Tell me about it *The Collector*

Helloooooo Buns! Welcome!

This is NOT a post about The Collector, Marvel's fiction character.

This is a post about our friend and Best Man of our wedding, aka:'the Model', like some people said, (he looked THAT good!).

He is Stergios's oldest friend, and lately he paid a visit to us in Vienna...Austria...did you know that Austria is the Swarovski Brand's birthplace? More accurately the actual headquarters are in the city called 'Wattens'. If you are not familiar to Swarovski Crystals I will share few general information I found in wikipedia.

"...Daniel Swarovski was born in northern Bohemia (now the Czech Republic), 20 km from the current border with Poland. His father was a glass cutter and owned a small glass factory. In 1892 he patented an electric cutting machine that facilitated the production of crystal glass.In 1895, Swarovski, financier Armand Kosman, and Franz Weis founded the Swarovski company.The company established a crystal-cutting factory in WattensTyrol (Austria), to take advantage of local hydroelectricity for the energy-intensive grinding processes Daniel Swarovski had patented. Swarovski's vision was to make "a diamond for everyone" by making crystals affordable..."

But why am I writing about Swarovski?

Swarovski has an AMAZING collection of jewelleries, watches, accessories and DECORATIONS. You can take a look here  what I'm talking about. They have themed detailed amazing decorative sculptures, famous figures, movie figures, Disney heroes, classic fairytale figures etc etc (the list is huge) all made of crystals!

And still I haven't answered your question. What's all about it? Well...their Beauty forces you to waaaant one...two...all of them! And that's how you become a COLLECTOR!

And now I will connect the two stories, The Swarovski and our Best Man, 'The Model'.

Our conversation started over a cup of coffee at Cafe Hawelka. We needed access to some caffeine after spending some serious time in the Swarovski shop in Vienna's centre.

He collects Swarovski Crystal Decorations since 1997 and I find that VERY interesting, the fact that someone collects something for that long! So I asked 😛

