Are hotfix rhinestones vegan?

UPDATED ON January 19th, 2019

Has anyone else wondered, are hotfix rhinestones vegan? I’m really talking about the glue.

I don’t set out to ask the most obscure, least practice questions. This issue actually came up for me a few weeks ago.

First, hotfix rhinestones are flatback rhinestones that come with glue already on the back, so you only have to use heat to apply them. They are permanent, and this is the way professionals adhere rhinestones to garments for figure skating and dance competitions.

I needed a performance outfit for a short tour (music), and I got a vintage black romper from Avalon Vintage two days before leaving. My costume designer friend Hilary suggested bedazzling it with some black rhinestones to create a sparkle effect under the stage lights.

Of course I HAD TO KNOW if the glue that comes on the back of these rhinestones was vegan. The two biggest brands of hotfix rhinestones are Swarovski and Preciosa. I reached out to both companies but with the time difference (Swarovski is based in Austria and Preciosa in the Czech Republic) and getting funneled to the right department, I didn’t hear back in time for my tour so I performed in an UNBEDAZZLED romper.

Rebecca Schiffman playing at The Independent in San Francisco.
Imagine the sparkles that might have been. (Rebecca Schiffman at The Independent in San Francisco, May 5, 2018. Photo by Mariah Paz.)

But, for the future, here’s the information I got:


Messages from customer relations:

5/3/2018: “In reply to your question we say YES, our crystal stones with hot fix layer are vegan.”

5/9/2018: “I would like to assure you that PRECIOSA does not carry out any test on animal. We strictly follow the most rigorous policy.”

5/9/2018: “The very glue used by PRECIOSA  does not come from our production, nevertheless the supplier is located in EU with all certification.”

5/14/2018 (from another e-mail address I forgot I had written): “Stones of Preciosa Components with HF are vegan. The used adhesive is polyamide, which is made from oil, so it is also vegan. We test on cotton and polyester, we do not test this product on animals (we do not test our any products on animals).


Messages from customer relations:

4/30/2018: “We would like to inform you that the glue used in Swarovski hot stick crystals​​​​​​​ is animal free.”

I wrote back to Swarovski to ask if they have an animal testing policy. I have not received a reply.


It seems likely that most if not all glues used in hotfix rhinestones today are synthetic. But I don’t think either company is going to give up who their glue supplier is. It’s not really a question of whether this glue is being tested on animals now – it probably was long ago. But does the company who makes money by selling glue to Swarovski or Preciosa currently spend money on animal testing?

Based on the information I received, I might be comfortable buying hotfix rhinestones from Preciosa if I really needed them, though I’d probably try to find them deadstock on eBay first. It may seem like a small thing but since we live in a consumer culture, I think it’s important for consumers to use their time and power whenever they can to ask questions about animal exploitation from every angle.

Imagine Preciosa or Swarovski is launching a new product – if they know in advance that consumers are going to hold them accountable on these issues, they might choose a supplier that doesn’t test on animals over one that does, etc.

For a list of vegan glues and other art supplies, check out Double Check Vegan’s growing list of Vegan Art Supplies.

P.S. Sometimes Hotfix is spelled Hot Fix with a space. Not sure which is correct.



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