Vienna/Zurich — For more than a century, Swarovski has churned out crystals in every imaginable shape and form, from sparkling dolphin figurines to encrusted fountain pens to glittering mobile-phone cases. An affordable indulgence rarely costing more than a few hundred dollars, Swarovski trinkets have invaded every corner of the world, providing a comfortable life for the family behind the empire and for the people of Wattens, the small town in the Austrian Alps where the company is based.

But as Swarovski celebrates its 125th anniversary, there’s little cause for jubilation. Revenue is set to take a hard hit this year, falling by a third to about €2bn; management has announced 6,000 job cuts; and the family risks ceding some control should the new CEO eventually prevail with his plans for a possible stock-market listing or a strategic partner...

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