What size stones will I need?  I don’t understand the sizing.

When ordering rhinestones, size really does matter! It can be confusing to the uninitiated. This is vital – and you'd be forgiven for thinking that ss (stone size)16 meant 16mm...ss4 meant 4mm etc. It doesn't work that way.

I so often have people phone AFTER delivery, saying they made a mistake, their stones are too big/not big enough.

As a handy reminder/reference tool, we have our stone size strip - a laminated reference showing exact sizes. You can even drop a stone onto the strip to find out what size to re-order! (They're under "Accessories" if you want one!). As you are already here:


TINY – sold by

Factory Packs Only!


ss4 to ss20 sold by the gross pack

(144 stones)


Larger stones

Sold by the dozen


0.79-0.81 mm



1.50-1.60 mm


3.00-3.20 mm



6.35-6.50 mm


0.80-0.90 mm



1.70-1.80 mm


3.80-4.00 mm



7.05-7.25 mm


0.90-1.00 mm



1.90-2.00 mm


4.60-4.80 mm



8.40-8.65 mm


1.00-1.10 mm



2.10-2.20 mm





10.90-11.30 mm


1.10-1.20 mm



2.30-2.40 mm







1.20-1.30 mm



2.50-2.60 mm







1.35-1.40 mm



2.70-2.80 mm








How many rhinestones will I need?

One of the biggest questions - how many rhinestones will I need? Oh, we feel you!

Well, there are so many variables! What sized stones are you buying, how closely together are you going to place them, what’s the design, how much material do you have to cover?!

So, we spent a considerable amount of time putting together a useful guide for you to at least make your best guess a better one! Because you're worth it – go to:



How much are your rhinestones?

Please take time to browse the site.  Apart from the difference between manufacturer pricing, stones prices change with size, colour, fixing and shape.  Bright colours (Fuchsia, Siam, Capri Blue for example) can fall into one pricing band, AB coatings another and so on; most manufacturers have four or five pricing layers for colours alone.  Then there are the stone sizes within those colours.  Factory Pack discounts bring prices down as well.

Don’t forget to look out for pack sizes too!  Some will only sell Factory Packs – others who sell individually will tend to be packs of 100 stones.  We sell our rhinestones BY THE GROSS – that’s 144 stones per bag!  Which usually means you getting more for your money.  We also sell many sew-on stones individually.  We always endeavour to give you the best value we can.


Is it better to hotfix or use glue-on stones?

Now this is really down to personal choice, but to help you decide, here’s our little Guide:



I think I’m going with Hot Fix – but what’s the difference between ironing, “wands” and presses?

It isn’t as complex as it sounds – honestly.  Someone making a handful of hen night teeshirts might not have the same needs as someone setting up their own clothing company.  We’ve done a quick compare and contrast which will help you understand a little more and decide what’s right for you:



How do I glue on stones – and what glue do I need?

Just as the right tools for the job can make a huge difference, the right glue for your project is important to consider too.  Still, it’s easy to spend hours creating your masterpiece only to have some pieces “ping” off!  Here’s our little guide to glue and gluing which should give you enough tips to prevent that:



Do you make transfers – or can I do it; how?

We can special order bespoke Preciosa rhinestone transfers!  Just send us your spec:  stone colours, design as pdf with dimensions and quantities.  There is no minimum order. 

Alternatively, if you want to make your own transfers,it's not as hard as you might think - especially when you know someone who stocks hotfix tape Have a read through here: 



What is “AB”?

'AB' is the coating applied to stones comparable to a film of oil spilled across a road. It stands for Aurora Borealis, the natural light display in the Arctic circle and originated in 1956 when Swarovski used it in partnership with Dior to describe the effect achieved when a very thin layer of gold was vacuum-coated onto the surface of crystal. The play of facets, reflections and colours of this coating made an effect similar to viewing the Aurora Borealis...beautiful, shimmering and rather ethereal.

In the same way nature's light display switches, the AB effect on colours changes between them. For example, AB coating applied to light colours produces an effect which is subtle, luminescent and soft, similar to the soft colours seen on the surface of bubbles in certain lights - pinks, soft green, soft blue, soft yellow.

