versailleschandelier.com

Czech glass is a very famous concept. Archaeological discoveries have confirmed the existence of glass production in Czech countries since the 9th century. Discoveries in Northern Bohemia (Jablonec in particular) together with bills of sale support the hypothesis that glassworks existed there from the mid-14th century.

Czech glass is a symbol of quality, craftsmanship, unique style, beauty and also low prices. It became a sought-after product and dominated the European market since the 17th century. Pure colourless glass called "Czech crystal" produced at that time in Bohemia was ideal for engraving and cutting and it was superior to other crystal glass for more than one century. A hundred years later it was discovered that adding lead oxide markedly improved the crystal's optical qualities. That is how leaded crystal originated and spread all over the world.

In 1724, the glass cutter Josef Palme obtained a royal warrant for chandelier production. The first workshop used for manufacturing chandeliers was founded in a small village of Prácheň near the city Kamenický Šenov in Northern Bohemia. Czech crystal chandeliers were very popular in Europe until the mid-18th century and they influenced development and style of future chandeliers all over the world.

Czech crystal chandeliers were also sought-after by the aristocracy. The palaces of the French king Louis XV, the Austrian Empress Maria Theresa and the Russian Czarina Elizabeth were ornamented with the original, perfect Palme’s chandeliers. Czech crystal chandeliers were a sign of good taste, wealth and nobility and they became as prestigious as expensive jewellery. The glitter of Czech crystal chandeliers enhances the brilliance of castles and palaces; it illuminates parliaments, governmental residences, universities, concert halls, cathedrals and sanctums across the globe. For instance, Czech crystal chandeliers hang in Milan's La Scala, Rome's Royal Opera, in Versailles, in the Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg and in the residence of King Ibn Saud in Riyadh.

Czech crystal chandeliers are deservedly called "crystal sun" – a sun which never sets and forever remains the jewel in the crown of the Czech glass art.

More information about Czech glass

Would you like to know more about Czech glass, its history and our chandelier production technology? More information on these pages:

Scarce availability and difficulty of rock crystal processing forced people to look for a similar material somewhere else rather than trying to obtain it from the mountains. The technology of glass production met this need.

In the glass industry, the word "crystal" came into use when the first truly colourless glass was successfully produced. Historic glass contained high amount of iron oxide because of the raw materials used for producing glass. Iron oxide combined with the use of old furnaces created the typical intensive green shade of ancient and medieval glass.

In terms of the preparation and melting raw materials, the most important discoveries were made on a small island of Murano near Venice at the turn of the Middle Ages and the early modern period. People in Murano managed to produce colourless glass for the first time in history. People began to use colourless glass for producing luxury items similar to those which were created from rock glass until then.

The people of Murano jealously guarded their valuable discoveries. A glass maker who would try to leak the secret from Murano would have risked his life. However, even such extreme precautions could not stop the eventual leak of the colourless glass discovery and glass makers all over the Europe eagerly took up the new technique.


More information about Czech glass

Would you like to know more about Czech glass, its history and our chandelier production technology? More information on these pages:

The terms crystal and glass differ from country to country. For the Western world, the word "crystal" usually indicates the presence of lead. According to the European Union rules, glass products containing less than 4% of lead oxide are labelled as "glass". Next, products containing more than 10% of lead oxide are labelled as "crystal" and products containing more than 30% of lead oxide are labelled as "high-lead crystal". In the USA, the situation is different – the glass is labelled as "crystal" if it contains at least 1% of lead oxide. In the Czech Republic, the term "crystal" is used for any exquisite, high quality glass. Therefore "leaded crystal" means that the crystal contains more than 24% of lead oxide.

The presence of lead softens the glass and makes it more suitable for cutting and engraving. Lead increases the weight of the glass and causes the glass to refract light. Glass used for making figurines contains up to 49% of lead in order to achieve maximum malleability. If crystal contains less than 24% of lead, it has a higher proportion of barium oxide which ensures that the light refracts well.

The difference between glass and crystal can be seen by a naked eye. Apart from glass, a crystal chandelier casts a spectrum of colours around the room. If the content of lead is higher, the chandelier is more sparkling.

More information about Czech glass

Would you like to know more about Czech glass, its history and our chandelier production technology? More information on these pages:

The word "crystal" comes from Ancient Greek and it means ice which is, similarly to real crystal, characterized by purity, clarity and coolness. Greeks were always surprised when ordinary water turned into "rock". But they soon discovered that something resembling ice can be found deep in the mountains – they found colourless, pure, transparent and cold monocrystals of silicon dioxide. The Greek word for ice was quickly transferred to this sought-after material and since then these colourless silica monocrystals are known as rock crystal or quartz.

However, people were fascinated by rock crystal even before the Greek civilization; it can be even said that it is an important part of human history. It is astonishing how quickly ancient civilizations learnt to cut rock crystal using sand, a material of equal hardness. Rock crystal was used to make jewellery, luxury items for the upper classes and also items related to magic. This led to the perception of crystal as something noble and mysterious. Even nowadays every oracle needs a crystal ball.


More information about Czech glass

Would you like to know more about Czech glass, its history and our chandelier production technology? More information on these pages:

At the turn of the 16th and 17th century, Bohemia became the world centre of crystal glass production. The original crystal contained a high volume of sodium oxide which was used as a smelter. This simplified the crystal production but the glass had relatively low hardness. Therefore carving couldn't be used for decorating glass products, although this was the main technique used in rock crystal processing.

Important technological discoveries made during the crystal production era in Bohemia led to a formation of ideal crystal glass which was particularly suitable for cutting and engraving. This glass called Czech crystal was the absolute top of the crystal glass industry for more than one century.


More information about Czech glass

Would you like to know more about Czech glass, its history and our chandelier production technology? More information on related pages:

Page 1 of 2