We all love the sparkle and shine of a rhinestone and there are so many wonderful colours, shapes and effects out there, that the creative potential of what can be achieved with crystals is limited only by your imagination (and maybe your bank balance!).
But how many of us know the details that make one type of crystal different from another? What does "AB" stand for and how is it different from "Shimmer"? When browsing through the rainbow of classic colours on our website, it can be difficult to decide which direction to go in and that’s before you start factoring in the various effects, that create additional variations of the original colours.
Did you know that a simple idea like “I want a red rhinestone.” Can lead you down a path that will present you with no fewer than twenty possible options? It can be a lot to consider and it could easily be overwhelming to a first time buyer who simply wishes to dabble with a bit of dazzle.
We completely understand this dilemma and have put together this handy guide explaining the bestselling rhinestone effects, designed to help you know your ‘Neon’ from your ‘Electric’ and your coatings from your chromes. We have also gone one step further and taken the time to compare the differences between Serinity, Preciosa and Estella to help give you a better understanding of the best direction to go in when searching for your perfect crystal.
When a colour has no effectin or on it, it is the standard version of that colour. Classic ‘Crystal’ (Foiled) is where the glass is completely colourless, and you can see straight through to the silver foiling on the back. The foil is reflective like the back of a mirror and helps the multi-faceted laser-cut glass sparkle to its fullest potential. If a crystal is a colour from the standard range this means the glass itself is coloured and the silver foiling on the back is there to both enhance the boldness of the colour and prevent it from being see through and therefore affected by what ever colour is behind it.
Standard rhinestone colours can be found in all three sections on our website and there are multiple examples where the same name is used by all three brands. However, because Serinity, Preciosa and Estella are all completely separate manufacturers, from different countries and all using their own colour formulas, there is no obligation to perfectly colour match each other. Just like paint manufacturers, they achieve their own unique balance of shade, richness and tone when aiming for any given colour. Therefore, when searching for a colour match online we strongly recommend purchasing the colour charts, so that you can see physical examples of the crystals for side-by-side comparison, or you can purchase colour samples from our website to help you make a fully informed choice.
A Good example showing how the same name is used, but the physical result varies across the brands is ‘Blue Zircon’. The Preciosa version of ‘Blue Zircon’ looks lighter and brighter compared to the more sombre Serinity version and then Estella’s ‘Blue Zircon’ looks more like a green than a blue; resembling a light version of Preciosa’s ‘Emerald’ or a deeper shade of ‘Shamrock’. Because ‘Blue Zircon’ is essentially mostly Blue but contains a touch of green, the three brands have interpreted the colour each in their own way. Therefore, if you are substituting one brand with another it is worth the time it takes to check first.
‘AB’ is short for ‘Aurora Borealis’, also known as the Northern Lights. This spectacular natural phenomenon is mimicked by this crystal effect, which has an iridescent coating that covers the top of the crystal, making it shimmer like the rainbow. The AB effect can look different depending on the brand, Serinity AB shimmers predominantly in hues of pink with subtler notes of blue. When this effect is applied over the top of a coloured crystal, for example ‘Light Siam’, you can still see the red underneath but there is a noticeable pink and blue shine to it as it hits the light. If you are curious to see this effect and compare for yourself, you could try our sample service or buy our comparison kit.
Just like Serinity, Preciosa has an AB version of every colour in the standard range however their version shimmers mostly in shades of yellow and blue. An interesting illusion that results from the AB effect; is that the rhinestone looks more three dimensional, because the coating enhances the visibility of every facet on the stone by making them less transparent. This extra dimension makes the crystal look more sparkly, because even the side of the stone that is not being hit by direct light is still shimmering. Standard colours rely solely on the cut glass sparkling in direct light, making it more delicate in appearance compared to its AB counterpart.
Before you conclude that this means AB is always better; it is worth remembering that the AB coating affects the visibility of the underlying colour, so if you are seeking a bold solid colour that delicately twinkles in the light, standard might be your preferred choice.
The AB effect can also be found across the Estella range and their version of AB is slightly more opaque and noticeably bluer in hue. The effect of Estella’s AB coating is strong enough to make red ‘Siam AB’ resemble ‘Fuchsia AB’ and ‘Jet AB’ will shimmer more like ‘Sapphire’.
These naturally occurring variations between the brands means you can make your choice depending on what kind of AB effect you want; mostly pink is iconic of Serinity, Preciosa is great if you want a yellow sheen to your embellishment and Estella is the best choice if you want a cool blue tint across your finished project.
