14 January 2006
The History of Costume Jewellery
This production dates back to the first half of the 18th century. The beginnings of the industry are linked with the history of composite glass melting. Glass and semi-finished products made of glass were the basis for costume jewellery manufacture in the Jablonec area, which gave rise to the name „Jablonec Goods“. This title covers pearls and beads, costume jewellery made of glass and metal, and glass stones. Glass is also used for the manufacture of chandeliers and chandelier pendants, buttons, crystal and other products. The region gradually became the largest producer and exporter of costume jewellery in the world. This dynamic trend continued until the outbreak of the First World War. The inter-war period saw the position of production and export restored to a great extent, but the Second World War and subsequent events led to a fall from glory. In the 1950s, the main emphasis in Czechoslovakia was placed on the development of heavy industry, and the costume jewellery industry was suppressed. Development was restored in the 1960s and 1970s, although production never reached its former importance. Under the socialist economy the costume jewellery industry was managed centrally. The different producers became parts of a combined system and there was an integral complex for the manufacture of raw glass, glass and metal semi-finished products, and finished jewellery. Between manufacturers, strong mutual cooperative ties were established, which allowed entire range of costume jewellery to be offered. These links still exist. Following the 1989 political changes, the Jablonec Costume Jewellery Concern was divided into separate enterprises in 1990. These were transformed into joint-stock companies and privatized. Preference was given to methods of privatization that would prevent the liquidation of the Czech costume jewellery industry, and preserve existing links. The entire sector is now in private hands, and all producers have viable and clearly defined owners.