Swarovski FAQ — Part 3

In Part 1, we discussed the use and application of HotFix and No HotFix crystals, Ceralun and Swarovski Crystal Mesh. In Part 2, we described the most popular Swarovski crystals and application with the use of glue and self-adhesive films. However, in this part we will focus on mechanical application, soldering, stone setting and crystals for sewing. In addition, we will answer few questions received from our customers regarding Swarovski crystals and pearls.

Swarovski crystals

How to apply Swarovski crystals?

— continuation from previous article: Swarovski FAQ — Part 2

3. Manual and mechanical application.

Many Swarovski products are suitable for applying manually or mechanically, using semi or fully automatic devices, which create a permanent bond between the product and the material. Examples include Rivets, Rose Pins, and 3D Studs, used in jewelry making, accessories and textile industry. For specific application, the appropriate arrangement of dies in relation to the product and material should be taken into account, as well as the space between the elements to prevent their damage. Additionally, the use of protective eyewear is recommended during mechanical application.

a) Swarovski Rivets.

Rivets are the perfect solution for extremely secure bonding, which can be used not only on jewelry, but also on belts, bags, shoes, or denim and leather garments. Rivets come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and can be used with, or without backs, on materials 1.5 mm to 3 mm thick. When applying on thinner fabrics, it is better to use larger backs, and for thick and multi-layer fabrics, use smaller backs. The offer includes round metal rivets decorated with shiny Xirius Chatons, Xilion Chatons, Cabochon Rivets, Xirius Rose Flat Backs, Square Rivets, as well as sharp and metallic glam-punk Spike Rivets, which have become a hit in rock fashion, decorating jeans, jackets, shoes, belts and collars. When selecting rivets, application method and equipment, it is important to check the thickness of the fabric and also to test in advance to adjust the pressure during application. In the case of very thick materials and leather or fabrics arranged in layers, it is worth punching a hole in advance to apply rivets, to avoid crinkling of the material. When using fly press, the appropriate combination of dies should be selected and seated straight and firm to the product in order to avoid problems with the application.

b) Swarovski Rose Pins.

Rose Pins consist of spectacular Xilion or Xirius crystals placed in hooks and glued underside to steel pins. The application is very simple and consists in punching the pins through the material, using a semi-automatic or fully automatic attaching machines with a vacuum pump, that allows easy picking up and placing of pins. Such an application system ensures a very safe and invisible grip. The product has increased durability and resistance to corrosion, therefore it is often used to decorate items, that are exposed to regular wear and tear. Examples include bags, clothing and even furniture. Pins combine functionality with the phenomenal shine of crystals, making them a favorite in the leather and footwear segment. The material thickness recommended for Rose Pins is 1-2 mm. When choosing a specific model from the range of Rose Pins, you should take into account the thickness of the material and carry out test before each application, to adjust the pressure.

c) Swarovski 3D Studs.

3D Studs are perfect for creating 3D decorations and adding texture to jewelry, accessories and clothing. The product is available in several heights, in many colors, effects and forms. There are also two types of crystals to choose from: crystal and cabochon. The studs are also applied with a mechanical press, but in this case a vacuum pump integrated with the die is required, which holds the back part in place. When choosing a product, consider the thickness of the material, and before starting the application, it is recommended to perform tests, especially on stretch fabrics.
types of rivets
Swarovski rivets
 Swarovski crystals flat back
3D studs
Swarovski studs
Swarovski belt
belt with crystals
Swarovski jacket
Swarovski wholesale
Swarovski rose pins

Problems that appear after mechanical application:

  • the product is not perfectly attached to the carrier material,
  • fabric crinkles,
  • crystals break.
The above problems may be caused by:
  • too low or high pressure during application,
  • wrong dies used,
  • improper position of die,
  • product not suitable for material thickness,
  • use of an inappropriate back part, regarding type of product and material.
4. Soldering.