The ‘Shimmer’ Effect is very similar to AB but is more subtle in opaqueness and tends to shine in tones of yellow and blue instead of pink making ‘Shimmer’ a delicate middle ground between any crystals classic colour and its bold AB alternative. These slight tone variations can build up to make a big difference on large projects and knowing all your choices will help you choose the right effect for your intended look. This Crystal effect is mostly unique to Swarovski Crystals with the exception of a few pendants from Estella, this should make your options easier to narrow down if you decide Shimmer is the effect you want.
Some crystal colours will have an ‘Unfoiled’ or Transparent’ option, where the silver foiling on the back is not present. Unless the colour of the crystal is opaque (like ‘Jet’) this means you will be able to see through to the colour behind it. This can be useful when you want added sparkle but no colour, like gems on a bridal veil or in jewellery making when you know the back of the stone will be visible.
This coating gives a chrome metallic finish, making it best for when you want a look that shines like actual metal instead of coloured glass rhinestone. Popular examples include ‘Rose Gold’ and ‘Light Chrome’ for a truly metallic finish and ‘Jet Hematite’ which also uses the same effect to get a dark silver sheen over the classic black stone.
Preciosa contains its own variations of metallic effects, providing a wider range of metallic tones that include gold and copper. You will find some cross over between Serinity and Preciosa Flatback Crystals, for example Serinity ‘Light Chrome’ and Preciosa ‘Labrador’ are both light metallic silver, however they are not exactly alike. Preciosa branches out further to include gold in the form of their ‘Aurum’ Crystal with darker shades including ‘Starlight Gold’ and ‘Monte Carlo’. Preciosa’s equivalent of Serinity’s ‘Rose Gold’ is ‘Capri Gold’ as they both have a coppery warmth to them. For Queen Elizabeth’s Platinum Jubileé in May 2022 we uploaded a series of videos featuring a gilded teacup which caused quite a stir… and featured ‘Aurum’ crystals by Preciosa plus a few handy tips on the embellishment process.
Coatings are similarly manufactured to metallic crystals in that their effect is the result of a shiny coating placed over the top of the glass, however there is more than just gold, silver and ‘Jet Hematite’ to choose from. This method specialises in two tone effect styles, this means the glass is one colour and the coating is a different colour, resulting in a spectacular shift in appearance as the stone is tilted from side to side. Popular examples of this from Serinity rhinestones include ‘Paradise Shine’, the ‘DeLite’ colours, ‘Volcano’, ‘Vitrail Medium’ and ‘Vitrail Light’.
Much like Serinity, Preciosa boasts an impressive range of coating options with their own unique tone shifts, a few favourites being ‘Peacock Green’, ‘Lava’, ‘Heliotrope’ and ‘Venus’. Some colours will have the same name in both Serinity and Preciosa, however they are not guaranteed to look exactly the same. If you are at all unsure, we recommend either purchasing rhinestone colour charts for both Serinity and Preciosa or ordering samples of the same colour from multiple collections.
We recently posted a series of tutorials and livestreams on our social media channels, where we embellished a violin entirely with Preciosa rhinestones in ‘Volcano’. This crystal appears purple from one angle and changes to yellow as it bends around the curves of the instrument with spectacular results.
This effect has a layer of coloured lacquer on the back of the rhinestone instead of silver foiling. The absence of the silver backing does mean there is a slight loss of twinkle, however it is traded for boldness of colour and is the secret behind the ‘Royal’ and ‘Electric’ colours in Serinity. You will also find a few lacquered crystals that also have a coating effect over the top creating a really unique shimmering effect, great examples of this are ‘Royal Red Delight’ and ‘Silky Sage DeLite’.
Preciosa also contains several lacquered stones and these can be observed easily on the Preciosa Crystal Colour Chart, thanks to the clear plastic page that the crystals are displayed on. This means you can look at all the crystals at the same time as well as the backs, easily through the clear plastic. Preciosa’s lacquered crystals are primarily their ‘Neon’ colours and ‘Deep Sea’ crystal and the rest of the range are standard grey on the back because of the foiled backing. In early 2022 we were inspired by the Oscars and the theme of movie glamour to bedazzle a vintage style clapper board with ‘Neon White’ Estella Crystals.
