Difference Between Crystal and Rhinestone

Jewellery collection requires a lot of thought and action. Not only in identifying the right gems and stones but also in finding them at an affordable price. Fashionable choices in jewellery are always available in the market. While you don’t look out for your diamonds as it is expensive, crystal and rhinestone play a vital role in making you look presentable for any occasion.

Crystal vs Rhinestone

The main difference between Crystal and Rhinestone is in the formation of the stone. Crystals are formed naturally and available on earth, while Rhinestones are artificially made from crystals. As such, Crystals are always expensive than rhinestones, and it is also called a poor woman’s crystal.

Crystal vs Rhinestone

A crystal is a solid structure that is naturally formed on earth. It is a pure substance that has atoms and molecules arranged in a structured fashion. The shape of crystals is generally arranged in an appropriate geometric form. The atoms and molecules may at times extend up to three dimensions as well.

On the other hand, rhinestones are made out of crystals. They are considered artificial. However, they might glitter a lot and can be compared to diamonds for their beauty. A few less expensive rhinestones are also made out of acrylic materials.

Comparison Table Between Crystal and Rhinestone

Parameters of ComparisonCrystalRhinestone
Glitter EffectCrystals glitter naturallyRhinestone glitters as it is backed by foil or metal that is injected while it is made.
ShapeCrystal comes in different shapes.Rhinestones are constrained to two different shapes.
Colour ReflectionMajorly depends on the absorption of light and also the refraction of the light.Depends on the make, it comes in 4 different colours, and it also depends on the metal backing of the stone.
DurabilityMore Durable than the rhinestonesLess Durable
PriceExpensiveLess Expensive compared to the Crystals

What is Crystal?

A crystal is a solid structure that is formed naturally on earth by a process called Crystallization. The structure consists of molecules and atoms that are arranged occasionally. These elements extend in many directions, thus determining the shape of the crystal.

While crystals are solids, not all solids are crystals. The liquid, when freezes, become solid. However, they form a polycrystalline structure which is not a crystal as such. The same goes good with few rocks too.

Few examples of Crystals are

  1. Diamond
  2. Snowflakes
  3. Table salt
  4. Sugar

Crystals come in different shapes. This is predominantly since many crystals have a different molecular bond, and this helps in shaping the crystal naturally. Of course, it is a natural phenomenon, and there is no interference from artificial technology.

Crystal gives out natural light, and it primarily depends on the refraction of the light. The shape of the crystal and the internal molecular angle also determines the reflection of the light. The sparkle of a crystal is always elegant.

Crystals are considered to be durable. Crystals normally emerge with special properties. These properties include optical, mechanical as well as electrical properties. Not all the crystals might have these properties, though.

What is Rhinestone?

Rhinestone is an artificially made gemstone that shall easily pass off as an original gemstone. It is a cheap gemstone that is made out of crystals. More rhinestones are made from glass materials, thereby reducing the price of the jewellery.

These days Rhinestones are made from lead glass which facilitates a high level of refraction of light. It makes the stone glitter but not as sparkling as the crystals. They are indeed an imitation of the gemstones and can be purchased for a very less price.

Rhinestones are not durable and are prone to break. The refraction of the light is artificial. This is done by backing the stone with foil or metal. This shall help to reflect the light and facilitates continuous refraction inside the stone.

Unlike crystals, rhinestones come in two shapes.

  1. Cabochon
  2. Faceted

The colour that reflects from the rhinestone also is categorized. As it is artificial, the rhinestone reflects 4 different colours.

  1. Transparent
  2. Emerald
  3. Aurora Borealis
  4. Fake diamond colour

Though Rhinestone was gathered in the banks of the river Rhine, the stones that came aftermath are all man-made. Rhinestones are usually used in apparels than jewellery. However, few rhinestones with sparkling glory are also used in pendants and studs.

Main Differences Between Crystal and Rhinestone

  1. The main difference between Crystal and Rhinestone is the reflection and refraction capability of the stone. Crystal refracts the light naturally, and it depends on the kind of light it absorbs, while the rhinestones are backed by foil or metal that helps in reflecting the light that it comes across.
  2. Crystal jewellery is usually expensive than the ones with rhinestones.
  3. Crystals come in different shapes, and it is due to the atomic formation, while the Rhinestones are made in two different shapes; Cabochon and Faceted.
  4. Crystal stones used in jewellery are usually strong, and in general, the crystals are durable when compared to rhinestones.
  5. The sparkling effect is natural is better in Crystals than the rhinestones.
Difference Between Crystal and Rhinestone


Rhinestone had its charm when Nudie Suit was invented in the year 1940. However, natural elements are always excellent compared to man-made ones. The usage of gemstones is always not affordable. Purchasing such jewellery not adds charm but also saves your bank balance. The artificial ones give tough competition to the existing diamonds and stones. The crystals are most sought after indeed. However, the rhinestones are catchy too.

The sparkling effect that is unnaturally created using the metal powders helps in the shine factor of the jewellery too. The fashion world has a lot in store in terms of beauty and luxury. The less expensive stones can easily pass off like diamonds, and hence rhinestones are called imitation diamonds.


  1. https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/0953-8984/14/25/318/meta
  2. https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Anthony-Kampf/publication/273260246_CSI_Mineralogy_Fakes_Frauds_and_Shoddy_Science/links/54ff24550cf2672e2242d01b/CSI-Mineralogy-Fakes-Frauds-and-Shoddy-Science.pdf
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