However, put the same AB coating on a dark colour the gold is more visible as gold and a metallic light aqua blue can be seen. It is particularly important to know that in the case of Ruby, Siam and Garnet the stone can look completely different with a strong blue/purple overtone.  Be aware it also can make many blues stones look the same – Indicolite AB and Montana AB side by side, for example, can be almost indistinguishable with Preciosa stones.  In other brands (for example, Aurora) the stones retain more of their base colour.

An AB coated stone will often take on the colours around it, such as the colour of the fabric it is glued to, and the other stone colours around it. In costuming using a combination of standard and AB stones can add depth and movement.The amount of AB coating can also make a difference...

Our photograph below shows a clear difference between two brands of 12x7 oval Crystal AB stones.

The Swarovskicoating seems to be heavy and "flat". The Preciosa appear to have an almost cosmic sparkle!

The issue is each eye sees something different and the AB effect changes from one colour to the next, under one set of lights to the next, in one photo to the next...


In the case of flatbacks, the entire top surface is coated, while the entire underside surface is not (it is usually silver-foiled).

Underside 'foiling' vs 'non-foiled' also make a difference...

A silver-foiled underside acts as a mirror so not only does the AB coating have the many cut facets of the crystal to reflect within, it has the added benefit of the silver-foiling which reflects back up into the facets.

I hope this helps!


Diamantés, Rhinestones, Crystals, DMC, Strass – what’s the difference?  How do I choose?!

Well if you want real detail, you can look into THE ORIGIN OF RHINESTONES – but here we’ll try to keep it clear and simple.

We're all on a budget - but the more informed a decision we can make the better! So...what's the difference?The same labels are essentially given to all diamond-like jewels, and that doesn’t help.  We tend to use the term diamantés for our budget range, DMC (Diamond Machine Cut) for the mid-range stones and Crystal Rhinestones for the highest quality brands – the best crystal you can buy.

You'll see products being advertised as rhinestones, diamantes and crystals everywhere. They are NOT all equal. This is reflected in the price.Be aware of buying “rhinestones” on Amazon and EBay. They're usually cheap low-grade glass or acrylic and really not great quality.

In terms of appearance, one of the most noticeable differences between acrylic, glass and crystal is the dazzling aesthetic. Light beautifully sparkles, glitters and shimmers as it travels through the crystal and eventually is diffracted. On the other hand, acrylic and glass does not diffract light when it passes through. Adding a foil coated back to flat stones aids with this effect on all stones.

1. ACRYLIC stones: Though sometimes classified as a type of glass it is in fact a thermoplastic. It is seventeen times more impact resistant than glass. It is very durable and difficult to break when dropped. HOWEVER - it is more susceptible to surfaces scratches due to everyday wear and tear. Acrylic is a much softer material and, therefore, easier to scratch and damage. The light/shine is very flat. We don't sell acrylic stones. They just don't sparkle too well. Great for cards and crafts.

2. GLASS diamantes: Glass does not diffract light the way crystal does. However, the best quality glass (AAA grade or K9) is a bead of exceptional quality, rated above and beyond anything you would expect in costume jewellery and will give the highest shine on a budget.

3. CRYSTAL rhinestones: The glittering quality of crystal is one of the main visible characteristics that distinguish it from glass and acrylic. Crystal is softer than glass, which makes it ideal for carving more complex three-dimensional shapes rather than moulding them - or adding more "cuts".

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Swarovski (Austrian Crystal) and Preciosa (Czech Crystal) have excelled and are the ultimate crystal creations.  Born from the same Bohemian roots in The Crystal Valley they grew across the same timeframe. Preciosa was a little less well known only because they were stuck behind the iron curtain for decades unable to trade under their name Preciosa. If you’re interested in knowing more about them, grab a coffee and read a little PRECIOSA HISTORY It is only the way they cut and their colour creations that differentiates – they are of equal quality.

