AB Crystals Vs. Swarovski: Which Crystal Brand is Better?

Crystals are all the rage lately, accenting everything from chandeliers to jewelry to home decor. Two of the biggest names in crystal are AB Crystals and Swarovski, but which brand is better? This comprehensive guide examines the key differences between AB Crystals and Swarovski to help you decide.

A Brief Comparison Table

CategoryAB CrystalsSwarovski
OriginCzech RepublicAustria
Years in BusinessOver 50 yearsOver 120 years
Types of CrystalsCubic zirconia, synthetic crystalsLeaded crystal
Cut QualityMachine cutHand cut and polished
ClarityLower clarity rateVery high clarity rate
Color OptionsLimited colorsWide range of colors
AffordabilityMore affordableMore expensive
Brand RecognitionLess known brandGlobal luxury brand
SustainabilityUses some recycled metalsActively works on sustainability

Overview of AB Crystals

AB Crystals is a Czech-based producer of machine cut crystals, most commonly cubic zirconia. The company has been operating for over 50 years.

AB Crystals
AB Crystals

Some key facts about AB Crystals:

  • Produces cubic zirconia and synthetic crystals. Does not use natural or mined crystals.
  • Uses automated cutting and polishing machines for production. The crystals have less intricate faceting than hand-cut.
  • Offers a limited range of crystal colors including clear, aurora borealis, light amethyst, black diamond, and more. Color options are not as vast as Swarovski.
  • Crystals have lower clarity and reflectivity than Swarovski crystals. There may be some visible flaws or inclusions.
  • Significantly more affordable than Swarovski crystals. Popular for use in crafts, jewelry making, and home decor accents.
  • Company has lower brand recognition than luxury brand Swarovski.
  • Provides job opportunities in the Czech Republic where crystals are produced. However, lacks sustainability initiatives.

The main benefits of choosing AB Crystals are the affordable pricing and classic crystal look. The crystals effectively mimic the sparkle of natural crystals at a fraction of the cost.

Overview of Swarovski

Swarovski is an internationally renowned Austrian brand specializing in precision-cut leaded crystal. Founded in 1895, Swarovski has over 120 years of crystal cutting experience.

Key facts about Swarovski:

  • Uses leaded crystal containing lead oxide for high light refraction. Products marked “crystal” contain at least 30% lead.
  • Crystals are hand cut and polished using Swarovski’s proprietary cutting technologies for maximum brilliance. Precise faceting creates visual effects.
  • Massive selection of crystal colors including popular colors like crystal AB (Aurora Borealis), as well as limited editions.
  • Unparalleled clarity grade of their crystals. Features exceptional brilliance and virtually no flaws.
  • More expensive than AB Crystals since costs are higher for leaded crystal and skilled artisans. But competitive within the luxury crystal market.
  • Globally recognized luxury brand worn by celebrities and featured on runways. High prestige.
  • In recent years, greater focus on sustainability initiatives including recycled metals and energy reduction.
  • Supports quality local jobs in Austria where crystals are produced.

Swarovski stands out for its rainbow spectrum of colors, flawless optical quality, and glamorous brand image. It’s the pinnacle of luxury crystal.

Also Read: Comparison Between Preciosa and Swarovski

Key Differences Between AB Crystals and Swarovski

While AB Crystals and Swarovski are both used for decorative purposes, there are several differences between these two crystal brands:

1. Materials Used:
When it comes to the materials that make up AB Crystals and Swarovski, there’s quite a difference. Swarovski crystals are made from leaded crystal glass, which is a blend of quartz sand, minerals, and about 32% lead.

Swarovski Crystals

This high lead content increases the sparkle, weight, and durability of the crystals. On the other hand, AB Crystals are usually made from cubic zirconia or other synthetic crystals.

Cubic zirconia is less expensive to produce and lighter, but it doesn’t catch the light and sparkle as intensely as leaded crystal glass. These differences in materials lead to variations in brilliance and endurance of the crystals.

2. Production Method:
The method each brand uses to shape and polish their crystals is another crucial difference. Swarovski employs skilled artisans who meticulously hand-cut and polish each crystal. This manual process ensures more intricate designs and precise cuts, producing a final product of higher quality and uniqueness.

In contrast, AB Crystals mainly utilizes automated cutting, a faster but less accurate method. This method might not achieve the same complexity in designs but allows for higher production volume, making AB Crystals more widely available and affordable.

3. Color Options:
In terms of color variety, Swarovski takes the lead by offering over 120 standard colors along with limited editions, giving consumers a wide palette to choose from. This vast array of colors allows for greater customization and uniqueness in designs.

AB Crystals, however, offers around 30 popular colors. While the range is smaller, these colors are carefully selected to cater to the most popular and widely used shades, ensuring their products appeal to a broad audience.

4. Clarity and Brilliance:
Swarovski’s leaded crystal formula and meticulous crafting process result in crystals with unparalleled clarity and brilliance, making them highly coveted. The crystals sparkle intensely and have almost no visible inclusions, giving them a luxurious appearance.

