Rhinestones have a glittering past. Originally rhinestones where referred to Czechoslovakian or Bohemian glass dating as far back as the 13th century in Bohemia and the Czech Republic. Both have a history steeped in beautiful hand blown glass as well as molded and cut glass.
By 1918 glass was no longer limited to functional items. Czechoslovakian glass began to make its appearance in dazzling and brilliant jewelry. This Czech glass became known as rhinestones.
Rhinestones were manmade gems from highly refined glass. By using various metals the glass was colored to the desired shade. It was then pressed into molds. Each stone was then ground and polished by machine, resulting in a brilliant glass stone. Often the stones were foiled on the back which increased their brilliance.
Today, the same refining process is still used. You will often here rhinestones referred to as paste. Originally paste was referred to a glass stone that made of ground glass which was molded and then melted, producing an opaque dense glass frosted stone. Paste had many air bubbles and swirl marks. The high lead content glass was then polished and faceted, and set on...