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Swarovski Product Terminology

Understanding Swarovski Crystal Product Terminology

We get asked repeatedly many of the same questions regarding Swarovski product and its unique terminology.

This Swarovski Terminology section is our attempt to demystify the less commonly known or confusing Swarovski terms or abbreviations.

If you have any questions that are not represented below, feel free to contact us at any time (631-756-9800).

What is the difference between hot fix and no hot fix rhinestones?
What is a gross?
What is the difference between top and bottom coatings?
What does "V SI" after a coating mean?
What is the difference between AB, AB2X and Full Coated?
What is a "Protective Layer" noted as "P" after a coating mean?
What does it mean if the product style # has a /2 or a /4 after it?
What does it mean if the product style # has a "G", "B", "H" "I" "S" or "C" after it?
What does PP, SS, and MM mean in sizing?
What is "Advanced Crystal"?

What is the difference between hot fix and no hot fix rhinestones?

Swarovski's No Hot Fix Rhinestones are also referred to as Flatback Rhinestones. Flatback rhinestones usually have a foiling on the back, unless specifically noted as "unfoiled". Glue is applied manually to the back of the stones to adhere to many different types of materials including but not limited to fabrics, paper, metal, wood, and plastics.

Swarovski's Hot Fix Rhinestones are virtually the same as non Hot Fix stones, except they have a heat activated glue already adhered to the back of the rhinestone. Hot Fix stones are exclusively used on fabrics (tip - will not work on waterproof fabric!). The glue works by applying heat to the stone with the use of an iron, a BeJeweler, or a Hot Fix machine. As long as the rhinestone has been applied properly with the correct time, pressure and temperature, the stone will remain adhered to your fabric.

Note: Swarovski has changed their glue over the years. On newer hot fix stones, the glue will appear transparent. On older stones, the glue will appear as an opaque grey. Both work equally well.

For more specific information on the application of hot fix stones please review the Swarovski Application Manual: Hot Fix Application.

For more general information on understanding hot fix stones and their application, please review our page dedicated to How to Apply Swarovski Hot Fix Rhinestones: http://www.harmanbeads.com/understanding-hot-fix.


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What is a gross?

A gross is a quantity of 144 pieces. A gross is ALWAYS 144 pieces.

If a product is sold in multiples of a gross, like 2 ½ gross, then the quantity is 144 X 2.5 = 360 pieces.

If a product is sold in a fraction of a gross, like a ½ gross, then the quantity is 144/2 = 72 pieces.

Please see view our Conversion Chart for Gross, Dozen and Pieces. Click here to view the conversion chart.

In order to help you figure out how much you need to purchase, please use our exclusive HarMan Importing Swarovski Crystal Quantity Calculator. Enter in the numbers below to find out the quantity equivalents in gross, dozen or pieces.

Swarovski Crystal Quantity Calculator
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Click here to view all Swarovski products.
Partial packages are available for select crystals.

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What is the difference between top and bottom coatings?

Coatings that are applied to the top of a stone are referred to as Surface Effects while coatings that are applied to the bottom of a stone are referred to as Translucent Effects.

Surface Effects are the most common type of coating and means that the coating that is applied to the top surface of the crystal.

Examples of such coatings are: AB (Aurora Borealis), Shimmer, Antique Pink, Astral Pink, Blue Shade, CAL (Comet Argent Light), Copper, Dorado, Golden Shadow, Hematite, Iridescent Green, Lilac Shadow, Luminous Green, Metallic Blue, Metallic Light Gold, Metallic Sunshine, Moonlight, Nut, Paradise Shine, Red Magma, Rose Gold, Satin, Silver Shade and Transmission.


Translucent Effects are applied to the bottom side of the crystal and the properties of the coating flows through the crystal itself.

Examples of such coatings are: Bermuda Blue, Heliotrope, Meridian Blue, Silver Night, Tabac, Vitrail Light, Vitrail Medium, and Volcano.


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What does "V SI" after a coating mean?

Think of the "V" as if it means "inverse" or "reverse". The coating that it is associated with is on the inverse side of the crystal than it otherwise would be located. Often described as non-transparent, coating or foils.

If a coating is applied to the top of the crystal (Surface Effect) and contains a V SI afterward, the coating is actually applied to the BOTTOM of the stone, and acts like a foiling.

If a coating is applied to the bottom of the crystal (Translucent Effect) then the coating is now applied to the TOP of the crystal.

Note: The most common time you will see this is with Crystal Cal V SI, but it can apply to other coatings as well, the concept is always the same.

Crystal Cal F: Standard CAL coating on top of a foiled crystal stone. This will look like an opaque silver metallic stone and will also be foiled.

Crystal Cal SI: The Standard CAL coating is now applied to the top of the stone and therefore shows as an opaque silver coating.  The back of the stone is transparent without any foiling. This version is less common.

Crystal Cal V SI: The Standard CAL coating is now applied to the bottom of the stone and acts as a mirrored foiling. The stone itself looks exactly like crystal foiled.


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What is the difference between AB, AB2X and Full Coated?

The coating effect referred to as AB is also referred to as "Aurora Borealis". It is a rainbow / iridescent effect that is applied to either the top of a stone or to half of a bead or pendant. Aurora Borealis is one of the most well-known and popular effects from Swarovski.

Fun Fact: The iridescent AB coating was created in 1965 amidst a collaboration between Swarovski and renowned fashion designer, Christian Dior!! The effect was achieved when a very thin layer of gold was vacuum-coated onto the surface of the crystal. They felt that the effect was similar to viewing the Aurora Borealis, the natural light display in the sky around the northern hemisphere.

