Bohemian Paradise Stonework Jewelry

Written by Adam Johanes

Category: Czech Tradition

The tradition of turning a raw piece of stone into an admirable gem is kept in The Bohemian Paradise for about 6000 years (an area famous for a rich amount of natural and historical monuments, located approximately 60 miles northeast from Prague). Thanks for its sizable mineral resources, The Bohemian Paradise and its center Turnov, has become a most important territory of the stonework industry.

Stonework is not just processing of gemstones. It also includes manufacturing imitation gems from colored glass. However, this type of production developed later, in the early 18th century. The original procedure consisted of collecting various types of precious minerals like olivenites, agates, jaspers, amethysts, chalcedonies and most importantly Czech garnets. The Czech garnet is an essential part of this industry and is deeply connected with The Bohemian Paradise. As its most considerable deposit was considered the Kozakov Hill in the middle ages considered the Kozakov Hill.

In 1715 the brotherhood of stoneworks was founded. It was associated with all of the manufacturers and it was to improve the industry. This was with the invention of the colored glass imitations. In the 19th century, the stoneworks from Turnov began to export their products to Spain, France, Turkey and overseas to America. The Czech garnets were bought in large amounts by the Russian Empire and that is the reason why in the first half of the 19th century the glass imitation production has been moved to Jizera mountains and Turnov stoneworks focused mainly on the garnets. Frantisek Marek a salesman, established a workshop in Russia and for 30 years h exported Russian emeralds, topazes, and turquoises to the Czechs for processing. It is known that Russian Empress Catherine the Great wore a set of Czech Garnets. The Czech Garnets were so successful, that even gemstones from India, Brazil, Africa and Madagascar were shaped in Turnov.

In the last third of the 19th century, after the industrial revolution, polishing factories were built there and also a central European school to educate specialist in stonework industry. Two years later a museum for gemstones and precious stone was founded Today, the museum has the second largest collection of gemstones and jewelry in The Czech Republic. In 1953 the Cooperative of Artistic Production was established and a lot of smaller companies began to rise thanks to higher demand of garnets. Czech jewelry is owned by the Queens of Britain and Belgium. The late Pope Saint John Paul II owned a holy cross made from crystal. In the 20th century, the development also allowed a production of crystals for modern technologies. RNDr. Ivan Solc had used monocrystals to develop a special filter based on Roentgen radiation that helped the scientist to observe the sun.

The tradition is still kept today, mainly because of the jewelry school in Turnov. A very interesting and profitable industry with a long history is hardly ever seen. This tradition is so popular with tourists who visit Turnov to see the museum of stonework and jewelry as well as to buy garnets and other gemstones.