AB Crystals, on the other hand, due to the materials used and production methods, have lower clarity. Visible flaws may be present, and they may not sparkle as intensely, but they still offer a decorative appeal for those looking for budget-friendly options.

5. Brand Prestige:
Swarovski is renowned worldwide as a luxury brand, associated with elegance and high quality. Their crystals adorn high-end fashion, jewelry, and even home décor, making the brand synonymous with luxury and opulence.

AB Crystals, while not as prestigious, is a more accessible, mass-market brand. They are known for offering a budget-friendly alternative without compromising too much on aesthetics, making crystal embellishments available to a wider audience.

6. Price Point:
Given the differences in materials and production processes, it’s no surprise that Swarovski crystals come with a higher price tag.

The higher cost of materials, coupled with the artisanal labor involved, makes Swarovski a luxury item. In comparison, AB Crystals, using less expensive materials and automated production, are priced more affordably, catering to those who seek sparkle without breaking the bank.

7. Sustainability Focus:
Sustainability is becoming increasingly important in today’s market. Both brands contribute to local economies by providing jobs where their crystals are produced.

However, Swarovski goes a step further by integrating sustainability into their operations, using recycled metals and implementing measures to reduce emissions.

This commitment to sustainability not only benefits the environment but also enhances the brand’s image, appealing to eco-conscious consumers.

8. Quality Guarantee:
A sign of Swarovski’s confidence in their product’s quality is their lifetime guarantee for crystal brilliance and durability. This guarantee assures customers of the lasting sparkle and integrity of their purchase, reinforcing the brand’s reputation for excellence.

AB Crystals, while offering a visually appealing product, do not provide such a guarantee. This lack of assurance may be attributed to the differences in materials and production methods, reflecting the brand’s position as a more affordable option.

Also Watch This Review Video:

Pros and Cons of AB Crystals


  • Extremely affordable, especially compared to Swarovski
  • Achieves a convincing crystal-like look and sparkle
  • Wide assortment of popular crystal colors
  • Can be used to add glamorous accents on a budget
  • Easy to incorporate into crafts and jewelry making
  • Provides steady local jobs where produced in the Czech Republic


  • Machine cut crystals have less precise faceting and intricacy
  • Lower optical clarity grade with more visible imperfections
  • Smaller color selection than premium brands like Swarovski
  • No prestige as an affordable, mass-market brand
  • No sustainability initiatives in place
  • No lifetime guarantee on crystal quality

Pros and Cons of Swarovski Crystals


  • Unmatched optical clarity, brilliance, and flawlessness
  • Prestigious luxury brand worn by celebrities and on runways
  • Leaded crystal composition allows exceptional light refraction
  • Largest selection of standard and limited edition crystal colors
  • Meticulously hand cut and polished by skilled artisans
  • Lifetime guarantee protects your investment
  • Increased sustainability practices in recent years
  • Provides fair jobs where crystals are produced in Austria


  • Significantly higher cost due to luxury brand status
  • Lead content may be concerning to some consumers
  • Not as accessible or budget-friendly as AB Crystals
  • Initial environmental impacts of lead mining (mitigated by recycling)

Also Read: Comparison of Kendra Scott And Pandora

Frequently Asked Questions

What crystals are better than Swarovski?

No crystal brand definitively surpasses Swarovski in terms of clarity, brilliance, prestige, and quality guarantees. Swarovski is the premium leader in the crystal industry. However, some brands like Preciosa and Baccarat also offer high quality hand-cut crystal.

What does AB mean for Swarovski crystals?

Swarovski Crystal AB, also called Aurora Borealis, has a special coating that adds rainbow colors and iridescence. The AB coating refracts and scatters light for extra sparkle. Other Swarovski coatings like crystal TRU, volcano, dorado, etc. also enhance brilliance.

What is the difference between Swarovski clear and AB?

Swarovski clear crystal has no coating so it achieves a pure transparent glass look. The AB coating adds an iridescent rainbow effect. Clear is a modern look, while AB has a classic, vintage-inspired look.

What is the difference between crystal AB and crystal?

“Crystal” refers to the base material of leaded crystal, while “crystal AB” is a coating applied to add rainbow effects. AB is one of many coatings Swarovski uses, along with clear, dorado, volcano and more. Only leaded crystal can be an AB crystal.

Final Thoughts

When it comes to prestige, variety, brilliance, and quality, Swarovski crystals are the clear winner, albeit at a higher price point. The brand offers unparalleled optics and style built on over a century of expertise.

Yet AB Crystals have their place providing affordable, decorative sparkle for crafts and accents. While they lack Swarovski’s luxury pedigree, AB Crystals achieve a pleasing crystal-inspired shimmer.

Evaluate your project and budget to choose between affordability with AB Crystals or the pinnacle of crystal luxury with Swarovski. Both offer lovely decorative sparkle but Swarovski outshines with meticulous quality. Yet AB Crystals’ low cost makes crystal crafts attainable for all.

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