The name rhinestone comes from the discovery of crystals that were gathered from the Rhine River. Popularity of rhinestones was limited initially because the crystals were only available at this location. An Alsatian jeweler, George Friedrich Strass, discovered a process for imitating diamonds by using metal powder to coat the lower side of glass in 1775. The new process increased the complexity, brilliance and reflective qualities of the glass. The popularity of the gem continuously increased, and eventually the popularity spread throughout Europe. Europeans often refer to rhinestones as strass.