F.A.Q.

Put simply, Swarovski© crystal is the finest crystal on the planet. The colours, the cuts, the precision, the sparkle….nothing else even comes close. Swarovski© crystal is full lead crystal, meaning it contains 32% lead. The refraction – the “light bounce” – is unparalleled. Constant innovation, with each year bringing new colors, new cuts, new shapes and new innovations is but one of the reasons we use only Swarovski© crystal.

“Austrian Crystal” is generally accepted to mean crystal made by the Swarovski company. Occasionally we’ll hear about jewelry made with “Australian” crystal… in a word, NO. Crystal is the Danube River, the Alps, and the Viennese Waltz…… NOT koala bears and kangaroos!!!!!

The first “rhinestones” were stones mined from the Rhine river in Germany, and then hand cut and polished. Hence, the term “rhinestone”. It was Daniel Swarovski who invented a machine to automate the stone cutting, and then moved his entire operation to Wattens, a small town in Austria where water power to run the machines was plentiful. Despite the advances, the generic term rhinestone has stuck over the years. Some folks have the mistaken notion that only crystal that is foiled (has that silver or gold backing) is a “rhinestone”, and will therefore reject a set or wrapped unfoiled crystal, or crystal beads. This is a shame, as the foiling is meant for when the stone is set into a solid mounting; like a diamond, when the stone is set into an open-backed setting, no foiling is used. Also like a diamond, when properly cut and set, an unfoiled stone – particularly a clear one – will refract light gloriously. Think of all those wonderful crystal mobiles you’ve seen that catch the sunight! The best lighting chandeliers are constructed of STRASS crystal… another of Swarovski’s trade names. Rhinestone, Crystal, Strass – all names for the same incredible material.

Color… a fabulous but thorny issue. Swarovski© makes a multitude of colors, in hundreds of cuts, but every color isn’t available in every cut, which can make for some confusion at times. To make this a bit easier to navigate, we’ve created our Color Palettes – pre-designed color themes that can be fitted to almost any design. We can add colors to our palettes, subtract colors, or lean one way or another in the mix – it all depends on your needs! Through color mixing, we can match almost any shade necesary. As always, if you are concerned about how a piece will look in your chosen palette, please just give us a call or send us an email. We can also create custom palettes based upon your outfit or desires. See the COLOR page or Swarovski© color charts and our Color Palettes.

Couture pieces are made one at a time right here in our Texas studios. Our Collection and trifles ready-to-wear lines  are hand-set right here in Texas using castings made exclusively for us  in Rhode Island – everything is made in the USA! (with crystals from Austria, of course!) You won’t find any off-shore imports here.

We start with the shapes and colours of the Swarovski© collection of jewelry stones for our inspiration. With the needs of our varied clientele in mind, we begin the creative process. Through much trial and error, we create what you see on this site, and much, much more.

Each Couture piece is individually handcrafted in our workshop near Houston, Texas. Depending upon the design, we use techniques such as pavé, collaging, beading, wire manipulation, sewing, stone setting, wrapping, cagework…..whatever it takes to achieve the particular vision of that piece. All metals are heavily plated for long wear, usually in 14kt gold or rhodium (which is a precious metal, and, unlike sterling silver, resists tarnishing)

Our clip earring backs are the same heavy plate as are other components. Earring posts are surgical steel, sometimes with a gold plating over them. Please note that while our posts are compliant with all United States regulations concerning jewelry metals, they MAY NOT MEET SOME EUROPEAN STANDARDS concerning nickel. If you need nickel-free posts, please let us know. We are in the process of moving to all nickel free materials, but this will take some time. We will be glad to make sure your posts are nickel free if requested.

Our Collection & trifles pieces feature titanium posts for for superb hypoallergenic properties.

All of our chains are also heavily plated brass. Sterling silver or gold-filled chains are available by request on most items at an additional cost.

Our crystal….Swarovski© Elements of course! Nothing else even comes close to the quality. We are a co-branding partner with Swarovski – look for the “Made with Swarovski Elements” flag at the bottom of our website for your assurance that our jewelry is made wit the best crystals available.

All jewelry from the Collection, Transition, and trifles lines are essentially nickel -free, and meet all European metal standards. There may be very small trace amounts of nickel in the casting alloys and base materials, but our platings are all 100% nickel-free, so everything that touches you in absolutely nickel-free.

Our Couture and Studio lines are created with surgical steel and nickel-free findings and earrings posts; However, the platings used for these two lines are not nickel free. Please take this into account if you have severe allergies.

Please feel free to contact us by email or phone if you have any questions relating to any specific designs, or have specific needs. We will do our best to meet your requirements.

Crystal has historically contained 32% lead to be called “full lead crystal”, but under their new Advanced Crystal technology, Swarovski is pioneering creation of lead-free crystal. As Swarovski changes their stocks over to the new advanced lead-free crystal, so too will our crystal stocks evolve.

Should you have a question about a particular piece in our collection, we welcome an inquiry as its specific composition. Email us at sales@stefaniesomers.com for assistance.

Most of our clip earrings can be made with an ultrasuede barrier between you and the earring. All of our clips ship with foam pads on the clip, so between the barrier and the foam, most of our clients with sensitive ears are very comfortable. There is no charge for the ultrasuede barrier – just request it with your order.

More than likely, assuming the stones are still available. Just give us a call, and send us the remaining earring (and whatever is left of the broken one, if possible). Repair or replacement costs will be determined on an individual basis.

No problem… just give us a call, or email us, and we’ll do our best to answer your concerns!