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Crystal vs. Rhinestone: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Janet White || Published on December 4, 2023
Crystals are natural or synthetic minerals with a regular structure, while rhinestones are glass or acrylic imitations with a faceted appearance.

Key Differences

Crystals are naturally occurring or artificially created minerals known for their regular, repeating internal structure, which often results in unique and striking shapes. Rhinestones, in contrast, are man-made imitations typically crafted from glass, acrylic, or crystal, designed to mimic the brilliance and sparkle of diamonds.
The term "crystal" refers to substances that have formed through a process of crystallization, resulting in a distinct geometric arrangement. Rhinestones, however, do not naturally form this way; instead, they are manufactured to achieve their characteristic sparkle and are often backed with reflective materials to enhance their brightness.
Crystals are valued for their clarity, natural beauty, and sometimes for their purported metaphysical properties. Rhinestones, being artificial, are primarily used for decorative purposes, offering an affordable alternative to precious stones for use in jewelry, clothing, and accessories.
Crystals can be found in various forms, including quartz, amethyst, and diamonds, each with its unique properties and uses, while rhinestones are generally uniform in composition, differing mainly in size, color, and the quality of the cut and polish.
In terms of durability, crystals vary depending on their type, with some being quite hard and resistant to scratches, while others are more delicate. Rhinestones, especially those made of glass, are more prone to scratching and can lose their luster over time if not properly cared for.

Comparison Chart


Natural or synthetic mineral
Man-made, often from glass or acrylic


Natural geometric shapes
Faceted to mimic diamonds


Valued for natural beauty and rarity
Valued for affordability and decorative appeal


Varies by type, some are very hard
Prone to scratches, may lose luster


Jewelry, healing, industrial applications
Decorative purposes in fashion and accessories

Crystal and Rhinestone Definitions


High-quality, clear, fine glass or transparent acrylic.
The chandelier was adorned with sparkling crystals.


A simulated diamond made from crystal or glass, often used in jewelry and decoration.
Her dress was embellished with shimmering rhinestones.


A solid material whose atoms are arranged in a highly ordered, repeating pattern.
The quartz crystal displayed a stunning hexagonal shape.


A colorless artificial gem of paste or glass, often with a foil backing.
The rhinestone brooch sparkled under the light.


A clear, transparent form of quartz, often used in jewelry.
Her necklace featured a large rose quartz crystal.


An imitation gemstone made from rock crystal, glass, or acrylic.
Rhinestone earrings are a popular and affordable accessory.


A device used in electronics that uses the mechanical resonance of vibrating crystal of piezoelectric material.
The radio’s precision is due to its quartz crystal oscillator.


A small, shiny ornament used for decorating costumes and apparel.
The dancer’s costume was covered in blue and green rhinestones.


A piece of a homogeneous solid substance having a natural geometrically regular form.
He admired the crystal's perfect symmetry.


A faceted stone used in costume jewelry and to simulate precious stones.
The vintage necklace featured red rhinestones set in gold-tone metal.


A homogenous solid formed by a repeating, three-dimensional pattern of atoms, ions, or molecules and having fixed distances between constituent parts.


A usually colorless artificial gem of crystal, glass, or another material, often with a flat metallic backing to create sparkling facets on the front.


The unit cell of such a pattern.


An artificial diamond, strass.
Lucinda sewed rhinestones into her scarf to add a bit of flair.


Made of or encrusted with rhinestones.
Karl wore a cowboy hat with a rhinestone hatband when he played his country and western gigs.


A colorless stone of high luster, made of paste. It is much used as an inexpensive ornament.


An imitation diamond made from rock crystal or glass or paste


What is a crystal?

A crystal is a solid material with atoms arranged in a repeating pattern, often found in nature or synthesized.

What are rhinestones made of?

Rhinestones are usually made from glass, acrylic, or crystal, crafted to mimic the appearance of diamonds.

Can crystals form naturally?

Yes, crystals like quartz and amethyst form naturally through geological processes.

How are rhinestones used in fashion?

Rhinestones are commonly used in fashion for embellishing clothing, jewelry, and accessories due to their sparkle.

Do crystals have healing properties?

Some people believe in the metaphysical properties of crystals for healing, but these claims are not scientifically proven.

Are rhinestones considered valuable?

Rhinestones are valued for their decorative appeal but are not considered as valuable as genuine gemstones.

What differentiates a crystal from a rhinestone?

Crystals are natural or synthetic minerals with regular structures, whereas rhinestones are artificial, made to mimic diamonds.

Do rhinestones come in different colors?

Yes, rhinestones can be found in a variety of colors.

Can rhinestones be made of actual crystal?

Yes, some high-quality rhinestones are made from cut crystal.

Are rhinestones always shiny?

Rhinestones are designed to be shiny, but their luster can diminish without proper care.

Are crystals expensive?

The price of crystals varies widely, depending on the type and quality.

How can I tell if a rhinestone is of good quality?

Good quality rhinestones have high clarity, good cut, and bright sparkle.

Can rhinestones be recycled?

Rhinestones can be reused in crafts, but recycling options depend on their material.

How are crystals used in technology?

Crystals like quartz are used in electronic devices for accurate timekeeping.

Is crystal glass the same as crystal mineral?

No, crystal glass refers to high-quality glass, while crystal minerals are naturally occurring substances.

Are all crystals transparent?

Not all crystals are transparent; some like opal and turquoise are opaque.

What's the main use of rhinestones?

Rhinestones are primarily used for decorative purposes.

Do crystals have industrial uses?

Yes, crystals are used in various industries, including electronics and optics.

Are rhinestones durable?

Rhinestones, especially glass ones, can scratch easily and may lose luster over time.

Can crystals be synthetic?

Yes, there are synthetic crystals like cubic zirconia and lab-grown diamonds.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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