WHAT YOU DID NOT KNOW ABOUT CZECH GLASS BEADS
Beads had been made in Bohemia since Roman times, but it was an intermittent industry.
The second half of the 16th century, when costume jewellery become fashionable, glass makers started producing beads to be used more decoratively.Yes that is me trudging through the snow! (on the right)
The first recorded showing at a trade show in Prague of pressed glass beads was in 1829.
By the 1860s, the Czech bead industry had surpassed its rival, Venice.
About the same time, manufacturers developed machines that allowed mass production of moulded pressed glass beads, so thousands of identical beads could be produced cheaply and quickly.
The Czech bead makers develop glass imitations of natural adornments used by tribes in Africa and Asia such shells, stone, bones such as snake vertabrae, tusks, teeth are copied and made for trade during the early 1900s.
Zig zag or interlocking snake verabrae beads developed early 19th C.
When Jablonec became a part of the Russian bloc the German glass artists were forced out of their homes and work at the end of World War II. They relocated south to Neu Gablonz, (south of Munich) West Germany, and established over time a new smaller hub of bead, button & jewellery production about 600km away from Jablonec in Czechoslovakia.
In 1945 the communist regime in Czechoslovakia nationalized the entire glass making industry into a single state run monopoly, Jablonex, controlled all exports out of Czechoslovakia involving glassware, glass jewellery and glass beads, where previously at its height there had been over 2,000 agents exporting glass.
In 2009 the Jablonex Group was sold to Preciosa a glass cutting company.
Once again independent glass makers are mostly decentralized cottage crafters making beads just like the forefathers hopefully for many more generations to come!
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