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Annual 2004 Ornament by Swarovski Crystal
Swarovski is the luxury brand name for the range of precision-cut lead crystal glass products produced by companies owned by Swarovski AG of Feldmeilen, near Zürich, Switzerland. The Swarovski Group also includes Tyrolit (makers of abrasive and cutting tools); Swareflex (reflective and luminous road markings); Signity (synthetic gemstones); and Swarovski Optik (optical instruments). The company runs a crystal-themed indoor theme park, Swarovski Kristallwelten (Crystal Worlds) at its original Wattens site (near Innsbruck, Tyrol, Austria). Swarovski was also a sponsor for The Phantom of the Opera (2004 film), in which the "standing model" of the chandelier was composed of Swarovski crystals. A Swarovski shop window is also visible later in the film. However, the current swan logo, instead of the edelweiss flower which would have been the case in the era the film was set, appears. Swarovski crystal was born when Bohemian-born Daniel Swarovski invented an automatic cutting machine in 1892. In 1895 the Swarovski company was founded when he established a crystal cutting factory in Wattens. Here he could take advantage of local hydroelectricity for the energy-intensive grinding processes he had patented. Swarovski crystal contains approximately 32% lead to maximize refraction. The Swarovski Crystal range includes crystal sculptures and miniatures, jewelry and couture, home decor and chandeliers. They also sell beads and rhinestones, encouraging other manufacturers, artists and consumers to create their own designs. In order to create a crystal that allows light to refract in a rainbow spectrum, Swarovski coats some of its crystals with special metallic chemical coatings. Aurora Borealis, or "AB", is one of the most popular coatings, and gives the surface a rainbow oil slick appearance. Other coatings include Crystal Transmission, Volcano, Aurum, and Dorado. Coatings may be applied to only part of an object; others are coated twice, and thus are designated AB 2X, Dorado 2X etc