There are many types of rhinestones on the market, and we often hear of Swarovski crystal rhinestones, Austrian crystals, resin stones, acrylic gemstones, and more. Even though these two types of stones look alike from a distance, the price is very different.
What are rhinestones? What exactly is this difference? How do you choose the right rhinestone? How do you judge rhinestone quality?
This article introduces five methods for judging the quality of rhinestones, from materials and production methods. Knowing these tips can help you find the most suitable product when purchasing or wholesaling a good quality rhinestone.
What is a rhinestone?
First, let’s get an understanding of what a rhinestone is.
According to Wikipedia’s definition, a rhinestone is a diamond simulant made of crystal. After the 19th century, this crystal glass or acrylic material was created.
These commonly used terms, such as Swarovski rhinestones, Austrian diamonds, and acrylic rhinestones, are different synthetic diamonds.
Read more about what are rhinestones made of from our post “What is a rhinestone? What are different types of rhinestones?“
In order to decorate a variety of clothing, jewelry, accessories, etc., people make artificial diamonds like sew on rhinestones, flat back crystals or point back stones and gave the accessories a shiny, high-quality appearance.
Therefore, we can also say that these rhinestones are substitutes for diamonds, and the difference is the extent to which they have replaced diamonds. Some have 80% of diamond’s characteristics (including hardness, cut, and reflection), while others only have similar appearance and texture.
How do we judge the quality of rhinestones?
How does one judge the quality of such a variety of synthetic diamonds?
First, determine the material of the rhinestone. Different materials have their own characteristics, and the difference between materials is unavoidable. For example, the melting point of glass is higher (about 1,000 degrees) and the density is high. In contrast, the rhinestone of acrylic material has a low melting point (about 130–140 °C), it is not heat resistant, and has a lower density than glass, so it is soft.
Rhinestones vs Swarovski crystals
There are various kinds of rhinestones on the market, which are roughly divided into Swarovski crystals, Preciosa (Austrian diamonds), high quality glass rhinestones (like dmc rhinestones) and plastic rhinestones. By looking at the price, you can get some idea of the quality of these rhinestones. As the saying goes, the most expensive Swarovski rhinestone is considered the best quality rhinestone. Swarovski has a long history and is the leading brand of crystal rhinestones. It is internationally renowned, has a unique cutting process, and manufactures well-known crystal rhinestones.
Therefore, in terms of materials, Swarovski has the best rhinestones for clothing, followed by Preciosa rhinestones, high quality glass rhinestones, and then plastic rhinestones, including acrylic and resin rhinestones.
The same material also has different qualities
If you have experience in purchasing rhinestones, you may have encountered this situation: the rhinestones are made of the same materials, the size and color of these are the same, but why is the price is so different? How do you judge their quality?
“The devil is hidden in the details.” If you can understand the method of judging the quality of rhinestones, you can understand the difference between price and quality, and pick the most suitable rhinestone!
Of course, different materials of rhinestones have different judgment methods. Next, we will explain how to judge the quality of acrylic rhinestones.
Introduction to acrylic rhinestone
Acrylic rhinestones are made of acrylic (PMMA, polymethyl methacrylate) and molded through injection moulding. The acrylic material has the advantages of high transparency, low price, and easy machining, so it is used as a material for making plastic rhinestones.
In Taiwan or in mainland China, there are a few factories that produce acrylic rhinestones, and each of them produce different rhinestones.
Therefore, having a basic knowledge of acrylic rhinestones and the method of judging their quality is very important for the purchaser.
Five methods for judging the quality of acrylic rhinestones
1. The brightness of the rhinestone is related to raw materials, molds, and injection technology
The reason why rhinestones are bright and flickering is because of the high transmittance of acrylic materials. In addition, the light is incident on the bottom of the product and is formed by the radiance of the different cut surfaces.
We use rhinestones because of their flickering characteristics like diamonds, which are decorated in clothing or accessories to make the accessories shine. Therefore, the degree of reflection of the rhinestone is what we can observe. Generally, a better quality rhinestone has a higher degree of reflection and translucency.
