Thursday, June 7, 2012

World Beaders: Czech Republic

Imagine my excitement when I saw that the Czech Republic was on the list of top visitors to Inspirational Beading this month. It’s home to some of the world’s oldest and best glass bead makers, and Bohemian Paradise, not to mention gorgeous historical buildings, museums and more.

As one of the world’s youngest countries, the Czech Republic has officially been independent since 1993, and is currently one of the top three most peaceful countries in Europe. It is a popular tourist destination, with the capital city of Prague receiving over 4 million visitors every year.

Jablonec and other cities in the North Bohemian area have been producing glass beads since the 13th century. When costume jewelry and decorative beadwork gained popularity in the 1500’s, many of the bead styles and techniques the we love today were being developed to meet the demands of a new fashion era. Production continued to grow until the Great Depression, followed by the second world war and the loss of many bead makers, who relocated to Germany. In 1958, bead manufacturing in former Czechoslovakia changed from a cottage industry to factory based, and mass production of glass beads continues to dominate today in an effort to compete with manufacturers in Japan, India, and China.

Although Czech seed beads - which have been traded around the world for centuries - have lost some of their popularity compared to their Japanese counterparts, contemporary pressed and fire polished Czech glass beads are among the best and most desirable in the world. The quality, color, and attractive styles are unmatched, but still affordable for the average crafter.

Happy beading, Czech Republic!

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  1. Hi,Mortira:
    It's very nice of You to mention Czech in the 'beading' context:-)
    Nice photos-a great sentiment for me,because I am the Pole and The Czech were my 'nieighbors'and I remind all my visits in Prague,or other Czech cities,like i.e. Jablonec-'the Capital of Beads'as one of the best holiday places in the world.Prague is so beautiful,that I could recommend it warmly as the holiday place to visit.
    Concerning beads:You've written,that 'the Czech beads have lost their popularity recently ,in favor of the Japanese ones'.Possibly 'yes',possibly'no'.From my experience,I can tell YOu one important thing:maybe the Japabese beads are more professional,because they are so ideally equal,that sometimes I think about the super-copying machines,they must be using to their production.But...because of this professionality,ideal colors and ideal equality,they lost the most important thing-their SOUL,which still can be found in the Czech beads.Recently I have had a strict comparison of those two products and even they are shown in my last blogpost.Working with 'Delica'-I can see,they go like the 'Lego Bricks'-if they do not 'click' means-I have made a mistake.The work is 'dry' and strictly technical,which makes my artistic soul really mad.When I work with 'Preciosa' seed beads,they go softly and really 'listen' to my wishes.This is all the pleasure to work with the Czech beads.Maybe I am sentimental,but I still buy them and still use them,living so far away from Czech now:-)
    Warm Greetings-Halinka-

  2. Hello from Czech Republic! Thank you for mentioned our beautiful country in your blog. I am sure we deserve it, because our beads are worldwide known (regardless of the problems that our industry in general had in the recent past), quality and wonderful.

    And many thanks for Halinka, too. I am always happy when I hear good words about my country :-)

  3. Hakinka,
    You have perfectly put my feelings into words - I love and use Delicas, but for that very technical piece. But Czech beads!! oh, yes, they touch your soul! I even like to use them in a woven picture where normally Delicas are used [for their regularity], but I love the 'irregularity' of Czech beads, and the earthiness of them, even in these woven pieces.

  4. I agree, Czech seed beads add an organic quality that you can't get anywhere else. I'm a sucker for Picasso seed beads and charlottes - I just wish more suppliers carried them!


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