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Brooch costume jewelry with rhinestones
Rhinestone diadem

Strass (also Stras ) refers to glass stones made of leaded glass flux ( enamel ), which have been used as imitations of diamonds since the 18th century . In the past, these were also known as simili , in English still today as rhinestone , because crystals from the Rhine were used as the first diamond imitations. "STRASS" has been a registered trademark of Swarovski KG since 1998 .

Rhinestones are similar to diamonds in terms of luster and color distribution , but without having the same refractive index and hardness .


In the 18th century at the court of Louis XV. a great need for jewelry, which greatly encouraged the spread of the stones. The Alsatian inventor and jeweler Georg Friedrich Strass (French: Georges Frédéric Strass) (1701–1773) devoted himself to the manufacture of diamond imitations in his own factory in Paris from 1730. He had great success with it and was allowed to call himself the king's jeweler since 1734 .

The name pierres de strass ("stones of rhinestones") became common in the German-speaking world in the abbreviation "rhinestone" as a synonym for diamond imitations.

In addition, cut lead crystal glass for chandelier trimmings is also known as rhinestones.

Material properties

The rhinestone has a Mohs hardness of 5 and contains red lead (Pb 3 O 4 ), which prevents the annoying green color of the glass. The underside of the stone is usually covered with a reflective layer ( foiled ), which, in conjunction with the faceting, leads to a rich refraction of light.

Colorless rhinestones can also be vaporized with metal oxides , which leads to an iridescent play of colors due to the refraction and interference of the light at the interface . Multi-colored rhinestones that are cut and mirrored on the back are also known as Rhine pebbles . However, this term is misleading because it actually stands for a variety of the mineral quartz or rock crystal, which are found as unrolled pebbles in the rubble carried along by the Rhine.


Nowadays, rhinestones are used as costume jewelry and to trimmings on clothing.

Hotfix or hot glue rhinestones

Hotfix or hot glue rhinestones are a further development of rhinestones. These are provided with a thermal adhesive on the back, which liquefies at approx. 120 ° C and bonds to the carrier material when it is placed on it. With this development, rhinestones can be ironed on or applied . Hot glue is used on fabric, wood, suede and porous surfaces in general. It is not suitable for smooth surfaces such as plastic. This type of material is in great demand in the textile industry for competition dance and costume design.


Web links

Commons : Strass  - collection of images, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: Strass  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market - Trade mark information STRASS
  2. ^ Walter Schumann: Precious stones and gemstones. All species and varieties in the world. 1600 unique pieces . 13th revised and expanded edition. BLV Verlags-GmbH., Munich et al. 2002, ISBN 3-405-16332-3 , p. 23 .
  3. Swarovski Hotfix application. Swarovski , accessed July 25, 2018 .