What does the brightness of the acrylic rhinestone had to do with? The following are three descriptions of raw materials, molds and injection technology.
A. Raw material
The buyer can ask the manufacturer whether the acrylic material is 100% new or mixed material and what the sources of the raw materials are, and whether the acrylic raw materials are from a well-known brand or general acrylic raw materials.
If a better acrylic material is used, the transparency of the rhinestone is usually higher. This concept is like the importance of ingredients in cooking. If you use high-quality ingredients, the cooking is usually top-notch.
P.S. Acrylic raw materials (PMMA) were invented by German scientists in the early 20th century and mass production began in 1936. Presently speaking, there are many manufacturers all over the world, and the acrylic raw materials of the Taiwan CHIMEI Corporation are well-known acrylic raw materials in the world.
Pointed back or flat back rhinestones are injected through a mold, so the quality of the mold will also affect the quality of the acrylic rhinestone. A high-quality mold can produce a flat and smooth acrylic rhinestone with high-reflection.
So, what exactly is a good mold? It can be known from the process and method of mold manufacturing. Usually, the cost of high-quality molds is very high.
C. Injection technology
In addition to the mold, the technology of injection is also a factor. The quality of products made from plastic injection depends on many factors, such as temperature and time. An experienced master is able to judge the most appropriate production factor and produce high-quality products.
2. Is the cutting/cutting surface of the rhinestone flat?
If you do not have direct access to the original manufacturer, you can find this out from the appearance of the rhinestone.
Since the shine of the rhinestone is caused by the refraction of light, if the surface is flat, the refracted light is relatively bright and shiny, so are you able to take a closer look at the sharpness of the cut surface of the rhinestone? Is the surface flat?
3. Is the injection gate (injection port) smooth?
The interface of the edge of the acrylic rhinestone is the injection gate that will inevitably be produced during the injection molding process. If the injection gate is not properly treated, burrs may occur, which may easily puncture and scratch the skin. Therefore, you can touch the edge of the acrylic rhinestone to determine whether the gate is smooth and flat. If the gate is smooth and flat, the quality of the acrylic rhinestone is better.
4. Will the silver back peel off easily?
The injection molded acrylic rhinestone is completely transparent and does not exhibit a shimmering luster. Therefore, the semi-finished product after the injection will be electroplated and a silver back is plated on the bottom of the product to make the rhinestone shine.
There are also differences in the techniques and methods of electroplating the silver back. Some use vacuum plating, while others use a hot-rolled silver back, and some add a layer of protective paint. In different ways, the firmness of the silver back is different. You can try to scratch the bottom to determine if it is easy to peel off.
5. Is the color injected with original color or dye?
Acrylic rhinestones are colorful and suitable for different styles. The color of the rhinestone is formed in different ways. Some rhinestones’ colors are formed by post-process dyeing; some are the primary color (i.e., It’s the color from production)
If it is dyed, the color is unstable and fades, and the color of each batch is difficult to control accurately, but the advantage is that almost all colors are achievable through dyeing and at a lower price. If the primary color is injected, the color is more consistent and stable, and do not fade easily.
The above is a brief introduction to crystals, rhinestones and acrylic rhinestones. With this initial understanding, next time when you select a rhinestone, you can better judge the quality and choose the most suitable product.
Of course, different materials and the quality of rhinestones have different prices. Whether you are using rhinestones for clothing, shoes, DIY crafts or jewelry making, it is recommended to know the quality requirements and budget for rhinestones before purchasing. If you don’t have a high budget, but you want to have the sparkling texture of Swarovski crystals, high-quality acrylic rhinestones are a good choice too.
Best place to buy wholesale rhinestones
SUNMEI is a specialized manufacturer of acrylic rhinestone and button for over 20 years. We provide a wide selections of acrylic rhinestones for shoes, clothes, diy crafts or jewelry making. Visit our product page and find out more styles!
Contact us to buy rhinestones in bulk!
The flat-back sew on stones have holes on both sides which allow them to be sewn onto dance costumes, dresses, shoes and handbags or anything. These stunning acrylic stones comes in a multitude of sizes, shapes and colors, lighter and not easily broken which is a great alternative to crystals.