Swarovski was unanimously selected for the award in recognition of his many contributions in the fields of glass melting with optical purity, design and automation of crystal grinding and polishing technologies and precision faceting and surface polishing. Mr. Swarovski has spear headed the family business’ expansion over the past thirty years. It is now the largest manufacturer of cut crystal in the world, supplying the fashion industry, the fashion jewelry industry, the chandelier and art object industries as well as manufacturing diverse consumer products sold under the company’s brand name. The technologies for crystal glass production have been perfected over many years under the guidance of Mr. Swarovski, which gives Swarovski’s crystal its brilliant “lights.”
While accepting the prestigious award at a black tie dinner at Le Pré Catelan, Mr. Swarovski said he was deeply honored and pleased that Paris was selected as the city to host the banquet. He thanked the committee members for traveling, near and far and said it was a sign of how important and distinctive the Phoenix Award is. Mr. Swarovski said “Paris is the capital of luxury and fashion and is exactly the place, where the Swarovski journey began.”
Helmut Swarovski is the great-grandson of Daniel Swarovski, the founder of the now 112-year-old company. Mr. Swarovski was named managing partner in 1978 and has been responsible for manufacturing worldwide as well as for management, new business development and research and development since 1970. Mr. Swarovski received his degree in Industrial Engineering in Munich, Germany in 1967.
The Swarovski group of companies include the abrasive manufacturer, Tyrolit, with manufacturing centers in fifteen countries and Swarovski Optik, a premium brand of binoculars and sports optical equipment. With consolidated sales of USD 3.6 billion,
Swarovski produces optical-grade crystal in Wattens, Austria and finished products in many other countries. There are sales offices and Swarovski stores in 160 countries. Today, Mr. Swarovski is proud to be able to employ some 22,000 people worldwide.
Mr. Swarovski’s interests include visiting trade fairs, other manufacturers and R & D centers around the world, particularly those involved in glass. He likes hunting and hiking in the Alps of Tyrol and in Africa and Alaska. He collects glass-making literature, guns, antiques and modern art. He also enjoys aviation, golf and – especially - time with his family, which includes his wife Danna and daughters, Vanessa and Nadja.
Other associations, honors and decorations include:
* “Medal of Honour” in Silver of the Austrian Association of Engineers, 1989
* Decoration of Honour of the Federal Province of Tyrol, 1992
* Sovereign of the “Gemological Institute of America’s League of Honor”
* Senior Member of the Society of Manufacturing Engineers, USA
* Title “Kommerzialrat” (Commercial Councellor), bestowed by the Republic of Austria in 2000
* Honorary Senator of the University of Innsbruck
* Medal of “Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres” from the French Republic in 2001
* “Grand Decoration of Honor in Gold” for Services to the Republic of Austria in 2006
* “Order of Merit” in Gold given by the Lutheran Church of Austria, 2007.
Helmut Swarovski, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of D. Swarovski & Co., accepting The Phoenix Award and “Glass Person of the Year” honors.
Pat Battersby, Phoenix Award Committee Chairman presenting Helmut Swarovski with the 2007 Phoenix Award.
THE PHOENIX AWARD
In May 1971, representatives of nineteen major suppliers to the glass industry met in New York City to form an association for the express purpose of recognizing outstanding individuals who have made noteworthy contributions to the glass industry. As a result of this meeting, the Phoenix Award Committee was born and soon adopted a code of by-laws with the following Preamble:
“It is the purpose of the Phoenix Award Committee to select, each year, a person now living, who has been active in and has made contributions to any phase of the glass industry. This may be in the field of science, production, or education relating to glass,
and shall include glass containers, fiber glass, scientific glass, flat glass, tableware and electronic glass… As a symbol of this Award the recipients shall be presented with a glass sculpture representing the mythological Phoenix Bird.”
Committee members serve for a period of four years, and six new members are elected each year to replace those whose terms have expired. Membership is on an individual, not on a corporate basis. Members must be employed by a company which is a supplier to the glass manufacturing industry.
Helmut’s great-grandfather Daniel Swarovski, was born in Georgenthal – Northern Bohemia – an area, where glass manufacturing reaches back, well into the 14th century. His focus was on ornamental, decorative glass elements for the jewelry and fashion industry. Daniel Swarovski began to mechanize his handicraft of faceted crystal jewelry stones and invented an automatic glass faceting machine. The technical breakthrough resulted in a superior product in efficiency, appearance, price and quality.
In 1880, at the age of 18 years old, he went to Paris to introduce his product and his new idea. In the fashion capitals Paris, London, Vienna and New York diamonds were “en rage”. Correspondingly, the fashion for imitation diamond jewelry was tremendous. He recognized the potential for his invention and began to develop a crystal brilliant cut stone, resembling the diamond, which was later to develop into the classical Swarovski-Stone, the “Chaton”.
Years later, to safeguard the fruits of his hard work and the advantage he had won over his competitors in Bohemia, he decided to move away to Wattens Austria, near Innsbruck in the Tyrolean Alps. There he found waterpower and labor for an industrial operation. The factory was operational within weeks. Production went well and his crystal stones (pierres taille de Tyrol) were supplied to dealers back in Paris for worldwide distribution.
Swarovski manufacturing facility in Wattens Austria