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Czech glassware art and costume jewelry.

I had the honor of meeting the Speaker of the Senate of Parliament of the Czech Republic Milan Stech at a welcoming reception during his recent visit to Korea. The reception was hosted by the Ambassador of the Czech Republic to Korea Tomas Husak, Oct. 30, 2017, at the Four Seasons Hotel in Seoul.

I have felt attracted to and been interested in Czech culture for a long time. So at the reception I exchanged views on the excellence of the craftsmanship and the beauty of glassware and costume jewelry with Czech representatives. Later, I was fortunate to receive a unique and beautiful Bohemian crystal bowl as a gift from one of the Czech people present. It filled me with great joy, and I have put in on display in my office with great pride.

These glass manufacturing skills have history going back to 14th century Bohemia. As a consequence of the economic and cultural prosperity of the region's upper classes such as royals, aristocrats, the clergy and the bourgeoisie, demand for glass products increased gradually.

Furthermore, the production of glassware was stimulated during the 16th century when Prague became the capital of the Holy Roman Empire and Europe's center of culture and artisanship. Thus the region emerged as a prominent glass-manufacturing center alongside Venice. Their glassmaking and fashion jewelry became a globally recognized tradition of this central European region at the crossroads of east and west, north and south. Like Bohemian glass, Bohemian costume jewelry has been famous since the 18th century.

Very recently, from Jan. 25 to Feb. 24, an exhibition entitled "Handmade Dreams" about Czech-Korean jewelry design collaborations was held at Seoul Jewelry Support Industry Center Building No. 2. This unique exhibition was co-hosted by the Czech Center in Seoul and the Seoul Jewelry Industry Support Center. It featured the current trends in Czech fashion jewelry and highlighted the traditions and originality of design and production that keep it in the limelight despite the competitive global market.

The notable works on display were curated by Petr Novy of the Museum of Glass and Costume Jewelry in the town of Jablonec nad Nisou. The works ranged from the inspiration provided by traditional patterns to contemporary trends and a vision of the future represented by a selection of winning works from the Master of Crystal design competition. It also included Czech jewelry brands working with semi-products of costume jewelry.

Bohemian costume jewelry has always been a symbol of quality and it has succeeded in satisfying the tastes of customers all over the world. Also, Bohemian costume jewelers pioneered a technique for replicating the look of pearls, which were enormously popular at the beginning of the 20th century.

Contemporary Czech costume jewelry not only reflects semi-products, but also finished products inspired by contemporary fashion and design trends. As a result, the craftsmanship and unique technological knowledge of the producers from North Bohemia are also frequently used by distinctive fashion brands such as Nina Ricci, Gautier and Karl Lagerfeld.

I was deeply impressed by the great harmony between the traditional and modern in the contemporary Czech fashion jewelry. There are jewelry artists with splendid vision, a drive to experiment and a desire to explore! Czech fashion jewelry not only boasts a rich history, but also great success in the present and a big promise for the future.

It is very important and promising to strengthen bilateral cultural ties. One of the ways to do this is through our common interest in glassware art and costume jewelry.
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Publication:The Korea Times News (Seoul, Korea)
Geographic Code:9SOUT
Date:Mar 12, 2018
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