Another method used for applying Swarovski stones is soldering. Silvexcraft offers a wide selection of products for soldering and silver solder, that allow to create jewelry using crystals in a simple and quick way. When soldering, make sure that the components are clean and especially free of grease. Also pay attention to the right amount of solder wire or solder paste, because too much solder can flood the crystal, damaging or discoloring it, while too little — will prevent soldering of the elements. Remove the excess solder as soon as possible, as it will facilitate the polishing process and possible galvanization. When soldering, avoid a sudden drop in temperature, as this may damage the crystal by cracking or chipping. Additionally, it is recommended to use protective clothing, eyewear and gloves, as well as adequate ventilation of the room during application. When soldering ready Swarovski Cupchain products, that have already been integrated into metal settings, use solders with a temperature of up to 280 °C.

The most common problems appearing while soldering are caused by:

  • unsuitable solder used — most often due to its melting point,
  • too little or too much solder used,
  • too long or short exposure to flame,
  • inadequate distance between flame and soldered element.
5. Stone setting.
The stones settings are based on their safe placing in settings, usually made of metal. Crystals can be set by hand, by loosely placing the crystal in the prong settings with pliers or tweezers, and then bending the claws in such a way, that they block the crystal from sliding out. Clenched claws should barely touch the crystal, as too tight clamp may damage its surface. In addition, the length of the claws is important, so that they properly hold the crystal and also do not cover its shine. Dedicated settings such as bezel settings should be matched to the crystal in terms of shape and size, because too tight setting or its inadequate form may damage the protective foil or varnish, which may lead to corrosion. An important aspect is also the functionality of setting, for example, if you plan to sew it, you should make sure, that it has holes that facilitate the passage of the needle and aesthetic attachment to the fabric. Crystals after placing in settings can be sewn, soldered, applied mechanically or connected directly with other elements, such as jump rings, clasps, ear wires, bails or chains. The prong settings usually have four claws, but we can also find with three claws — silver bail, six claws — zirconia earrings, eight claws — earrings with crystals, and more decorative ones — earring making supplies for crystals.
crystal earrings
Swarovski zirconia
Swarovski heart pendant
jewelry settings
Swarovski scarabaeus
In addition to settings for embedding and clamping, we also find bezels for gluing dedicated to Swarovski crystals. Our offer includes a wide selection of silver 925 settings designed for crystals and pearls:
  • Xirius Chaton 1088,
  • Fancy Stone 4320,
  • Cushion Square Fancy Stone 4470,
  • Oval Rivoli Fancy Stone 4122,
  • Twister Fancy Stone 4485,
  • Rivoli Flower Fancy Stone 4744,
  • Rivoli Star Fancy Stone 4745,
  • Cube Fancy Stone 4841,
  • Heart Flat Back 2808,
  • Butterfly Flat Back 2854.
infinity connector
cross pendant
necklace making
 jewelry findings
Swarovski jewellery

The most common problems with crystal deposition are:

  • mismatched crystal setting — too small, large, tight, shallow, deep,
  • too strong or weak setting claws clamping.
6. Swarovski for sewing.

The Swarovski company also offers crystals for sewing, which can be easily applied by hand or with standard domestic sewing machines and industrial sewing or embroidery machines. For sewing crystals, it is worth choosing a strong thread, and in the case of heavier products — a nylon-coated jewelry wire. Synthetic multifilament threads are recommended for sewing crystal buttons and beads, while monofilament yarns and pure cotton should be avoided, due to their limited abrasion resistance.

  • The most popular handmade methods include techniques such as:
  • knitting,
  • crocheting,
  • weaving,
  • macrame,
  • felting,
  • beading,
  • wire wrapping,
  • milling,
  • threading,
  • settings,
  • epoxy resin.
Swarovski crystals for sewing are available as Standard Collection:
  • Beads,
  • BeCharmed & Pavé,
  • Pearls,
  • Pendants.
Swarovski sew-on stones:
  • Twist 3221,
  • Drop 3230,
  • Square 3240.
sew on rhinestones
manual sewing
jewelry making supplies
Swarovski pearl
Apart from hand application, crystals can also be sewn with a home or industrial sewing machine, that offers a variety of stitches such as straight stitch, zigzag stitch, and a button sewing program, that greatly facilitates and speeds up the decoration of larger clothing and accessory projects. In addition to sewing machines, various fully automatic embroidery machines can also be used for the application.

