Guide to Collecting Desna Czech Studio Art Glass Items

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Guide to Collecting Desna Czech Studio Art Glass Items

The Ornela Company Limited is one of the largest specialised glassmaking companies in Bohemia. Its main operations are based in North Bohemia in the villages of Desná v Jizerských horách, Zásada, and Lučany nad Nisou. The Zásada plant specialises in the production of rocaille and rocaille jewellery, whilst the glassworks in Desná, Příchovice, Polubný, and Lučany concentrate on the production of a wide range of glass goods, semi-finished products, and raw materials, mainly for the manufacture of jewellery. Machine production includes items such as pressing bars, lampworking rods, neon tubing, technical balls, chandelier trimmings, and materials for insulating fibre. Our hand production consists of blown, pressed, and cast glass, chandelier trimmings, and technical and coloured overlay glass. The decorative and utility glass that is supplied under the “Desná” banner is produced at the Polubný plant, which is made up of a glassworks and cutting shop. This plant produces a range of goods that places the most exacting demands in terms of manual production. In spite of the fact that this line represents only a fragment of the overall range of products and one of the few finished product lines, it occupies an important position within the company.

If we are looking for the Ornela glassmaking company on the map, we head slightly to the north-east of Prague, pass through the hub of fashion jewellery production that is Jablonec nad Nisou about 100 kilometres north of the capital, and eventually come to the Jizera Mountains, a region famed for its glass production. The small town of Desná v Jizerských horách sits in the deep valley of the Bílá Desná and Černá Desná Rivers. It took on its current appearance in the year 1968 with the amalgamation of communities that had originally been independent or their parts (Potočná, Dolní and Horní Polubný, Příchovice).

Artistic crystalware products manufactured by the company under the „Desná“ label have become the subject of sales speculation and illegal copying, mainly due to their commercial success. A number of fakes have started appearing on the market, products that have been manufactured outwith the traditional area of Desná and which include copies of both finished products and their moulds. This, unfortunately, is the fate of all quality products, whose commercial success is primarily the result of the use of distinctive and timeless artistic designs and an insistence on the high quality of the products manufactured. The “Desná” products offer proof that the Czech glass on the market is not only represented by well-known, richly cut, and chemically polished products, or thin-sided products with enamelled, painted decorations, so-called “high enamel”. Goods that have been cut on horizontal cutters into “edges”, which were traditionally called “panel-cut glass”, and products with rich, artistically formed embossing, known under the wider concept of “artistic crystalware” also have an irreplaceable position on the market as representatives of the notion of “Czech glass”.

The company pays proper attention to the quality of its products, which it supplies with a certificate to testify to this quality and to the authenticity of the item. Every piece sold whose character allows it is supplied with a sandblasted mark in the form of a logo with the inscription of “Desná”.

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