In our previous post, we took a look at the origins of the history of Czech glass beads in beaded jewelry; now let's find out about bead-making families and the effects of the two World Wars on the Czech bead industry.
Even though mass production allowed Czech glass beads to be exported around the world, it was still families in villages making beads rather than factories. Families would buy glass molds and the necessary machinery, then produce the beads in their own small homes, which were equipped with tall chimneys and large roof vents - a telltale sign of a bead-making family.
Bead companies were very smart in knowing how to provide the world with the beads they wanted - they sent "sample men" around the world to talk to Czech glass bead wholesale suppliers, who knew what types of beads would sell best in their markets. This strategy successfully increased sales even further.
After WWI, North Bohemia became part of Czechoslovakia, resulting in Czechoslovakia becoming the biggest bead exporter in the world ten years later. However, the Great Depression took a toll on trade, and after WWII, Germans living in North Bohemia were relocated to Germany - many of them were skilled bead makers.
When Communism took over in 1948, the government didn't approve of the costume jewelry or bead making industries, but after Stalin's death, bead making was started up again in the hopes of helping the troubled economy recover.
When the 1989 Velvet Revolution ended Communism in Czechoslovakia, the country split into Slovakia and the Czech Republic, where North Bohemia lies. After the close of the major glass bead conglomerate Jablonex, the "old ways" returned, and glass bead making has once again become a cottage industry, with hundreds of families making glass beads and buttons again.
When you're looking for beautiful Czech glass bead jewelry, contact us. We offer a wide range of colors and styles, and we can craft a special, original piece just for you.