Advanced Optics/Fiber Optics

High quality fiber optics from Mainz help the artworks made of crystal from Austria to truly sparkle. Photo: SCHOTT/A. Stephan
Michael Kömpf

Playing with Light

The name Swarovski stands for the fascinating world of cut crystal. Nevertheless, the Austrian company with a long tradition also offers high quality binoculars, telescopes and telescopic sights.

It is mainly the crystal that stands in the spotlight. The small filigree crowns of the debutants at the Viennese Opera Ball in 2008 or »Bling H2O«, the water bottles for upscale restaurants that are covered with CRYSTALLIZED™ Swarovski elements are the latest examples of the virtuosity of Swarovski. Premium quality fiber optic units and light sources from SCHOTT assist Swarovski in setting the stage for its crystals. The perfect interaction of crystal and light in those familiar Swarovski shops that sell crystal figures, jewelry and accessories successfully all over the world produces that popular spectacle of brilliance and color. In addition, SCHOTT also supplies custom-made fiber optic solutions for architectural elements. After all, the traditional Austrian company offers a wide variety of lighting solutions, for instance so-called »Crystal Starry Skies« for use in interior and light design. Swarovski crystals bundle and distribute light beams and, thus, allow colors and patterns to play unique games on the ceilings and walls of exclusive bars, hotels and wellness oases. ”This is why we customize our glass fiber optic products to meet individual design challenges,” explains Patricia Alter, SCHOTT division manager on lighting in the area of fiber optics. But, the Austrian Group also offers a range of products in which their high quality really only reveals itself when one looks through them. Nature watchers, hunters and amateur astronomers all over the world swear by the quality of Swarovski Optik. Founded in 1949, this company specializes in the development and production of long-range optical instruments of the highest precision in the premium segment of the global market. The binoculars, telescopes, optronic instruments, rifle scopes, range finders and night sights are the products of choice for professional users and demanding nature observers.
In selecting its optical glasses, Swarovski relies on know-how from SCHOTT. Photo: SCHOTT/A. Lechner
Swarovski and SCHOTT have been in close contact with each other already for generations. Today, for example, the glass experts from Mainz are the largest supplier of optical subassemblies for Swarovski Optik: ”SCHOTT provides the preforms for the vast majority of prisms and lenses that are built into higher quality devices – tendency rising,” explains Patrick Holota from SCHOTT Austria. The technology group cooperates closely with its partners in Austria. To achieve the best possible imaging results, the engineers from SCHOTT select the perfect glass type for the respective application from a broad range of around 110 different optical glasses. Subassemblies in all geometrical shapes with a rough, matt surface are then delivered to Swarovski for processing. Honing, polishing, coating and application of an anti-reflective coating are the key to enabling a highly transparent view through premium quality binoculars. However, reliability of delivery is also a crucial element of the business relationship. SCHOTT always finds a way to supply Swarovski with the appropriate type of glass needed, even if manufacturing it requires relatively rare raw ingredients.

Both companies can look back on many years of successful cooperation. And, according to Helmut Swarovski, Managing Partner of D. Swarovski & Co., the plans for the future call for even more intensive exchange on strategic orientation, manufacturing technologies in use, crystal and glass products, as well as fiber optics and LED lighting components.