Nothing grabs the attention quite like ‘Neon’ and the ‘Electric’ colours from Serinity rhinestones feature bold hits of pink, orange, yellow, green, blue and violet. These bright lacquered colours are already perfectly suited for festivals and nightclubs but they contain a secret superpower… place them under UV light and they glow brighter than ever, guaranteeing your place at the heart of the party.
The ‘Neon’ colours can also be found in the Preciosa Flatback Crystals range and they shine just as brilliantly under UV light for that ultra-bold fashion statement. When placed side by side there are some slight variations in shade and tone compared to the ‘Electric’ colours by Serinity; most notably ‘Neon Blue’ is darker than ‘Electric Blue’, ‘Neon Green’ is slightly warmer in tone than ‘Electric Green’ and finally ‘Electric Orange’ leans a bit more towards peach compared to Preciosa ‘Neon Orange’.
Estella’s range of neon colours are noticeably more pastel in tone and do not glow under UV light, however they include more colour options such as ‘Neon Peach’ and ‘Neon Rose’ on top of the options provided by Serinity and Preciosa. Therefore, if you want the brightness of neon but with a more delicate tint to your colours, Estella is definitely worth considering.
During the Easter celebrations of spring 2022 we embellished many ornate eggs, one of which was speckled with the Serinity ‘Electric Mix’ in a gloriously random scatter style. Take a closer look at how the ‘Electric’ colours brightly pop and enjoy their dazzling transformation at the flick of a light switch.
Opal Crystals are foiled like the standard coloured stones, however the glass itself is pigmented in such a way that it appears translucent or ‘milky’. The result of this is a thickness of colour that is almost like the lacquered crystals but because it is foiled, it is able to retain more of its twinkle. A good example that highlights the difference is White Opal and Electric White. They are both the same colour, but the finish is subtly different with ‘White Opal’ looking more like milk and ‘Electric White’ glistening like snow. The availability of opal colours extends beyond Flatback Crystals into the Beads and Fancy Stones, making them perfect for statement jewellery and clothing embellishment.
Preciosa currently supplies the largest selection of Opal colours in their Flatback Crystals compared to the other brands (SS2022), including shades such as ‘Rose Opal’, ‘Light Sapphire Opal’ and ‘Chrysolite Opal’. These all stand out as being the pastel options of the collection and are perfectly suited to Spring or baby themed colour schemes. Estella also offers several Opal shades that continue to be generally pastel, however compared to Preciosa the colours are slightly richer. ‘White Opal’ is exceptionally popular around Christmas time, matched only by the reliably popular ‘Light Siam’ and ‘Emerald’. During that most festive time of year we posted a series of comparison videos offering colour scheme inspiration including this video that had us dreaming of Sugarplum Fairies.
As you can see there is a near limitless selection of options out there, designed to give you the best chance possible of selecting the specific style of rhinestone that best suits your perfect needs. If you are aiming for the highest possible impact in terms of quality and sparkle, we recommend our best-selling brand Serinity Crystals.
These crystals are manufactured in Austria and are equivalent in quality to the famously exclusive Swarovski Crystals. Serinity also features that illusive Xillion and Xirius Rose Cut on several sizes of their flat back crystals. This cut of stone includes an extra quantity of facets in its design, giving the crystal a maximised ability to catch the light from every possible angle, sparkling on a level superior to that of the more affordable Chaton Rose Cut Crystal.
Preciosa Crystals come from the historical Crystal Valley in the Czech Republic and are a very strong competitor Brand. They provide a similarly impressive range of options in flat back crystals, beads, pendant, pearls and jewellery components. This range is going from strength to strength in the fashion world and is just as impactful on both large- and small-scale projects.
We do our best to ensure that we have a choice for every budget, while still providing the best option the market has to offer. After extensive searching, we are proud to offer Estella Crystals as the most affordable brand from our collection and you’ll find a beautiful rainbow of colours available and a refreshing variety of crystal shapes.
If you have any further questions about any project specific details we are always happy to offer some advice, feel free to contact our friendly Customer Service Team via Live Chat, Email or Telephone. We also have highly active social media feeds on Instagram, Youtube and TikTok where you can speak directly with our Bluestreak Crystals Studio Creative Team and your question might even become the feature of a future video tutorial!
Whatever your creative ambition may be, we hope you’ll agree that you can trust Bluestreak Crystals to offer you the best selection, service and support for every stage of your crystal journey. The easiest choice of all, is to buy from Bluestreak Crystals, it's crystal clear to choose us.