FHB: So when did you get your first Swarovski Crystal?
TM: I've been collecting Crystal Figures since 1997...for like 21 years.
FHB: Wow that's a long time! What was your first piece?
TM: The very first one was the Dragon.
FHB: How come you decided to collect Swarovski Crystals? What 'dragged' you into it?
TM: Well, I didn't even knew they exist before 1997. Actually the only Swarovski Crystal I ever saw back then was one that my sister had. A shepherd. He was even missing an arm 😛 . And for me it was just a piece of crystal, nothing special or appealing.
Then I participated in an exchange program and I lived in Germany for 3 months. That's where I noticed them because actually I was passing by a Swarovski's window every day and at some point I noticed that the prices seemed to be lower than the ones in Greece and I thought "Cool, I could buy some pieces from Germany and when they get more valueable I can sell them". So when I got back to Greece to check the prices it turned out that they were exactly the same, I was just comparing different sizes and pieces.
And there it was the Dragon. It was their annual piece and well...I bought it.
FHB: So, how did you reach the 221 Crystal figures since that first Dragon?
TM: Easy haha, I've been collecting Swarovski Crystals for 21 years now...There were even years I got none. Also I have a membership in Swarovski, which means there are some membership rewards such as the 21 pieces/gifts I got from Swarovski over the years, one for each year of my membership. Moreover when you complete a Trilogy -that means buying all the pieces of one themed collection- the Swarovski gives you an extra piece as a gift, always related to the Trilogy's theme.
FHB: Is this a motive for you to complete a Trilogy?
TM: Look, to be honest, I collect what I like the most, not just buying everything. And in case I like a Trilogy I want to complete it. If I don't like something I won't buy it just so I own it.
Also another way that Swarovski rewards you is by you suggesting someone and they become members. Then Swarovski gifts you a piece for that. I suggested my aunt 😛
FHB: Do you always purchase the Crystals from their official site online?
TM: Yeah because my membership gives me few nice advantages and gifts. They send you 4 seasonal magazines every year, they gift you the annual Crystal, a cleaning kit which contains a pair of gloves so you don't leave  fingerprints on the Crystals, a cleaning cloth and a brush. Also by me being a member of Swarovski means that I have an invitation -free entrance- to their Headquarters in Wattens and the invitation is plus one guest. I haven't been there yet!
FHB: I hope we go totgether <3 <3 <3 hahaha
So, how is their maintainance? What happens when you have to open the locked cabinet and take everything out??
TM: Yeah that needs a day or two haha...Well the dust is a NO, so you need to prevent it from getting into the cabinet. Noone touches them, noone knows the lock combination haha.. My cabinet is nailed to the wall so it won't move... I have few cameras installed and an alarm set.
FHB: Did you build your own cabinet?
TM: Hehe, for my first piece, the Dragon which was sitting on a black & copper base, I got a fishbowl that my sister had (her fish died) and I placed it upside down on a self, then I asked a friend of mine who was working with metal and copper to cut 4 metal columns for me, I put them on the self and placed the Dragon in their center.. and it looked pretty cool.
Later over the years, while I was getting more Crystals I changed couple of different cabinets but I have actually designed the ideal cabinet myself. I have the detailed plans (dimensions, materials, how to make sure it is sealed) everything it needs for it to be build is planned out. I even designed a system of a secret invisible lock which only me knows how to open! I just need to find a talented cabinetmaker now hahaha. Other than that you are supposed to soap them and wash them and let them dry and then you need to wipe each one of I said, one or two days of cleaning!
FHB: Yeah ok that's fair enough for 221 pieces 😀 How do people react to the sight of this huge cabinet with all these shinny Crystals in it?
TM: They like it! It's impressive to see all of them grouped together...
FHB: How do family and friends react to your 'love' or 'hobby' call it as you want 🙂 Do they support you?
TM: Bullying bullying! hahaha... No, they support me.. they even gift me Crystals. But you know, not everybody is familiar with the Swarovski Crystal's concept and what it is exactlly. I have friends who got married and someone gifted them a Swarovski Crystal figure, and for them it was just a piece of glass, they were not interested to it so they gave it to me. When they saw my whole collection together they realised the value of the crystal... I even have another friend who had one single piece and she gave it to me...
FHB: Sooo, I hear you've sent a couple of letters to Swarovski 😀
TM: Haha yeah...
FHB: Why? How come?
TM: Well the first letter was more like a suggestion to their Design Team. I suggested a Trilogy theme for them to design.
FHB: What was it?
TM: I thought that designing Ancient famous Statues would be quite popular among their Collectors. I suggested Aphrodite of Milos, Niki of Samothrace, the Artemision Bronze and the David of Michelangelo.
FHB: Wow that would be an amazing Trilogy...Very good idea! Did they reach back?
TM: Actually yes, they mailed me explaining that they need 3 years to design, produce and stock a single Trilogy. So they had their next 3 Trilogies lined up but they thanked me for my suggestion and they would take it under consideration.
FHB: Good,good,that's not a no 😀 ... And what about the second letter?
TM: The second one was in 2014. They kept designing new versions of the same themes over and over, horses and the Chinese Horoscope. So I decided to mail them and suggest the Statues's Trilogy once again. Cause I was wondering why they keep producing the same theme's versions non stop...
FHB: Did they answer to that letter?
TM: NO! hahaha...They published my letter to one of their seasonal magazine!
FHB: WOW! Well, that was a good opportunity to communicate your idea! Nice! At least it's out there, maybe one day you'll get to see your Statues Swarovski-ized 😛
But do you see differences between older and newer pieces? Design wise...
TM: Yeah definitely... It's like everything else... They evolve. At first their collections were mainly animals, not that well-detailed, and they were always sitted.. Later they found a way to get them standing, even by one or two points... Better shapes, bigger variety not just animals... They got way better through years.
FHB: Yeah even me who I am kinda new to the Swarovski world I can tell the differences and that they are far more interesting than before...
Soooo, I have one LAST question for you. Which piece would you save in case of fire? 😛 JUST ONE!
TM: Hahaha oh God... Uhmm I have to say the Dragon.
FHB: Really???
TM: Yeah... well it is my first piece, it's pretty and I guess I am emotionally attached to it hehe...

At that point Stergios arrived  wondering why we record ourselves on camera instead of using the recorder on my phone (low battery), and why the camera is focused to the table next to us instead of our faces (we didn't feel like taking a video of us), then he ordered a cafe macchiato and a cheesecake -the amazing Cafe Hawelka's Buchteln weren't baked yet. After while the whole place was smelling sugar and buchteln and it was time for us to leave before we size up 😛

My thoughts over collecting something you like are mixed.

Clearly you never know what will 'click' your mind and when you'll decide to start a Collection of items...Although me personally should firstly deal with my impatience and then maaaaybe I will be able to start a Collection of SOMETHING 😛 ...I don't know if everybody is capable or has the right mindset to stay focused on collecting...(hoarders is a whole different topic 😛 ). But, you know, I sure admire my friends who do that. I admire how commited they are and how they discovered a way to create joy for themselves. Oh and I envy their patience. Or any patience existing in this world 😛 I own non 😛

And don't forget, happiness most of the times (if not always) is a state of mind and something you create for yourself!

And by saying that last important thing I cyber pat pat your head and leave. See you next time with a new friend of mine who is kind enough to talk to me!

P.S.: I'm not paying them, they are very COOL people!

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3 thoughts on “Tell me about it *The Collector*

  1. Very nice collection, do you have earthquakes in Greece? :)) I have a friend which is also passionate about Swarovski but she collects jewelry and she visited some famous place in Austria where they have many pieces, maybe the same place mentioned by your friend.

    1. Yes it’s so beautiful! I also think your friend’s collection must be amazing! And I love their chunky jewelries…Yeeeah there are earthquakes but he has secured it well 😁 I wonder what they have in Wattens, the Pictures look amazing.

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