The loss of Swarovski crystals for most of our community was a very heavy blow.  Many, as you can see from the comments my original November 2020 post, Is Swarvoski Going to Stop Making Crystal Beads? What are the Alternatives?, were extremely upset when they realized the rumors were true. Those who have small businesses involving tutorials and kits are particularly affected.

Not all of us can or want to sign up for Swarovski Brand Control Agreements so we have to find alternative crystals beyond the hoarded supplies. Preferably as good quality as we can get. 

Karin Vail (bkvail), the Washington based beader, graciously shared her microscopic pictures of some crystals she had - see my past post Swarovski and Alternative Crystals Comparisons.  I had also examined and measured the crystals I had with the simple tools on hand. The problem is, neither of us had a wide range to compare.  What we had was also not uniform as some were clear and some were coated crystals.

What is needed is an independent crystal microscopy survey of bicones from many different sources in order for beaders like you to make an informed choice on what would be good alternatives for your particular needs. 

Karin has generously offered to take more pictures as she has access to a high powered microscope with mounted camera. So we are jointly appealing to the community for sample bicones for comprehensive analyses.

We would like to look closely at, and take measurements of, preferably 4 mm clear bicones.  Clear because coatings or colors will obscure the crystal clarity. 4 mm because the small size is more challenging to manufacture. This standardization will mean we are comparing "apples with apples"and not "apples with oranges".

We can then compare precision machining and clarity, polish and finish, and average measurements.  Karin can easily take accurate measurements of very small bicones with the microscope she uses.

The gold standard we will measure against are Swarovski 4 mm clear bicones. 

Here are some candidates for the survey:
  • Preciosa
  • Crystal Passions
  • Celestial Crystals
  • Chinese manufacturers
  • Other Czech manufacturers 
Will you be able to donate 5  4 mm crystals of any of the above or other manufacturers for this survey?  If so email me at and I can let you know how to send Karin your bicones. Please note, the bicones will not be returned. Karin will be shouldering the bulk of the work so I do not want to over burden her.  We need a minimum of  5 in order to have enough to get average measurements to determine if manufacturers are consistent in their machining. 

Preciosa may be improving their machining capabilities and possibly other manufacturers as well in the last year or so. So if you would like to help out,  please also indicate the approximate age of your crystals.  It will be interesting to compare recent Preciosa bicones with ones made more than 2 years ago. 

Please indicate the source of your crystals if they are unbranded crystal makers like the Chinese manufacturers.

Add 5  6 mm clear crystals if you have them as it will be a test to see if the same manufacturer has more difficulty making smaller bicones (4 mm) compared to bigger ones (6 mm).

This survey will take time to put together as we are dealing with snail mail leading in the Christmas season.  A little patience. 

Please bookmark this page and check back for my updates on what we have via donations :


Swarovski (clear 4 mm and 6 mm)

2 Chinese manufacturers (clear 4 mm and 6 mm)

We need more!  Can you help us, please?  


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Original Post by THE BEADING GEM