Since 1975, the Swarovski company has been producing and marketing intricate crystal figurines for the public to adore. Since then, over 2,000 figurines have been created by Swarovski’s talented designers for the pleasure of being collected as keepsakes by the public. With many new additions to the Swarovski figurine collection each year, Swarovski also discontinues handfuls of figurines, creating a retail environment where true Swarovski enthusiasts seek out new items, exclusive items, and discontinued or “retired” crystal figurines.
Devoted Swarovski collectors keep track of the ins and outs of Swarovski collectible figurines and engage in figurine “hunting” activities such as trading, buying, and selling figurines in-person and online, seeking out those rare-to-find figurines that have the most historical or sentimental value, and establishing themselves as an avid collector in the world of Swarovski crystal by regularly watching reputable Swarovski new sources to be “in the know” about the latest Swarovski figurines, both new and old. Of course, a true Swarovski collector will be the owner of a large display case, if not more than one display case, filled with their cherished Swarovski figurines, in addition to perhaps having a stock of stored figurines in their original boxes sitting in a garage or storage unit.
Before delving into the various facets associated with being a Swarovski figurine collection owner, let’s first take a moment to acknowledge some of the many categories of Swarovski figurines that have developed since their first figurine release in 1975. Among them are collections that usually have common characteristics, that is, unless Swarovski has changed the focus of a particular category over the years to reflect new or changing figurine category traits.
Among these Swarovski crystal figurine categories are: Silver Crystal figurines that include clear crystal animals and woodland creatures, Crystal Moments figurines that have had changing category characteristics in the last decade since their introduction, the Crystal Myriad figurines which are specialty figurines ranging up to $16,000, Chinese Zodiac figurines dedicated to Chinese astrology, Disney figurines which celebrate Swarovski’s collaboration with Disney since 2005, the Lovlots figurine collection featuring whimsical and playful figurines such as circus animals, Paradise figurines launched in 2000 that incorporate lots of bright colors, the Trimlite collection that was popular throughout the ‘80s with its gold accents highlighting clear crystal, and the prestigious Soulmates collection filled with larger-sized, statue figurines of exotic and powerful animals like Swarovski’s signature swan or a poised, horned bull.
Not to be Imitated: Authenticity of Swarovski Crystal
In fact, Swarovski crystal figurines are so sought after that a jumble of unauthentic websites have sprung up in recent years that attempt to sell fake Swarovski figurines that are most often made in China as opposed to being made by the Swarovski manufacturer in Wattens, Austria. Do not be fooled by imitations—checking your Swarovski purchase for the authentic Swarovski box, certificate of authenticity, and logo are just a few of the ways a collector can be sure of buying the real thing. And while the official Swarovski logo has changed a few times over the decades, and while certain lines of Swarovski products and figurine categories can even have their own special Swarovski logos, and while sometimes the logos are so small they may seem indiscernible, looking for the appropriate, official Swarovski logo is a sure way to verify the authenticity of your Swarovski purchase.
Originally, Swarovski’s logo in 1975 was an edelweiss flower, which was later replaced in 1977 with the “S.A.L.” logo, standing for Swarovski America Limited. The Swarovski S.A.L. logo was used specifically on jewelry from 1977 to 1988 when the Swarovski jewelry lines and the Swarovski figurine lines merged, after which Swarovski’s current logo, a swan, was used since 1989 as the next way to brand the real thing. Compounding this complication is the fact that there are other specific Swarovski logos, such as the “T” seen on Swarovski’s Trimlite series of figurines, and the square “SC” block logo also used by Swarovski from 1976-1988. Add to that the items that fall under the exclusive line of Swarovski Crystal Society (SCS) figurines, which are exclusive figurines sold only to SCS members for a year’s time and have been branded with the SCS logo from 1989 to the present. Despite this host of logos, an authentic Swarovski crystal figurine is hard to imitate when one considers the care, detail, and manufacturing secrets employed by the Swarovski company during manufacture. Try as they might, imitators of Swarovski crystal have a hard time accurately duplicating the real thing. As the Swarovski company itself notes, “The exact recipe and the proportion of quartzes, sand, and minerals remain a company secret that is part of the legacy of pioneer Daniel Swarovski.”
Assessing the Value of Swarovski Crystal Figurines
A true Swarovski figurine collector will also be or become versed in assessing the proper monetary values assigned to each figurine, in addition to staying current on the changing monetary values of Swarovski figurines based on their current availability or rarity, their historic value (if any), and most importantly (for insurance purposes), their replacement value if the collection were to be damaged for an unforeseen reason. Discontinued figurines or those that are seemingly hard to find can surely rise in monetary value from year to year, while those that are currently available usually range around values that are near to the manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP). The most commonly known authority on monetary values of Swarovski crystal pieces are the Warner’s Blue Ribbon Books, also known as “blue books,” which determine the suggested value of Swarovski crystal pieces by year. One of the main purposes of assessing your Swarovski crystal collection and using the Warner’s Blue Ribbon Books is to accurately asses the overall value of your Swarovski crystal collection for insurance coverage purposes.
