AskDefine | Define rhinestone

Dictionary Definition

rhinestone n : an imitation diamond made from rock crystal or glass or paste

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. an artificial diamond
    Lucinda sewed rhinestones into her scarf to add a bit of flair.


  1. made of or encrusted with rhinestones
    Karl wore a cowboy hat with a rhinestone hatband when he played his country and western gigs.

Extensive Definition

A rhinestone or paste or diamante is a diamond simulant made from rock crystal, glass or acrylic.
Originally, rhinestones were rock crystals gathered from the river Rhine. The availability was greatly increased when around 1775 the Alsatian jeweller Georg Friedrich Strass (:de:Georg Friedrich Strass) had the idea to imitate diamonds by coating the lower side of glass with metal powder. Hence, rhinestones are called Strass in many European languages.
Rhinestones may be used as imitations of diamonds, and some manufacturers even capture the glistening effect that real diamonds have in the sun.
In 1955, the "Aurora Borealis" or "Aqua aura", a thin, vacuum-sputtered metallic coating applied to crystal stones to produce an iridescent effect, was introduced. Aurora Borealis tends to reflect whatever color is worn near it, and it is named after the Aurora Borealis atmospheric phenomenon, also known as the Northern Lights.
Typically, crystal rhinestones have been primarily used on costumes, apparel and jewelry. Crystal rhinestones are produced mainly in Austria by Swarovski and in Czech Republic by Preciosa. In USA, these are sometimes called Austrian Crystal.
The rhinestone-studded Nudie suit was invented by Nudie Cohn in the 1940s, an Americanization of the matador's "suit of lights". Liberal use of rhinestones used to be associated with country music singers, as well as with Elvis Presley and Liberace. Glen Campbell had a top 1975 hit with the song "Rhinestone Cowboy", and became known as the Rhinestone Cowboy. One may also find customized crystal rhinestone-inlaid items on Internet auction websites, such as cell phones, mp3 players, earbuds, and flip flops.
rhinestone in German: Strass
rhinestone in French: Strass
rhinestone in Dutch: Strass (imitatiediamant)
rhinestone in Polish: Stras
rhinestone in Russian: Страз
rhinestone in Slovenian: Štras

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

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