Austrian label Swarovski is an innovator, designer of glass crystals and creator of some of the most expensive lifestyle goods on the market today. The brand creates the crystals that we all know so well, but it also designs its own jewelry and collectible items, home decor, chandeliers and miniatures stamped with their swan logo. These items are some of the most expensive in the world when compared to similar products by other brands.
Swarovski, as we know it today, was founded in 1895. It started out as a glass cutting factory in Wattens, Austria. Since then, the brand has expanded into several subsidiary companies that include couture, gemstones, optics, interior design, lighting and architecture divisions. These subsidiaries support collaborations with the world of fashion, architecture, interior design and even road safety.
What makes a Swarovski creation different is the precisely cut glass crystals that shine brilliantly compared to other crystals. They reflect light almost like a diamond. While Swarovski has the technology and innovative designers to keep their designs cutting edge, there have been other brands who have wanted a Swarovski touch on their own products.
As a result, Swarovski and other brands like Victoria's Secret, Samsonite, Hello Kitty, BaubleBar, Electrolux, Aurumania, stores like Le Bon Marche, Saks 5th Avenue, Matsuya Ginza and designers like Alexander McQueen and Vera Wang have one-upped the competition. Collaborative creations have been featured in the form of couture at the Victoria's Secret Fashion Shows, a chandelier at the Chateau de Versailles, and in everyday products like Hello Kitty Zippo lighters and crystal studded Absolute Vodka bottles.
Here is a look at the 10 most expensive items created by Swarovski. Some of these are collaborations with independent designers or brands and Swarovski Elements. A few have been designed in-house by the Swarovski subsidiaries that create collectibles and home decor items and they are all equally jaw-dropping gorgeous.
10 Diamond Studded Konquest Hoodie: $10,000
If you ever wanted to own a diamond-studded hoodie, Konquest has just the piece for you. Priced at a stunning $10,000, these hoodies are dazzling affairs with over 4,000 crystals studded on each. They also have hand-painted designs and a 3 carat diamond for a zipper pull. However, if you're worried about undermining your masculinity in these garments, you don't have to worry. The hoodies have interesting design features such as horns and skulls that will never make you look like anything but a straight guy.
9 Eye Catcher Fridge: $15,729
Want to own a bespoke fridge that catches your eye (and the light) as it stands in your kitchen? The Eye Catcher, which is available through Harrods, is the most expensive refrigerator in the world. It was designed by Gorenje in collaboration with Swarovski for elite clients. The body is encrusted with 7,000 Swarovski crystals that have been hand-embedded on the black painted surface of the 200 cm tall fridge. The Eye Catcher is also a smart fridge, with a touch screen on the door.
8 Crystal Ergorapido Vacuum Cleaner: $18,993
If you are bored with your vacuum cleaner, why not get a Swarovski encrusted one? That is, if you are willing to shell out $18,993 for a piece of home cleaning equipment. The Ergorapido vacuum cleaner is designed for Electrolux by Polish designer Lukasz Mistletoe. Each unit is decorated with 3,730 crystals. The vacuum cleaner was first showcased in 2008 in Warsaw and displayed at London's Good Housekeeping Exhibit in March 2009.
7 Hyla GST Vacuum Cleaner: $21,900
Home appliances seem to be high on the list of designers who want something to slap Swarovski crystal elements on. Hyla spiced up the task of cleaning homes with its special edition Hyla GST - a luxury air purifier. Each unit comes decorated with 32,000 crystals and the brand's special Geyser Separator Technology.
6 Crystal Myriad, Ji Xiang: $24,385
A Swarovski studded limited edition sculpture of a pair of stunning red carps leaping into the air can bring good luck to your home, if you can afford such good luck that is. Created by designer Heinz Tabertshofer for Swarovski, inspired by the Chinese prosperity symbol the carp, the sculpture is exquisitely crafted. The polished crystal base shows off hues of blue like foaming waves. However, the brand has made only 300 of these pieces available and they are up for sale on their online store.
5 Samsonite Black Label Swarovski Trunk, de-listed; $25,000+
This item is de-listed, but it bears mention because of its sheer uniqueness! In 2008, Swarovski collaborated with Samsonite and added bling to its Black Label trunks by covering them entirely with crystal elements. The original price of the 1920's style trunk is around $950 without the crystals. The re-furbishing of the trunks with crystals raised the value of the Black Label by over 25 times. The 30 pieces that were created were sold at €19,000, which is a little over $25,000, making them one of the most expensive luggage trunks in history.
4 Swarovski Encrusted Crystal Isis Commode, $75,000
Ever wonder what type of commodes some billionaires sit down on early in the morning? You'll be surprised to find they may be more dazzling than a pair of diamond earrings. Hollywood, Florida designer Jemal Wright decided that ceramic commodes were too boring and they needed bling. So he studded a luxury commode completely with Swarovski crystals to create a $75,000 commode, which he named 'Isis'. The commode also has a matching sink and bathtub that you can buy for a bright start to your day.
3 Gold Plated Aurumania Bike with Swarovski Crystals, $102,000
The limited edition 24 carat gold-plated Aurumania bikes may be one of the world's most expensive bikes, and not because they have hi-tech features. These bikes are created by Aurumania and each one is studded with 600 Swarovski crystals, set by hand. The bikes are hand-built themselves, with interesting details like a leather saddle seat and handles wrapped with leather. Every bike is numbered – and there are only 10 of them available, making them highly exclusive.
2 Moneual Swarovski Encrusted PC, $450,000
If you thought the PC you have been saving up for is expensive, check out the 3,500 crystal studded HTPC. Designed by Moneul with Swarovski crystal elements, the PC is a stunning and extravagant piece of technology that was showcased at the CES 2010. In contrast to the price, the specs are quite ordinary - Blu Ray, HDMI and Windows Vista Home Premium, so you're not really paying for the configuration here. The jewels alone raise the value of the PC to $450,000, making it one of the most outrageously expensive personal computers in the market today.
1 Swarovski Studded Mercedes Benz SL600: $4.8 Million
In 2009, the outrageously beautiful Swarovski studded Mercedes SL600 was spotted at the Tokyo Auto Salon. Designed by car accessory designer Garson, the two 'Luxury Crystal Benz' models are each studded with a whopping 300,000 crystals. One has a gold theme and the other has a silver one. Each crystal has been shaped into a diamond and placed on the car body. Of course there is a high price attached to these blinding luxury vehicles – a whopping $4.8 million, making it one of Swarovski's most expensive collaborations. The Arab Prince Alwaleed has already bought one of these beauties, and takes it out for a spin on the streets of Dubai every so often.