Some see it as a giant Christmas ornament. We see it as a spectacular achievement in jewelry craftsmanship – on a very grand scale. The 2012 Swarovski Star that sits atop the glorious Christmas tree at Rockefeller Plaza in New York City is comprised of 25,000 crystals, featuring one million reflective facets. The 80th Rockefeller Center Tree Lighting Ceremony was broadcast to a national audience last night on NBC.
The Star, which sparkles elegantly at the apex of an 80-foot-high, 50-foot-wide, 10-ton Norway spruce, weighs an astonishing 550 pounds, including 300 pounds of crystal panels. It has six outer rays and six smaller inner rays, spanning 9.5 feet in diameter.
According to Swarovski, the main surfaces of the rays are made of point-mounted safety glass which is the same shatterproof glass that adorns the facades of New York City buildings. The crystals are affixed to the inner sides of the glass in a tight, scale-like pattern to ensure maximum brilliance.
A team of nine artisans spent 1,200 hours installing, programming and testing the Star to ensure the effects would withstand the challenging winter weather conditions high above Rockefeller Plaza. The tree is decorated with more than 30,000 multi-colored, energy-efficient LED lights.
A replica of the Swarovski Star will also be on display in Rockefeller Center to allow visitors the opportunity to get a closer view of the detailing and craftsmanship. This is the ninth year a Swarovski Star shines on the world famous tree.
Rockefeller Center officially began the Tree Lighting Ceremony in 1933, when a Christmas tree was erected in front of the then-RCA Building and covered with 700 lights. Christmas trees in Rockefeller Center have ranged from 50-foot pines to 100-foot Norway spruces and are viewed by millions of spectators during the holiday season.