|Acrylic crystal is sometimes called "crystal look" or "simulated crystal" and sold in chains or garlands. They are typically connected with loops or bow-ties (as are most glass crystals). We could produce acrylic crystal in our factory, just as we manufacture our own Ethereal Brand wholesale crystals. However, we have resisted the idea, not because it's tacky or horrible, but because we simply don't love it. If we don't love it, it's hard to muster up enough enthusiasm to sell it. If we wouldn't break down and use it ourselves and can't tell you "it's amazing" wholeheartedly, we just can't sell it.
In Person, Plastic Acrylic "Crystals" look like Plastic ... Because they are.
In our opinion (and we have many), acrylic and "crystal" shouldn't even be used in the same sentence. Acrylic can be ok, but if you put the two words together, we consider it a diabolical insult to fine crystal all over the world ... a mockery, a travesty, a grotesque and absurd imitation of reality! Ok, maybe it's not that serious. Let's just say It's just not the same. Fine glass crystals are simply in a higher class.
Crystal, to most people, usually implies a glass of fine quality and posessing a high degree of brilliance. What is acrylic? Acrylic simply refers to a certain type of polymer which is basically a different variety of plastic. Some are quite bad and some are definitely better than others, but they are all P-L-A-S-T-I-C. If acrylic suits your needs and budget, by all means use it, but don't fool yourself into thinking no one will be able to tell it's acrylic or plastic.
We don't sell any acrylic, however, common name brands of acrylic made into sheets include Polycast, Lucite and Plexiglass. Acrylic "crystals" as they are called, are made of the same type of material. There are two basic types of acrylic: extruded and cell cast. Acrylic is used to make lots of different products including skylights, shatter resistant windows, shower doors, bath tub and shower enclosures.
The www.dictionary.com definition of acrylic resin is as follows: n. Any of numerous thermoplastic or thermosetting polymers or copolymers of acrylic acid, methacrylic acid, esters of these acids, or acrylonitrile, used to produce paints, synthetic rubbers, and lightweight plastics.
From The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
Copyright © 2006 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Acrylic Beads on TV
Acrylic beads and curtains are used a lot on movie and tv sets. Some web sites even promote it as being used by this production company or that television show. In movies or television, you have probably seen acrylic crystals used as a room divider in some club or as a beaded curtain hanging in a doorway in some palm reader's shop, etc. In addition, in filiming television shows and movies, these productions have all kinds of special equipment, smoke and mirrors to achieve whatever effect is needed, however most events will only have a lighting designer at most. In any case, it may be just fine if you are filming an episode of CSI Miami, but it's not the elegant look most upscale event planners and florists are striving for.
We Don't Manufacture or Sell Chains or Rolls of Acrylic Beads
We don't manufacture or sell chains or rolls of Acrylic crystals or acrylic beads. We only manufacture our own Ethereal crystals of quality glass and only carry other brands of crystals that we can get truly excited about. Acrylic "crystals" cannot produce the same type of sparkle and does not make real rainbows. It just won't happen. In addition, plastic usually looks even more dull in wedding photographs. We are not saying that acrylic is horrible, there are some that are reasonably nice, just not fabulous. We are impressed with fabulous crystals.
Why Some Acrylic Beads or "Crystals"Look Colorful in Pictures
Well it definitely isn't from diamond-like sparkle and rainbows! Frequently, acrylic beads, acrylic crystals or acrylic prisms are coated with a plastic coating called "AB" or Aurora Borealis which is a metallic or "mirror-like" pastel coating that makes them look colorful as opposed to the uncoated ones. Fine crystal doesn't need it.
The purpose of the AB coating is to try to simulate rainbows and to add some type of shimmer, however it is light-years different from natural sparkle and real rainbows ushered in by natural sparkle. For those who think the overall effect will be about the same as with Swarovski (or high quality glass crystal for that matter), all we can say is, dream on ... we won't wake you.
Another problem with AB is that the back of the crystal (or some of the facets or cuts) have this coating on it, stopping light from passing through properly. In addition, when the chains move or swing, or from the "other" side of your installation, project or tree, you will see the backs of the acrylic "crystals". Call us particular, but in addition to the "faux" sparkle, we don't like how Acrylic crystals with AB coating look from the back either. Most acrylic is usually easily distinguished as plastic. It may be acceptable to some, but definitely not a prime, high-end look or for the particular client.
Acrylic is Definitely not the Most "High-End", Elegant Look
Have you ever heard anyone call plastic or acrylic, fabulous? Some acrylics may be "reasonable", but not fabulous. Decorating an important event like a wedding or any other upscale, elegant affair with rolls and rolls of plastic, faux crystals may be acceptable in some circumstances, but real crystal simply takes the same decor project or installation over the top from cute to luxuriously glamorous.
The Top Event Planners Use Swarovski or High Quality Glass Crystal
You never see the top 2 or 3 event planners, known for their amazing designs, using anything less than glass crystals at their events or in any of their beautiful event planning books. In most cases, you will find that the top event planners, the ones looked up to by all the rest, use Swarovski crystals. They choose it for the high sparkle. If they want something a little more subtle, they use another variety of glass crystal. High quality glass crystals like Swarovski, looks amazing even without the best lighting. Good lighting just makes it that much better. On the flip side, poor crystal or acrylic crystals need even better lighting to look like anything at all. That's a fact.
So what's left? Lead crystal and finest quality lead free glass crystals. We don't recommend leaded crystals for a variety of reasons. One reason is they are heavier than lead free glass crystals, making them unnecessarily heavy on tree branches and other floral arrangements unless they are in small 14mm or 16mm sizes. However, the main reason is the lead. We don't want to be exposed to it ourselves.
A Sampling of all Fine Glass Crystals are Below