Sadly in 2020 Swarovski made the decision to close ALL customer accounts worldwide by June 2021. No retail or wholesale packs are available.  They now focus on their accessories and clothing/fashion divisions working directly with Approved Businesses who createand manufacture products using Swarovski.  They have completely withdrawn Swarovski®Crystal Components (developed for retail, DIY and nails) are they are therefore no longer available to anyone.

PRECIOSA continue blending ancient tradition with the most innovative new technologies to create crystals and fine jewellery stones of unparalleled quality. The local sand is uniquely rich in silicon-oxide, making it ideal for glassmaking, and creating authentic Bohemian crystal.

AURORA crystals reach the highest European quality standards, and have anexemplary cut. The exceptionally brilliant AURORA crystals cut, with its faceting and incredible precision, puts lifts this range to some of the best available, with a huge range of colours, many hotfix shapes and costs well.

Rhinestone Online’s Premium DMC (Diamond Machine Cut) range was selected through similar rigorous tests and comparisons from samples across the world.  It’s a mid-range stone of high-precision production.

Our AAA Grade diamantes and highest-grade Crystal Tips and On Point ranges have been carefully sourced.  Proved to be superior in their production quality, they are more durable, uniform, colour-strong and have better clarity.

As with all choices and decisions, consideration goes to what you need them for, what you want them to do, quality, quantity and cost requirements. Personal preference is the deciding factor - we only share information to make your choices easier


Stones keep sticking to the tip of my hotfix applicator – what can I do?

A light touch with the correctly sized tip is all that is needed to apply stones.  The sizes are on the side of the brass tips, but if you can’t read it take a moment to check when cold which size tip fits the stones you are using easily.  Always ensure you pick up stones glue side down – we aren’t being sarcastic here.  Stones can flip or be tipped over and (especially when working at speed) you can sometimes swiftly pick one that is upturned, realising just a second too late!  Make sure stones are all flat and face-up on a non-absorbent surface (for hotfix stones our Aluminium trays are ideal).

Sometimes the user pushes down a little too hard when picking up the crystals.  It really doesn’t take much pressure to lift a stone.  This (and general use over time) can result in a build-up of residue glue on the tips of your applicator.  If a crystal becomes stuck, there is provision in the design of the tip to use an awl (or similar tool) to remove the stone.  The slit in the brass tip is there to slide a tool into (awl, needle etc) to gently push the stone down to release it.

Keep the tips clean with a cleaning brush – a wire brush is perfect.


My hotfix applicator isn’t making the stones stick – what’s wrong?

Do check the surface of the receiving material is clean and dry – no grease or dirt.  If it’s new material, has it been gently washed in warm water to remove any manufacturer’s residue? 

Is the material too porous?  A drop of water should soak into it, not sit on top.  If it does sit on top, you will need to roughen-up the surface a little before applying stones.  Denim and leather are perfect examples.

Have you got the timing right?  Not enough and the glue won’t have warmed through properly – too long and the glue begins to dry out.

The above are the most common reasons for hotfix stones not sticking; it’s in the application.  IF you are sure none of these apply, it’s time to consider the age of your applicator.  Although it should last a year or two (and longer, we’d hope), it might be it isn’t reaching temperature anymore and needs replacing.


Can you wash clothes embellished with rhinestones?

There are two considerations here: 

(a) will the stones stay on – glue-on/hotfix applied (sew-on should do!)

(b) will they be dulled or harmed by chemicals or processes?

It is strongly recommended the garments should only be washed by hand, using lukewarm water with a minimum amount of non-aggressive washing agents (detergents, washing agents designed for use with soft fabrics). Do not tumble dry or wring the washed products. Wrap them in a towel, gently squeeze the water out and then lay them out on an absorbent ground to dry (e.g. like woollen sweaters). An alternative procedure can be selected only after a positive test result has been achieved with a proof sample.

If the glue manufacturer has it’s own guidelines, follow them – but remember to consider that this also relies upon the effectiveness of the fixing.  If someone has applied the stones with inadequate skill they are at risk of detaching.

If attempting a machine wash, keep it at a low heat or handwash setting, turn the garment inside out and place it in a large netting laundry bag or sack. 

Some hotfix stones (properly applied) are recommended to be washed at 30° up to a maximum of 60°.