Winters Past

20th Century Fashion from Deco to Disco

Czech Glass Beads

Today, I’m looking at these gorgeous glass bead necklaces I have in the shop:

The colors are so bright and clear, and the crisp facets sparkle in the light. So what’s their backstory? I did some reading and got a mini history lesson along the way. Here’s the scoop.

These Czech glass beads come from the country that is now called the Czech Republic, where they’ve excelled at glass making  since Roman times. This began because the natural resources  needed to make glass (silica and limestone) are abundant in that area. With these elements, they have been  able to create the most vibrantly colored, high quality glass, spawning a network of small cottage glassmakers over many centuries.

The glass from that region is known for it’s craftsmanship and innovative designs. In the late 19th century, with the industrial revolution in full swing, Czech glassmaker Daniel Swarovski invented a mechanical glass cutter that allowed them to facet beads.

In the Victorian era, these faceted glass beads from the country then known as Bohemia were extremely fashionable and popular. After WWI, Bohemia became part of Czechoslovakia and the glass trade grew. Long necklace of molded glass beads were an essential element of flapper fashion.

Vintage Czech jewelry is made of outstanding glass beads, with an unmatched vibrancy and crispness. Their enduring style means they work just as well with modern outfits as they did with flapper fringe or Victorian finery.

Author: Winters Past

I am a vintage clothing shop owner living and working in rural north Florida. I believe in adding a little vinegar and molasses to my greens, having my coffee outside whenever possible, and mixing something vintage into every room and every outfit.

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