Written by Barbora Ponczova
Learn more about Costume Jewellery in Jablonec
Glass and metal jewelry were only made in one place – the Jizera Mountains in the Czech Republic. The production of jewelry was in Jablonec nad Nisou. Even though the glass and its products have been produced in the Jizera Mountains long ago, only the crisis in the sale of blown glass at the beginning of the 19th century confirmed that the only trade item was jewelry. At that time, the Jablonec region became a jewelry region. Shops with jewelry began to reach unprecedented volumes and Jablonec nad Nisou became the world jewelry center around 1900. The increase was so enormous that it was related not only to the increased production of chandelier trimmings and glass goods but also to jewelry.
In the 19th century, the production of metal jewelry had undergone considerable growth. In the first half of the 19th century, the importers of glass and imitation jewelry lost their privileged position. The word came to entrepreneurs who were no longer tied to glass tradition and customs.
During the second half of the 19th century, the offer of Jablonec glass jewelry has expanded, not only in already established branches. There were also completely new product types. The volume of production went up, especially with jewelry stones, pearls, imitation of real pearls, silver hollow beads, and Christmas ornaments. Nevertheless, cut glass buttons had become the symbol of prosperity. The period after 1860 also includes the huge development of the production of chopped beads. In 1880, Jablonec jewelry school was founded. This school was based on the tradition of the educational institute. The production of pins, enamel jewelry, strings and clamps, chains and metal grinding began to be of importance before the end of the 19th century. The most important branch of the Jablonec industry became the jewelry of metal jewelry after 1925. The world economic crisis has hit all branches of Jablonec costume jewelry. Before the Second World War, manufacturers recorded an increase in production, but this was changed by connecting Sudeten to Germany – a boycott of Jablonec costume jewelry.
The cost of making jewelry is expropriation of all major glass-works after the end of the war. Most of the glass industry came under the national administration. In the 1950s, small outlets were interrupted. The 1960s can be considered very valuable for jewelry. Most state-owned enterprises have undergone modernization and Czechoslovakia became a powerhouse in the production of jewelry.
Exhibitions of jewelry in Jablonec nad Nisou, which were the phenomenon of the 60s – 80s of the 20th century, were very popular. The Velvet Revolution of 1989 brought dramatic changes in the jewelry industry. The state enterprise Jablonec jewelry in 1990 ceased to exist and 13 independent state enterprises were created, which were transferred into private ownership under the so-called large privatization. At the end of the 20th century, major players in the production and sale of costume jewelry became joint-stock companies as Jablonex or Ornela. At present, Preciosa and Jablonex Group dominate the market.
There is also a museum of glass and jewelry in Jablonec, where you can see collections of glass, costume jewelry, buttons, coins, medals, and plaques.