Swarovski a let-down in Vienna

The Swarovski swan - still a symbol of exclusiveness?

Entering the glittering, almost fragile world of a Swarovski store makes you understand why the swan is the company’s symbol. But there are three stores that betray that image.

It’s the mystical shimmer of the jewellery in the glass-vitirnes that makes the necklaces, bracelets, rings and earrings seem worth the money the tiny price-tags demand for them.

If you’ve ever been to stores like Accesoirize, Bijou Brigitte or Six, you know the picture of endless rows of hooks on the walls – carrying 20 copies of the same pieces of jewellery.

Can you transfer that image to a Swarovski store? I didn’t think so.

But the Swarovski people do. In Vienna, Austria, there is one of the three Swarovski stores that follow the same model as the stores mentioned above. (The others are in Innsbruck (Austria) and Wattens (Tirol).)

All pieces of jewellery dangle from rows and rows of hooks – denying the idea that they’re unique and somehow markers of your individuality and special taste.

It says: Stretch Bracelets €38 - but don't they look cheap?

Huge grey-transparent plastic bags – not unlike the big blue ones you get at Ikea – where handed out to put tiny pieces of jewellery in.

When I entered this store, at first I thought, this was a place where they offered fakes. But that wasn’t the case.

A look at the sticky price tags attached to the jewellery was the only thing that told me that the stuff was real: They still wanted hundreds of Euros for necklaces that hundreds of people had touched and played around with.

Perception of the brand changed

Now, that’s against everything that I believed Swarovski wanted to stand for.

I used to think that the sparkling swan, the royal blue walls and vitrines wanted to convey some kind of exclusiveness that somehow justified the prices.

But looking at that store where everything came in dozens changed that perspective.

It's like Swarovski 'pick'n'mix' in Vienna.

An employee at the store told me that these three stores are something like the ‘original’ stores connected to the Swarovski family. And all other stores or franchise partners.

Well, I’m glad they’re sourcing out then.

Because I would never buy a piece of Swarovski jewellery again if all the stores looked like the one in Vienna.

I’m not sure if I will buy anything soon, because seeing that store in Vienna proved to me that everything I buy isn’t as unique, as special as all the other stores made me believe it was.

That store definitely changed my perception of the Swarovski brand. For the worse.

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