The term 'aurora' refers to the 'aurora borealis' - a natural phenomenon often seen in the sky from Northern latitudes. Energized particles of the 'solar wind', thrown off of the sun in a particularly-active flare, bombard our earth's magnetic poles and are ionized. We see the effect as curtains of pastel rainbow colors shimmering across the night sky. I witnessed a breathtaking aurora in Iceland, right at the Arctic circle, when I visited long ago.
In the world of crystals, the AURORA is an effect that is applied to a crystal clear prism. Like a translucent 'glaze', it's fired onto the crystal, usually on one side. This way, when one looks through the crystal from the clear side, a brilliant colorful 'dazzle' appears to the eye. Depending on the thickness of the 'aurora', different batches of aurora prisms have different colorations.
The hearts above are actually CLEAR crystal prisms, reflecting the mirror-like 'aurora' which has been applied on their back side. This particular aurora is called 'GLACIER BLUE', since the colors tend to be predominantly blue/turquoise/aqua/lavender. This is definitely my favorite 'flavor' of aurora, and I request this from my importers, although very few of these prisms are available any more.
Sometimes, though, a batch will come with a beautiful 'MEADOW GREEN' aurora. Golden yellows/greens/aquas predominate.
Recently, Swarovski has replaced the glacier blue aurora with the new Sunburst Aurora. BRILLIANT yellows and fiery golds knock your eyes out!
This 'enhanced' coloration is not a requirement, however, for your prism to produce brilliant rainbows. Crystal clear prisms, the original 'purist' form of Swarovski crystals, make FABulous, deep and brilliant rainbows on their own.
The main purpose of the aurora is to bedazzle you even beyond the normal sparkling prismatic appearance of a clear crystal prism. Think of it as an 'battery-operated' prism. *:-)
One big advantage of the aurora is the appearance of the prism itself when the sun is not actually shining on it. Even at night, your interior table lamps, or even candles, will produce enough light for your aurora prism to reflect it back to your eye.
This is not to say your aurora prisms can make rainbows without the sunlight! Clear prisms as well as aurora prisms need sunlight to pass through them to project rainbows on the wall.
When the sun light is blazing through your prisms, you'll have a hard time telling which are 'aurora' and which are crystal clear by just looking at the prisms themselves. Clear prisms 'sparkle' just about the same as aurora crystals when they are basking in the sunlight.
You will see, however, a difference in their EFFECT on your walls! The aurora acts both like a 'mirror' - (reflecting some light back out of the prism), AND like a clear prism -(allowing some light to travel through the prism). This light which has traveled through the prism has been refracted, that is separated into its component colors.. i.e. a 'rainbow'!
Rainbows show the spectral colors of red, blue, yellow, green, orange, and purple. The light which the aurora reflects back out into the room, becomes patches of vivid 'secondary' colors.. like aqua, pink, and turquoise. If you hang one single aurora crystal in your window, you'll be able to distinguish between the refracted rainbows and the reflected colors.
A clean cotton T-shirt is ideal. Just 'huff' on your crystal prism, like when you polish your sunglasses. Polish your crystal by rubbing it from all angles.. each facet must be clean for your prism to sparkle at its best. If your crystals are particularly dusty or greasy from kitchen fumes, you may use any Windex-like product that is NOT abrasive!
THE AURORA CAN SCRATCH!
NEVER hang your crystals side by side, where they could 'clunk' or rub against each other. If you hang your aurora crystals right against the surface of the window, be sure they are not in a place where they will swing or bump against the glass over and over. Your aurora can, in time, wear down and appear dull or scratched.