Feb 102011

Swarovski has long been the industry leader in high quality crystal figurines.  For over 30 years, Swarovski designed and produced clear crystal figurines. Swarovski did not utilize any coloring technique, except for black used on animal eyes or whiskers. Even the colored Swarovski crystal paperweights were clear, with a coloring application applied to the base of the paperweight, which was then covered with felt.

In 1997, the Swarovski SCS Dragon featured gleaming red eyes.  In 1999, the Swarovski Pierrot launched as a clear SCS Annual Edition figurine with some colored accents.  Other Swarovski Annual Editions in the ‘Masquerade’ series, Swarovski Columbine and Swarovski Harlequin, also featured colored accents on the clear crystal figurines.

In 2000, the Swarovski Paradise line was introduced.  The Swarovski Paradise figurines were full of brilliant colors.  And it was this line of Swarovski figurines that opened the doorways to the multitude of colored figurines that are now staples in the crystal brand’s product offerings.  Today, Swarovski Paradise and Swarovski Lovlots do not even use clear components on the figurines.

In 2011, I look at the Swarovski web site, and the variety of Swarovski crystal figurines available, virtually all of new product introductions are colored or are clear with obvious colored accents.  The only Swarovski clear figurines are the ones that have been in the catalogs for a number of years.

Swarovski is now doing makeovers on their older figurines….
  • Butterfly on Leaf, designed by Claudia Schneiderbauer and introduced in 1994,  is being modernized .  The new name is Sparkling Butterfly.  The new feature is the butterfly in Crystal Aurore Boreale.
  • Rose, designed by Michael Stamey, introduced in 1993 and retired in 2007 is being renovated.  The new name is Blossoming Rose.  The new features are the rose petals in Crystal Blush and stem/leaves in Crystal Silver Shade.

The 2011 transformations of the ‘Butterfly on Leaf’ and ‘Rose’ crystal figurines are on the Swarovski web site.  They remain a part of the original theme group “In the Secret Garden”, using the names ‘Sparkling Butterfly’ and ‘Blossoming Rose’ respectively.

A Swarovski 2010 introduction has also been made-over:  Swan, designed by Anton Hirzinger.
The new name is Jet Swan.  The new feature is that it is solid black (jet) instead of clear.  The Swarovski Jet Swan is also pictured on the Swarovski web site.

Of the 2010 releases, the only crystal designs I can think of that were clear are the Swan (remade as the Jet Swan) and 2010 Annual Edition ornament (which was remade in a golden shadow 2010 SCS ornament).  Now, take a look at the remaining Swarovski 2011 introductions that the sneak previews allow Swarovski SCS member access to.  While there a number of new designs with color, I see no new designs in (exclusively) clear crystal.

With respect to crystal figurine designs, it appears that Swarovski is moving in the direction that they feel their customers want.  Personally, I like the colored Swarovski figurines.  However, I do talk to a lot of Swarovski crystal collectors in my business.  Many of those collectors who have been passionately collecting since the 1980’s and 1990’s do miss the classical clear figurines.  It is that generation of the Swarovski collectors who desires some new unique designs implemented in clear crystal. Perhaps Swarovski could create a new theme group within the Silver Crystal line devoted to clear figurines if they wish to entertain Swarovski collector suggestions.  And if it is not Swarovski’s vision to persue those Swarovski enthusiasts, those collectors will continue to purchase retired Swarovski figurines from reputable secondary market Swarovski dealers or check out what is available at the online auctions.