AB2X means that the AB coating is applied all around the entire bead (not just one side). AB2X is not available in stones, because inherently the AB coating is only applied to one side of the stone (as the other side is the bottom of the stone). 2x coating can also be applied with other coatings other than AB, like Shimmer. But the concept is the same, it is fully coated.

Full Coated, or "FC" is the same as the AB2X, in that the AB coating is applied all around the bead, but it is applied with an improved technology and offers a higher intensity AB effect. To date, the Full Coated AB effect is only available in Swarovski's round bead, style 5000.


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What is a "Protective Layer" noted as "P" after a coating mean?

A protective layer is a special transparent lacquer that is applied over translucent (bottom) coating effects. This is most often seen with Swarovski Pendants and Beads. The lacquer is designed to protect the coating effect from scratches, fingerprints, and other damage. It also prevents moisture from penetrating the coating which can lead to corrosion.

When you see a "P" noted after a color, it is because that color has a protective layer applied over the coating effect. Because the protective layer is of such high quality and made of advanced technology, products with a "P" coating are more expensive than standard coatings.

Examples of coating effects that may be available with a protective layer are Crystal Bermuda Blue, Crystal Volcano, Crystal Tabac, Crystal Comet Argent Light, Crystal Vitrail Light, and Crystal Vitrail Medium.


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What does it mean if the product style # has a /2 or a /4 after it?

The /2 or /4 after the style # is actually part of the style number itself.

The /2 indicates a "table cut" stone. It has not been faceted to the same high level of accuracy. The stones themselves are not as brilliant and their facets are not as sharp. These items are only available in a few sew on and a few fancy stone styles. (Example: Swarovski 3222/2 Navette Sew-On Stones)

Note: Products using table cut stones are not eligible for use in the Swarovski Branding Program.


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The /4 simply demonstrates that the product is not faceted, or cut - it is smooth. This is most commonly seen products like flatback pearls 2080/4 or the globe beads 5028/4. (Example: Swarovski 2080/4 Crystal Cabochon Hot Fix Pearl SS10 Bronze)


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What does it mean if the product style # has a "G", "B", "H" or "S" after it?

A "G" after a Swarovski style number indicates that the style is partly frosted. Not all, but some of the facets of the article have a frosted coating applied to it. It produces a different look and allows for a more multi-dimensional perception of the product. The partly frosted element is often applied to non-frosted style, creating a second version. (Example: 2611/G is the partly frosted version of style 2611.)


There are some products which are partly frosted that do not have a /G after it. While these products are in fact partly frosted, they do not have /G after the style number because it is the smooth, unfaceted part of the crystal that is frosted and there is also no non-frosted alternative. A little technical… we know.


A "B" after a Swarovski style number indicates that the specific item is a "Marbled" color. These colors are opaque and give the effect of a natural stone. There are only a handful of "Marbled" colors: Marbled Blue, Marbled Black, Marbled Grey, Marbled Terracotta and Marbled Yellow. Marbled colors are available in Swarovski 2058 Xilion Flatback Rhinestones.


An "H" after a Swarovski style number indicates that the style is comprised of a crystal encased (or "framed") in a metal ring. The metal component is made of brass and then plated with either silver, gunmetal or gold plating. (Example: 2078/H is the "framed" version of the 2078 Hot Fix Rhinestone – this is the upgraded version of the Ringed Roses).


An "I" after a Swarovski style number indicates that the style has a metallic coating around the rim, or edge of a rhinestone. Usually only available in a Dorado Rim (illusion of gold) or Light Chrome Rim (illusion of silver). The metallic coating offers an optical illusion of a metal rim with all the beauty, but with no actual metal.


An "S" after a Swarovski style number indicates that the style is a brass setting for a Swarovski fancy stone. For example, 4727/S is the setting for the 4727 fancy stone. To shop Swarovski settings, click here.


A "C" after a Swarovski style number indicated the style is Fancy Stone Setting, available with either one or two loops (or both). The setting is designed to be used with a Swarovski Fancy Stone. For example, 4775/C is the setting for the 4775 Swarovski Eye Fancy Stone. To shop Swarovski settings, click here.


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What does PP, SS, and MM mean in sizing?

PP, SS, MM are the standard measurement abbreviations used to indicate the size of Swarovski crystal styles.

PP stands for "Pearl Plate". PP sizes are used exclusively for Swarovski round stones. (PP sizes only go up to a PP33, after which they convert to SS sizes.)

Fun Fact: The history of the term "Pearl Plate" is that back in the day, pearls were placed into a stacked series of increasingly sized metal plates with holes in them. The pearls would then fall from plate to plate allowing for the correct sizing and separation of pearls.

SS stands for "Stone Size". SS sizes are used exclusively for Swarovski round stones and flatback rhinestones.

MM stands for "Millimeters". Swarovski always allows for a variance when defining millimeter sizes. So, an SS12 stone is approximately 3.00 to 3.20 millimeters.

Note: PP, SS and MM sizes are for the most part, able to convert to each other. For example, PP 24 = SS 12 = 3.00–3.20 mm

Please view our Swarovski Size Reference Chart to view the sizes and how they relate to each other.

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What is "Advanced Crystal"?

Advanced Crystal is the term used by Swarovski to note that their crystal is now lead free. Swarovski crystals are now considered to be "Lead Free", as it contains .009% (90ppm) of lead or less. (0% lead is not technologically feasible as there are inherently traces of lead in the environment.)

Note: The Advanced Crystal is not noticeable to the eye!

For more specific information on "Advanced Crystal" and Swarovski lead free products, please review our Swarovski's Advanced Crystal – Lead Free Section.

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