Today, Swarovski Crystal Business is the highest grossing business unit with a global reach of approximately 2,800 stores in around 170 countries, more than 27,000 employees, and a revenue of about 2.6 billion euros (in 2016).
Daniel Swarovski was born in northern Bohemia (now the Czech Republic), 20 km from the current border with Poland. His father was a glass cutter who owned a small glass factory. It was there that the young Swarovski served an apprenticeship, becoming skilled in the art of glass-cutting. In 1892 he patented an electric cutting machine that facilitated the production of crystal glass.
In 1895, Swarovski, financier Armand Kosman, and Franz Weis founded the Swarovski company, originally known as A. Kosmann, D. Swarovski & Co. and shortened to KS & Co. The company established a crystal-cutting factory in Wattens, Tyrol (Austria), to take advantage of local hydroelectricity for the energy-intensive grinding processes Daniel Swarovski patented. Swarovski's vision was to make "a diamond for everyone" by making crystals affordable.
In 1899, it first used the edelweiss flower in its logo, and expanded to France, where it was known as Pierres Tailles du Tyrol ("Cut stones from Tyrol"). In 1919, Swarovski founded Tyrolit, bringing the grinding and polishing tools from the crystal business into a different market.
In 1935, Swarovski's son Wilhelm created a customized pair of binoculars, which led to the launch of Swarovski Optik 14 years later. Swarovski Optik manufactures optical instruments such as binoculars and telescopes.
Nadja Swarovski, the founder's great-great granddaughter, is a member of the Swarovski executive board. In 1977, Swarovski entered the jewelry market in the United States.
The Swarovski Crystal range includes crystal glass sculptures and miniature, jewelry and couture, home decor, and chandeliers. It is best known for its small animal figurines, which have loyal and longstanding collectors and fans.
All sculptures are marked with a logo. The original Swarovski logo was an edelweiss flower, which was replaced by an S.A.L. logo, which was finally replaced with the current swan logo in 1988.
To create crystal glass that lets light refract in a rainbow spectrum, Swarovski coats some of its products with special metallic chemical coatings. For example, Aurora Borealis, or "AB", gives the surface a rainbow appearance. Other coatings are named by the company, including Crystal Transmission, Volcano, Aurum, and Dorado. Coatings may be applied to only part of an object; others are coated twice, and thus are designated AB 2X, Dorado 2X, etc.
In 2004 Swarovski released Xilion, a copyrighted cut designed to optimise the brilliance of Roses (components with flat backs) and Chatons (diamond cut).
The Swarovski Group includes Tyrolit (makers of abrasive and cutting tools); Swareflex (reflective and luminous road markings); Signity (synthetic and natural gemstones); and Swarovski Optik (optical instruments such as binoculars and rifle scopes).
In 2014, Tristan da Cunha issued a five crown Christmas coin where the reverse has a small Swarovski crystal set in the guiding star behind a colour picture of one of the magi.
Swarovski have created a line of liquid and solid perfumes.
The company runs a crystal-themed museum, Swarovski Kristallwelten (Crystal Worlds) at its original Wattens site (near Innsbruck, Austria). The Crystal Worlds Centre is fronted by a grass-covered head, the mouth of which is a fountain. The grass-covered Crystal Worlds Centre houses exhibitions related to, or inspired by, the crystals but do not include explanations of how the designs are made, produced or finished.
Swarovski work was exhibited at Asia's Fashion Jewellery & Accessories Fair based on the concept of a single continuous beam of fragmented light travelling through a crystal.