Rhinestones have a glittering past. Originally rhinestones where referred to Czechoslovakian
or Bohemian glass dating as far back as the 13th century in Bohemia and the Czech Republic.
Both have a history steeped in beautiful hand blown glass as well as molded and cut glass.
By 1918 glass was no longer limited to functional items. Czechoslovakian glass began to make
its appearance in dazzling and brilliant jewelry. This Czech glass became known as
Rhinestones were manmade gems from highly refined glass. By using various metals the glass
was colored to the desired shade. It was then pressed into molds. Each stone was then ground
and polished by machine, resulting in a brilliant glass stone. Often the stones were foiled
on the back which increased their brilliance.
Rhinestones have played an important role in costume jewelry for hundreds of years. It is
used to enhance and accent, and sometimes rhinestones will provide the entire design. During
the Victorian period common motifs for jewelry included snakes, flowers, and hands most
often adorned with rhinestones.
The 1890s were a time for extravagant jewelry heavily adorned with rhinestones. As time
moved forward designs became simpler with figural shapes once again making their fashion
statement. However this time they were small and more elegant with small rhinestone accents.