Which surfaces are not suitable for Swarovski crystals?

The surfaces suitable for applying crystals depend mainly on the types of crystals, but also on the method of their application, and the way in which the end product is used.
  • Swarovski HotFix crystals are not suitable for application on tightly woven, thin materials such as tulle, smooth leather, leather imitations, waterproof coatings, teflon, silicone, as well as colored with metallic pigments, enzymatically treated and finished with fluorocarbon. In addition, the HotFix application is not used on low-absorbency surfaces — find out how to test in the article: Swarovski FAQ — Part 1.
    If it is not possible to use HotFix crystals, ColdFix is recommended, which is most often used on materials sensitive to heat and pressure. Examples include leather, wool, lycra, polyester and various technical materials.
  • Swarovski No HotFix crystals can be applied to most materials and surfaces, but most important is to choose the right glue.
  • Swarovski Mesh can be applied to materials that are suitable for hand or machine sewing, while in case of Crystal Fine Mesh it is recommended only and exclusively hand sewing, because the crystals are placed very close to each other, so there is a risk of damaging the adjacent crystals.
  • No Flat Backs are best applied in made-to-measure bases, most often silver or gold, with the use of glue or stone setting method.
  • Flat Backs also called cabochons, can be used on most surfaces, but the key issue here is to choose the right glue. When using a UV glue, it is important that at least one of the elements (the crystal or the material that is bonded with the crystal) is transparent, so it can pass the UV rays. Read more about gluing in Swarovski FAQ — Part 1.
Regardless of which method you choose, before starting each application on textiles and hard surfaces, it is recommended to carry out tests, because sometimes the material may be coated with plastic admixtures, that will make it difficult or impossible to apply correctly. Furthermore, an absorbency test is recommended for HotFix crystals, and a marker test when gluing crystals to hard surfaces such as paper, metal or glass — both methods are covered in Part 1.

Why does the foil rub off the crystals?

The Swarovski foiling means covering its underside with a mirror coating, in order to increase the amount of reflected light, which emphasizes the gloss. In addition, the foil protects the crystals from chemical reactions — when gluing, and mechanical reactions – when placed in cavities or other settings. The foil increases the strength of the crystals, extends their lifetime, and protects against reactions taking place in contact with sweat, perfumes, cosmetics and UV rays. Foiling is used on Round Stones, Fancy Stones, Flat Backs and crystals for sewing. Foiled crystals are most often used for gluing into settings, sewing on, or in case of flat-bottomed crystals — for gluing to flat surfaces. In these configurations, the foil-covered part should be covered by the inside of the base, or the surface to which it is attached, so that there is no risk of damaging the crystal from external influences. There are cases of damaging the foil covering the underside of the crystal, but usually this is the case when the wrong glue has been used (often with too high shrinkage, which causes the foil to break while curing) or the crystal has been placed in the wrong setting, which was too large or too small. The foil does not cover beads, pendants and pearls, because these crystals usually hang loosely after application, which makes them more prone to scratching, abrasion, chipping or other damage. In this case, non-foiled crystals are used, which are perfect for open forms, such as hanging pendants, through which the penetrating light creates an eye-catching effect of delicacy. Another example is bead or pearl bracelets, as well as designs where we want the material to be visible under the crystal. Examples include various meshes and fabrics and other decorative surfaces.

What crystals can be applied to underwear?

