Daniel Swarovski grew up in a glass-cutting family in Bohemia. After attending Vienna’s First Electrical Exhibition when he was 21, he dreamed of creating a machine that used electricity to cut crystals in an automated process.
In 1892, Swarovski patented an electric-powered machine to precisely cut glass into multifaceted crystals. Swarovski and two others formed a company named for his family. They needed considerable electrical power to run the new glass cutting, grinding and polishing machinery.
Water and electric power led to Wattens
The Austria Alps city of Wattens — having recently created hydro-electricity plant –offered an inexpensive and abundant source of electrical energy. Swarovski established its crystal cutting factory and company operations there, away from competitors but reasonable close to major markets like Paris.
Swarovski developed its technology into applications such as optical products, abrasives, grinding tools, and the manufacture of decorative stones made from crystal.
Today, Wattens, Tyrol, located near Innsbruck, in the Austrian Alps, remains the global headquarters for Swarovski.
A 100th anniversary tribute
In 1995, to celebrate the company’s 100th anniversary, Swarovski created Crystal Worlds (Kristallwelten) — a grass-covered giant housing a series of subterranean wonder chambers — conceived by André Heller.
Nine million people have visited the underground grotto, entering under the water-spouting Giant with sparkling eyes. Inside, globally-recognized artists created glittering displays showcasing ultra-brilliant crystal in the Chambers of Wonder.
A café to rest from shopping
Crystal Worlds also contains the world’s largest Swarovski shop. Room after room, filled with sparkling items, vies for your attention. The CAFí‰-terra offers food and drinks to sustain shopping visitors.
A maze and gardens outside
When you have become overwhelmed by the ultra-bright crystals inside, the surrounding area outside the cave offers a relaxing alpine garden, art sculptures, a maze and panoramic views of the surrounding Tyrol area.
Visit as a Part of the Innsbruck Card
We discovered Swarovski Crystal Worlds during a visit to Innsbruck. Admission to Swarovski Crystal Worlds and a shuttle bus transfer to and from Watters is included in the Innsbruck Card — one of the best city card deals we ever experienced because it includes everything from public transportation to ski lifts to museums to the The Sightseer bus tour and much more for a reason price. It also includes discounts on adventures such as the Olympic bobsled ride and ice skating arena. Click here for more information on the Innsbruck Card.
We enjoy discovering new places, especially those with sparkling jewelry (Mrs. Jones) and cafes with Austrian Kaffee und Kuchen (Mr. Jones). What’s your favorite destination discovery? Please share in comments.