Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Want Quality Glass Beads? Look No Further than the Czech Republic

The Czech Republic provides International Craft with some of the most beautiful glass beads for jewellery making.  What is it about this country, in the heart of Europe, which makes them so special?
Glass Pearl Beads
It was in the Middle Ages that the Czech Republic’s glassmaking tradition started, soon after the Czech lands, known as Bohemia and Silesea, established themselves as a kingdom in the 13th Century.  Bohemia was famous for its striking and colourful glass.  The Bohemian glassworkers used locally sourced potash and chalk to create a clear glass, stronger than that from other countries.  The northern area of the Czech Republic has mountainous regions rich in wood and siliceous sand, both essential raw materials used for the glass industry.  From this emerged Bohemian Crystal, famous for its excellent cut and engraving.

The first glassworks were built in the town of Kamenicky Senov in 1530.  By the 18th Century the works produced there graced the tables of Royalty all over Europe.

The originator of Swarovski Crystal, Daniel Swarovski, was born in the North of the Czech region and only later moved to Austria where he set up the famous Swarovski empire.  To find out more about Swarovski, read our blog here.

The Czechs set the bar high in their glass making standards.  Their craftsmanship and quality of products are unparalleled in the world. You are only considered a glass ‘artist’ after many years experience and training.  Kamenicky Senov, as well as the glassworks, has a School of Glassmaking, opened in 1856.  Here, the teachers are up to date on the latest contemporary techniques, as well as being able to teach the traditional engraving, cutting, casting and blowing basics to the students.  It may take these students, who come from all over the world, predominantly the United States, up to fifteen years before they are established artists.

Preciosa is genuine Czech crystal, world renowned for its High-Pure Crystal Technology TM.   The crystal, which originated from the hills of Bohemia, has striking optical and aesthetic features creating an extraordinary product.  The product comes in a broad variety of shapes and diverse colours.  To find out more, click HERE.

Preciosa Crystal Beads

Faceted Glass Bead
Another example is the Faceted Glass Bead.  The technique used is to ‘fire polish’ the glass.  The glass is cut and heat polished, resulting in a bead that has a centre which reflects the fire that was used to create them.  The multi-surface appearance from the facet cut adds to the beauty of this bead.  To find out more, click HERE.


Tiffany Glass Beads
Tiffany Glass Beads are round, translucent coloured press glass beads.  These are one of the original styles of glass beads from the Czech Republic, using the technique of pressing heated glass rods into a mould.  This ensures consistent size, quality and the distinctive translucent colour.  To find out more, click HERE.

To see these and the other beautiful beads International Craft stock from the Czech Republic, please click HERE.


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