crystalandglassbeads.com tells us that, "Rhinestones, or diamantes or paste, date back as far as the thirteenth century where they were first made from Czechoslovakian or Bohemian hand blown glass.
"The term rhinestone came later, when rock crystals were discovered in the river Rhine in Austria which could be cut and moulded to produce beautiful imitation diamonds ... These natural crystals resources became scarce, so jewellers sought to create artificial gemstones that duplicate the look of rhinestones.
"In the late 1700s, French Jeweller Georg Friedrich Strass discovered that by coating the back of glass crystals with metal they would produce an effect much like rock crystals or diamonds.
"The next step in the evolution of rhinestones came in the 19th century when Daniel Swarovski developed and patented a technique for precision glass cutting and polishing."