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Wednesday, September 28, 2016

NEW! Swarovski Shimmer Effect for DanceSport: Love it or Leave it?

One of the best parts of being a ballroom dancer is undeniably the rhinestones! There is literally no other situation in life where it is perfectly acceptable to wear thousands of crystals all over your body, and I would be lying if I didn’t say that's hugely appealing to me. On a related note, one really exciting part of my job is that I occasionally get sent samples of Swarovski’s newest releases to share with my readers! Even more exciting is the news that Swarovski has finally realized that DanceSport competitors make up a huge part of their client base and designed a line of crystals just for us!

While DanceSport competitors have been buying Swarovski crystals by the truckload for decades, Swarovski never really took notice of the specific needs of ballroom dancers. DanceSport costumes are unique beasts in that they need to look great at up close and at a distance, and no stones really addressed that. The regular stones have the best color variety, but they don’t shine as well at a distance. In contrast, the AB stones are excellent at shining and catching the eye at a distance, but the heavy AB coating means that it's often difficult to differentiate between similar colors. In the past, I've even discussed my issue own with having a blue necklace made to match a dress, because the AB coating distorted the color of the blue stones. Finally, however, Swarovski has taken notice of our needs and developed a new line of flat-back crystals designed to remedy those issues.

The newly released Shimmer Effect coating provides the best of both worlds. The new shimmer coating is essentially a lighter version of the popular AB coating. It still gives the increased shine you get from AB, but it keeps the stones' true to color. The best way to explain the difference is that AB stones get a slightly mirrored effect thanks to their heavy metallic coating, which allows them to reflect light similar to a mirror. In contrast, the lighter shimmer stones don’t get the mirrored effect, which means they have slightly reduced reflection, producing more of a shimmery/glisten effect than a shine or flash. But, the reduced AB coating means that the stones actually appear the same color as their non-AB counterparts, which is really helpful! Check out the image below to see the difference:
While I really appreciate that the new Shimmer Effect stones provide more true-to-color options, I’m not head-over-heels for them yet. One of my main concerns is that the color selection is somewhat limited with only fifteen shades. While Swarovski maintains that they’ve selected the most popular colors in DanceSport to introduce their new line, I’m not sure if I agree. Most noticeably Swarovski did not include Crystal in their selected colors for the Shimmer Effect release, which is strange to me since that is by far the most commonly used stone in DanceSport. Further, there are no true pinks or true purples – just Fuchsia. This means that your ability to use the new stones is going to be severely limited by the available colors. And for the record, I’m not the only one complaining about the limited color selection. Almost everyone I’ve spoken with has complained about Swarovski’s chosen color selection for this new release, as we all feel that there are some gaps in the collection (Emerald or Jet, anyone?).
In addition to the limited color selection, the shape and size selection is limited too. Presently, the stones are only available as round flat-backs sizes SS12, 16, 20, 30, and 40. While that pretty much covers your round flat-back needs, it really leaves a gap in regards to fancy stones. Fancy stones have become increasingly popular over the past couple year, as they add depth to the costume and create a more luxurious look. The lack of Shimmer Effect fancy stones is going to be a complication, as many people prefer to stick with one type of coating on their costume. So while I’m definitely on board with the idea behind the Shimmer Effect stones, I don’t see them catching on unless Swarovski ups their diversity game.

If you want my honest opinion, I probably won't be ordering any dresses with Shimmer Effect stones in the near future. It's not because I don't like the stones, but rather the limited color and shape options don't fit my needs. That being said, if I ordered a dress with Silk or Topaz stones I’d reach for these new Shimmer stones immediately, as they wouldn’t be confused for Crystal AB – in fact, I may add some of these beauties to a nude dress that currently only has Crystal AB stones. In reality, I think the popularity of the new Shimmer Effect Stones is going to come down to availability and personal preferences, so we’ll have to wait to see if they really catch on.

If you’re interested in purchasing any of the new Shimmer Effect stones you can check them out at Har-Man Importing, who not only have currently them in stock, but will also price match the best-advertised price. Plus, if you place $300 order they’ll include a sample box of Swarovski’s new releases, which I’ve already got my hands on and will be discussing soon! Let me know in the comments if you’ve had a chance to check out the new stones and if you’ll be using them any time soon!

All images used are courtesy of Har-Man Importing Co. and Swarovski. This post is not sponsored.

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