarovski by their “Giftware Suite” division, so they were only available in the USA at the time of production.

Some of these Swarovski Ornaments can be found at the Crystal Exchange America web site.  If you have one of these and wish to sell, now is the time to do it with Swarovski crystal fanatics collectors naturally looking at this time of year.