You may not like opera but I'll bet many of you love Swarovski crystals. These Austrian made precision cut leaded glass are highly sought after for their brilliant sparkle. They make wonderful diamond substitutes on stage.

The Greek opera diva, Maria Callas (1923-1977)- Aristotle Onassis' mistress before he married Jackie O - commissioned a number of stage pieces from the Milanese atelier Marangoni (now part of the Swarovski group of companies). These pieces were exhibited at the New York Metropolitan Opera in 2007 as shown by the picture above (source).

The designers worked closely with Callas to create jewelry items for more than 600 performances from 1947-1965. Callas had worn their jewelry for her breakout performance and being superstitious continued to wear their Swarovski creations from then on. She considered them amulets and was deeply attached to the jewelry. One of her parure - earrings, necklace and tiara was so sparkly under television lights that she could only wear the earrings for an Ed Sullivan show appearance.

Fast forward several years and Swarovski crystals have made their appearance on stage again. This time in a big way. Dutch designers Victor and Rolf have used the CRYSTALLIZED™ Swarovksi elements for the Baden-Baden, Germany opera, "Der Freisch├╝tz" by Carl Maria von Weber. The designers wanted the sprinkled "fairy dust" effect by the highly reflective crystals. So more than 1 million crystals were used in the making of the fantasy costumes as you can see in this video. The commentary is in English and German with subtitles.

The assistant said they'd used Swarovski crystals before but she found it incredible to be using so much this time. If only we could be as lucky!

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