"Iris Glass" or "Rhinestones"

The use of natural rhinestones (Cailloux du Rhin) is recorded in Germany and Frances since at least the 17th Century. This variety of quartz is also called either rainbow quartz or iriz quartz because of the amount of iridescence it shows due to its internal fracturing. Itis found in the Alps and is brought down to the valleys by such rivers as the Rhine - hence the name Rhinestones.

The Bohemian makers of the Gablonz area introduced a new type of artifical gemstone that excelled with an outstanding sparkle. On small stones it was hard to tell why they had such fine sheens, only the larger stones revealed that it was achieves by simply including (generally three) transparent filaments of green, red and blue into the otherwise colorless glass. As the natural rhinestones were most frequently rainbow quartz (iris quartz), i.e. a type of quartz that displays a certain iridescence because of internal fractures, the makers call this glass "iris glass," while users stick to the term rhinestones.

Many jewelry pieces were made with these "rhinestones" from Gablonz and Germany, after World War I. The "rhinestones" of the late 19th century (pre World War I) have much stronger colors than the more recently crafted stones.

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