Are Rhinestones Plastic? Resin vs. Acrylic Rhinestones

are rhinestone plastics-2

Sparkling rhinestones are so attractive! When we go shopping in department stores or walk on the road, we often see various shapes and sizes of rhinestones on shoes, bags, jewelry, and even displays. The rhinestones are colorful and shiny, and it is difficult to ignore them.

However, have you had such concerns: How are these shiny rhinestones made? Are they plastic? Why can they shine like diamonds?

Next we’ll answer your questions!

Table of Contents

Are rhinestones made of plastic?

To answer this question, we must first understand the nature of the rhinestone.

Rhinestones are not diamonds; they are a simulation of diamonds. Since diamonds are natural and are formed under high pressure and high-temperature conditions deep in the earth, often taking a long time to form, they are scarce and very expensive.

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Rhinestones are artificial and have the sparkling, dazzling effect of diamonds. Therefore, when rhinestones could be manufactured in large quantities, people began to use rhinestones as decorations for jewelry, clothing and other accessories.

What are rhinestones made of?

Rhinestones can be made of different materials

As for whether the rhinestone is made of plastic, you need to know the classification of the rhinestone. You may heard of crystals, acrylic or resin stones. Is resin plastic or glass? And how about acrylic? What is the difference between plastic and acrylic?

At present, artificial rhinestones (or sometimes people call them fake rhinestones) can be divided into two categories: crystal/glass rhinestones and plastic rhinestones, which are made of crystal glass and plastic material respectively.

Crystals, glass and plastic rhinestones

The world-famous brand Swarovski produces crystal glass rhinestone, and people also call it Swarovski crystals. There are also quite a few manufacturers of glass rhinestones in Mainland China and South Korea.

Plastic rhinestones were a later development of the rhinestone; they are more affordable than glass rhinestone options. The material of plastic rhinestones can be divided into two types, acrylic and resin.

Read more detail about the origin of rhinestones from our blog post “What is a rhinestone? What are different types of rhinestones?

Introduction to plastic rhinestones

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Plastic rhinestones are not only economical but also have the advantage of price. 

They also have many advantages such as being lightweight, environmentally friendly, and come in more colors with more effects (otherwise, there would not be so many manufacturers specializing in the manufacture of plastic rhinestones in the market!). These are all the characteristics of plastic rhinestones.

Plastic Rhinestones vs Glass Rhinestones

The material density of the glass is higher, so it is heavier than the plastic rhinestone, which makes them suitable for adding texture when making jewelry. However, the characteristics of glass are that it is fragile and easy to crack, so special care should be taken while using it, and attention should be paid to various safety issues.

In general, the production process of plastic rhinestones takes less energy, they can be recycled and reused, and are more environmentally friendly. Most plastic rhinestones do not contain lead or other heavy metals, and are suitable for clothing or accessories with environmental requirements.

Glass rhinestones mostly contain lead and often cause environmental problems. In addition, its production process is more complicated. The glass must be heated to a temperature of several thousand degrees and then ground into different shapes, and glass powder waste will be produced in the process. 

However, because of its lead content, the glass rhinestone is brighter and has a better texture.

Plastic rhinestones have rich color effects

In addition to the advantages of use, plastic rhinestones have another important set of features, which are its color and effects.

A glass rhinestone is made using a cutting method and it is different with a plastic rhinestone, which is formed by injection or compression molding. Therefore, the shape change is quite diverse, and they come in different styles, colors, and effects that can be customized according to certain design requirements. 

For example, plastic rhinestones can be made to imitate ceramics, leopard, marble, gold, pearls and other different effects.

leopard rhinestones
leopard rhinestones
marble flat back stones
pearl beads
pearl beads

However, due to the material constraints, plastic rhinestone hardness is low and easily scratched. The brightness is also lower than that of a glass rhinestone.

Two materials of plastic rhinestones: resin vs acrylic

Plastic rhinestones on the market are mostly made of acrylic plastic or resin. These are both plastic rhinestones (or you can call it plastic diamond, plastic gemstones), but what is the difference between acrylic rhinestones and resin rhinestones?

Production Method

Due to the difference of material characteristics, the way that they are produced during manufacturing is also different. Acrylic is formed by injection molding, while the resin is a silicone mold, and uses drop-in resin for molding.

Styles and Brightness

As for the brightness, if it is a new product, the resin rhinestone is brighter than acrylic rhinestone, but the resin will become yellower over time, and its brightness will decrease. 

However, when it comes to style changes and production costs, the resin rhinestone is better. 

The resin can produce complex cut surface rhinestones that are easy to dye with a wide range of usages. However, the hardness is low and the surface is easily scratched, and the resin rhinestone can’t stand the test of time and will turn yellow after a long time. If it is dyed, it may fade.


Therefore, in terms of the stability of the product, acrylic gemstones is better. In addition to how easily resin turns yellow, the mold is easily deformed after a long time from production, and the product size is not easy to control. Thus, it is not suitable for stock up, which is more difficult for wholesalers to operate with.

In addition, acrylic material can be made with a cabochon style, which is difficult to do with resin plastic. If there is a hole in the rhinestone, it is also generated directly through the mold, rather than through drilling holes like in resin stones.

Comparison of acrylic and resin rhinestones

Acrylic rhinestoneresin rhinestones
Production MethodMold injection moldingAfter making a whole piece of silicone mold, drop in resin for molding
Injection GateWith the injection gateWithout the injection gate
Cost of ProductionHigher, higher thresholdLower, lower threshold
Change of styleMore variety.
More difficult to produce complex cutting angle, but more color effects
More variety.
A complex cutting surface can be produced
HardnessIt is harder, but the surface will be scratchedIt is softer, but the surface will scratch easily
Can it be kept for a long time?Yes, it doesn't change colorNo, it turns yellow over time
Can it be dyed?Low-temperature dyeingEasy dyeing
Can it be recycled?Yes.
(Acrylic is thermoplastic.)
(Resin is thermosetting plastic.)
HoleDirect injection moldingPunch holes after forming

Rhinestone is made from multiple materials and can be made of glass, plastic acrylic or resin. 

Plastic rhinestones are an affordable alternative to glass. It is ideal for decorating clothing, accessories, shoes or bags with a wide range of uses. There are also plenty of rhinestone options for different applications.

I believe that after reading the detailed plastic rhinestone introduction and understanding the difference between the two plastic rhinestone types (acrylic vs resin), if you need to use the plastic rhinestone in the future, you can easily identify which one to choose as the most suitable product!

Are you looking for any acrylic plastic rhintones? Or do you need any supplier to buy in bulk?

SUNMEI is a specialized manufacturer of acrylic rhinestone and button for over 20 years. We provide a wide selections of rhinestones great for jewelry making, diy crafts and thers. Visit our product page and find out more styles!


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SUNMEI is a specialized manufacturer of acrylic rhinestone and button for over 20 years. We provide a wide selections of acrylic rhinestones and buttons. Visit our product page and find out more styles!