Depending on the material the underwear is made of, whether it is sports underwear made of lycra, or elegant and delicate lace, it will be safest to use Swarovski No HotFix or ColdFix crystals, as HotFix may not bond tightly to the material, as well as the material may get damaged under the influence of temperature or excessive pressure. Underwear can also be decorated with Crystal Rocks and Crystal Fine Rocks motifs, Pearls, Beads 5000, Flat Back crystals for sewing 3230 or Rivoli 3200. When applying crystals for gluing, use an adhesive, that is suitable for use on textiles, and also does not react with washing detergents. When deciding to apply by manual sewing, it is worth choosing a reinforced thread, so it does not tear during washing. Textiles decorated with Swarovski crystals are recommended to be washed by hand, at a maximum temperature of 30 °C, using a small amount of mild laundry detergent. However, if it is necessary to wash in a washing machine, if possible, turn the product inside out and place it in a protective bag. Also wash at a maximum of 30 °C, with the use of a small amount of mild laundry detergent. Do not spin, do not dry in the dryer, do not iron. Dry by hand, flat or gently wringing in a towel.

Why did the crystal change color or became dull?

The most common reason for matting or discoloration of the crystal is the excess of glue, that has been smeared on the crystal surface. Unfortunately, the glue excess is difficult to remove after drying. In some cases, it can be cleaned with the use of nail polish remover and then polishing it with a polishing cloth. Unfortunately, not all adhesives can be removed after drying without damaging the crystal, so to avoid this problem in the future, remove excess adhesive during application, preferably with
a cotton cloth dipped in acetone or isopropyl alcohol.
It is also worth getting a dispenser, in order to more accurately measure and glue application.

Another reason for changing the appearance of the crystal may be galvanization after deposition of a crystal not suitable for this process. To avoid this problem, use metal plating on components before stone setting.

Why did the crystal fall off without foiling?

There are several reasons, that may cause the crystal to separate from the foil:

  • the wrong glue was used, possibly with a high degree of shrinkage, which damaged the foil during setting and caused its adhesion to the crystal to decline,
  • the glue gap was not completely filled with glue, so oxygen penetrated between the crystal and the mirror and caused oxidation,
  • in case of using two-component glue, the wrong proportions were used, so the glue did not achieve the correct bond strength,
  • the adhesive has changed its properties under the influence of contact with unsuitable cleaning agents.

Why did the crystal come off with the foil?

The most common reasons for detachment of the crystal are:

  • the use of an inadequate setting, so the bottom of the crystal did not fully adhere to its surface,
  • the application surface was dirty or greasy, so the crystal did not obtain adequate adhesion,
  • too little glue was used,
  • the recommended lifetime with the adhesive was exceeded, therefore it has hardened before it bonded with the crystal,
  • the wrong glue was used,
  • the glue was stored improperly,
  • the end product was used before the glue has fully hardened.

Swarovski pearls – durability and resistance to damage

Swarovski pearls are built on the basis of a patent developed over the years by a team of specialists. They consist of a crystal core covered with several coatings, thanks to which they look and feel like real pearls. Many years of testing and experience have made them resistant to abrasion, scratches, and the influence of external factors such as: UV radiation, perfumes, cosmetics and sweat. Pearls should be wiped occasionally with a soft damp cloth with little mild soap, and then allowed to dry. Avoid polishing cloths, as well as agents containing acetone and solvents, because there is a high risk of dissolving its attractive outer coating. However, it should be remembered, that despite the pearls having a protective coating, they should be treated as any other jewelry, by avoiding or minimizing their contact with cosmetics, detergents and other chemicals, as well as UV rays and moisture. It is also important to store them in containers designed for jewelry. Because Swarovski Pearls meet the highest standards of durability, they are often chosen for jewelry design, decorating textiles and interior decoration. Discover the beauty of them in the article: Swarovski pearls — beauty, durability and innovation.

Swarovski offers a wide selection of top-quality crystals, which has made the company synonymous with authentic crystals. Patents developed and improved over the years, subjected to rigorous quality control, guarantee maximum precision, perfect form and unique brilliance of the products, which is why they have become so widely used in the jewelry, accessories, clothing, footwear and interior decoration segments. In this article we discussed the most popular Swarovski crystals, methods of their application and answered the most frequently asked questions by our customers. If, after reading Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3, you still have questions or concerns regarding Swarovski products, feel free to ask in comments below.

Swarovski 5810 crystal mystblkprl, 8,0 mm

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