an artificial gem of paste, often cut to resemble a diamond.

1885–90; Rhine + stone (translation of French caillou du Rhin)

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World English Dictionary
rhinestone (ˈraɪnˌstəʊn)
an imitation gem made of paste
[C19: translation of French caillou du Rhin, referring to Strasbourg, where such gems were made]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Word Origin & History

1888, a loan-translation of Fr. caillou du Rhin "Rhine pebble," so called because they were made near Strasburg, on the River Rhine (q.v.).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Britannica


colourless, faceted glass used in jewelry; also foil-backed or silvered cut glass used to imitate diamonds. Originally used to designate gemstones cut from rock crystal obtained from the Rhine River, Germany, the name historically has been applied to faceted rock crystal in general. See also paste

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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Example sentences
Brides with rhinestone clips in their hair, brides clutching roses and brides
  in antebellum white gowns with ballooning skirts.
The skull has eleven pieces of rhinestones on its forehead and one rhinestone
  on both ends of the crossbones.
In the little time she has left, she collects vintage rhinestone jewelry, and
The fastening at the back is ornamented with a rhinestone bar slide.
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