"The Northern Lights in nature is a spectacle of color and light found in the northern areas of the world. The wonderful stones referred to as Aurora Borealis in jewelry making also have dazzling display of color and shimmer. They sparkle and have a myriad of stone coatings to give us this nature in jewelry look.
"In the early to mid 1950s, the Swarovski Company began experimenting with rhinestone coatings to produce a lustrous aurora borealis coating on crystals to make them more radiant and full of color. The process was meant to simulate the effect of the Northern Lights – the celestial Aurora Borealis. This process was perfected by 1955 by Swarovski. The well known rhinestone maker worked closely with Christian Dior in the design of jewelry with these stones.
"The first jewelry designs made from the stones with this shimmery coating was only available to the very wealthy. However, the process was soon licensed for use by other manufacturers such as Corocraft, who used it in their Vendome line, and soon started to become more affordable. Year later, when plastic beads with this finish became all the rage, the jewelry became cheaper and able to be purchased by the general public at reasonable prices.
When you examine a rhinestone or glass bead with the aurora borealis coating, you are in for a treat. You will see shimmering colors radiating from the beads in a variety of shades. Glass beads with an aurora borealis finish, particularly, pick up the colors around them. Early colors had mainly a bluish coating, sometimes called meridian blue, but over the years more and more variations in the coating color was perfected and the stones now have a wide variety of colors available. There are even charts which show all the coatings available today.
"Aurora Borealis stones and beads used in jewelry making were very popular until the mid 1960s, when the used of them tended to fade from the manufacture of jewelry, only to have a huge resurgence in the later years of the last century."