Replacing your Swarovski Crystal Collection in the Event of a Loss: A Collectibles Insurance Inventory
Collectibles and antiques are not usually covered in the standard language found in common renter’s insurance policies; therefore, purchasing separate “collectibles insurance” is a smart idea for those collectors who would be financially and sentimentally heartbroken by the loss of their Swarovski crystal collection in the event of an unexpected loss due to a natural disaster such as an earthquake, flood, or fire that negatively affects a display case or storage unit of Swarovski crystal. This is one reason why assessing the value of your Swarovski crystal collection based on “blue book” monetary values is important information to accumulate on a yearly basis for the purpose of keeping an enthusiast’s collectibles insurance policy up to date. In other words, based on changing monetary values of Swarovski crystal pieces, a collectibles insurance policy will need to be periodically updated—yearly at best. This involves the task of taking an accurate inventory of your Swarovski collection, which for those collectors who have hundreds of pieces or more, may seem like a painstaking endeavor.
As daunting a task as it may seem, having an up-to-date inventory of your Swarovski collectibles is the only way to ensure that, in the event of a major loss of the collection, the corresponding collectibles insurance policy will be able to properly redeem the monetary value of your collection. This is also why there is a semantic difference between the MSRP value of a piece, the “blue book” value of a piece, and the replacement value of a piece. Replacement value specifically refers to how much money it would take a collector to redeem their collection in the event of a loss in a particular calendar year. Thankfully, with modern software applications that track inventory and all of its minute characteristics, entering information into a computer program may make quicker work of a large task. Insurance coverage for antiques and collectibles has certain standards of information that must be kept in order to facilitate a later claim. A “collectibles inventory” can include information and evidence such as the item number, the title of the crystal piece, the most current replacement value of the piece, and most importantly, digital and hard-copy photos of each piece—front, back, and bottom. It is suggested that a copy of this collectibles inventory be kept in a secure place that’s not at the same location as the collection so that in the event of a loss that causes damage to the collection, the inventory is not also damaged. Thankfully, these days, software programs have the ability to exist off-site, on the internet on a retrievable “cloud,” or even on a mobile phone software application that’s carried with the collector everyday in digital form. While assessing and compiling and organizing and storing all of this pertinent information may sound like quite an investment of time, the true collector will want to ensure that a loss of their collection does not equal the inability to replace it.
Swarovski Crystal as an Investment: Not your Grandmother’s Era
As much as your collection might collectively total, it is not suggested by Swarovski or other avid Swarovski collectors that Swarovski figurines and crystal pieces be used for investment purposes. In past decades, when the internet was not a daily part of people’s lives and the economy in America was much stronger, the value of Swarovski pieces was quite a bit higher simply based on the difficulty of locating rare Swarovski pieces and the economy’s strength denoting that individual sellers could keep their prices high and their stances firm while buyers had to succumb to the seller’s price whims. Such is not the case today, since alas, this is no longer your grandmother’s collectibles era. That being the case, the proliferation of internet sellers like eBay and so forth means that even seemingly hard-to-find pieces can be easily searched for on the World Wide Web. Moreover, since the economy currently is lacking luster, this means that the stance of the buyer-seller arrangement has changed in that sellers must ensure more competitive prices and buyers can haggle, negotiate, and underbid on even rare Swarovski crystal pieces. This creates an advantage for the buyer in that they may be able to find rare Swarovski pieces online for less-than-“blue-book” prices if only they take the time to do a bit of searching and price negotiating.
When Crystal Breaks: Restoration of Swarovski Crystal Figurines
Restoring a Swarovski figurine in the event of damage comes with a few terms and conditions. Swarovski will only accept for repair current Swarovski crystal figurines, which means that you’ll have to go elsewhere to restore retired pieces. Those that Swarovski does repair come at a repair cost and must be returned with their “return authorization form” while the shipping cost is also the responsibility of the figurine owner. Thankfully Swarovski is able and willing to fix any current pieces so that collector’s damaged crystal figurines can be restored to their original splendor. But what about the retired figurines? It is known that no bonding adhesives found at a local hardware store are sufficient or proper for the authentic restoration of any Swarovski piece, so where can you go if you can’t do it yourself? One reputable repair shop that uses only original Swarovski components is called The Crystal Wizard (www.tcwizard.com), who can repair and restore your Swarovski collector’s pieces at a fee in order to bring the piece back up to its original condition and value. Using parts salvaged from other Swarovski figurines, The Crystal Wizard can hand-restore your Swarovski piece based on how difficult or easy to find the broken components are. What a benefit it is that there are still Swarovski experts out there willing to take the time to repair collectors’ pieces part-by-part with hand-done care.