>The Hunt for Czech Glass Beads

>Prague Castle Czech Republic Praha Bohemia glass beads beader beading European holiday

The Lone Beader is now back in Boston, MA – safe and sound. I really missed everyone, and I enjoyed reading all your comments. It was a long three weeks, but it sure went by quickly! I spent the first two weeks of my holiday in Prague, Czech Republic, and I made a quick stop in London, England on the way home. Prague is a beautiful city – probably the most mystical I’ve seen thus far, and its history is dark and intriguing. I can’t wait to share with you all of my photos… My main reason for traveling to the Czech Republic was to learn a little more about the making of glass beads, as well as to search for some to bring home. After a few days of general sightseeing, I went out to search for beads.

 

Prague Castle Czech Republic Praha Bohemia glass beads beader beadingAbove is a photo of the first shop I found located on Ujezd in Mala Strana. This shop sells a few lampworked beads, as well as seed beads, but it is really a beaded jewelry store. I enjoyed looking around here, but it really wasn’t what I was looking for…

Prague Castle Czech Republic Praha Bohemia glass beads beader beading Jablonec Muzeum Skla

The next day, I took a bus trip to Jablonec nad Nisou in the Northern Bohemia. The north country is known for its rich history of the production of glass beads, and there is a wonderful Muzeum of Glass & Jewellery (Muzeum Skla a Bizuterie) in this old industrial town. It explains the history of glass making in the area, and it points out how many factories there were all over the country. Tools of the trade are on display, as well as fine examples of beadwork in several different cultures of the world. The 90-minute bus ride is well worth the trip, but I suggest to anyone interested in going to brush up on your Czech. Most folks in Northern Bohemia do not speak English. I did learn quite a few Czech survival phrases before I went, so I didn’t have any problem communicating. And, the people I met here were very friendly and happy to meet an American visitor! :)

Prague Castle Czech Republic Praha Bohemia glass beads beader beading

Around the corner from the museum is a Jablonex jewelry store. The jewelry sold here is beautiful and simple. I was also happy to see that they sold some loose beads in small packages. You can see the prices in the above photo – 49 & 59 crowns. The Czech Republic has not adopted the Euro, nor do they intend to anytime soon. 100, Kc is equal to approx. $6 USD.

Prague Castle Czech Republic Praha Bohemia glass beads beader beading Jablonec Muzeum Skla

Then, I visited the above bead shop. I would not have found this one if it weren’t for the friendly German girl who worked at the muzeum. This shop is in an old house across the main road from the Glass & Jewellery museum. It is a ‘components’ store, and the bags on the floor and on the shelves are full of components to make your own jewelry. The paper bags contain seed beads in almost every colour you can imagine. Shoppers scoop their own beads into small bags, and they are sold by weight. 

The woman at this shop was more than happy to help me despite the language barrier. She wrote down prices on a piece of paper for me to consider. So, I picked out the beads below. Some are colours for an upcoming project. Again, you can see some of the prices. I spent about 800, Kc here (less than $50) for a substantial amount of beads. After finding this shop, I was very happy to have made the trip to Jablonec n.N… :D

Prague Castle Czech Republic Praha Bohemia glass beads beader beading Jablonec Muzeum Skla

While I did find seed beads in the north country, I found bead shops difficult to find in the city of Prague. It sounds odd because the city is full of jewelry and art glass shops. I believe that glass bead production and distrubution in the Czech Republic still remains a very hidden industry. I learned that many years ago, the main company making glass beads in the area split into two, and as a result, many of the factory workers took their skills and began working from home. I believe these small factories are selling directly to those who make the jewelry for all the shops, or they sell their beads directly to much larger distributors who deal with companies all over the world. If you go to Prague looking for beads, don’t get discouraged. You simply have to keep your eyes open, and peek into every shop. Loose beads are hidden, but they are there.

Prague Castle Czech Republic Praha Bohemia glass beads beader beading Jablonec Muzeum Skla

The above shop is the perfect example of this. To the unsuspecting American who cannot read Czech, it looks like any old shop. I took a wrong turn while looking for the Dvorak Museum, and I noticed some art supplies in this shop’s window. There were paint brushes, paints, and canvases, so I took a peek inside. There, I noticed a woman making some beaded jewelry – next to a whole table full of beautiful beads!

Prague Castle Czech Republic Praha Bohemia glass beads beader beading Jablonec Muzeum Skla

She must be making some jewelry for this display! :D

Prague Castle Czech Republic Praha Bohemia glass beads beader beading Jablonec Muzeum Skla

I spent awhile looking around, then I finally picked the following beads. Most of them were only about $1/bag, then when I looked at my receipt, I noticed that they were on sale! 20% off the sticker price! I was very happy about this shop… Now, I will have to think of ways to incorporated some of these into my beadwork… :D

 

Prague Castle Czech Republic Praha Bohemia glass beads beader beading Jablonec Muzeum Skla
I hope my discoveries inspire you to someday travel to the Czech Republic in search of beads. However, if you still need some more convincing, just wait until my next post… :D

22 responses to “>The Hunt for Czech Glass Beads

  1. >Wonderful post! Thanks for taking me along on your quest for beads, the photos are wonderful. I’m looking forward to your next post!

  2. >Sounds like a eventual but good weekend!

  3. >Welcome back home! I always love reading about your adventures and your bead hunt sounded like it was fun, especially with the language barrier.

  4. >I am glad that you are back safe and sound and I enjoyed reading your first post after the trip. Yeah, the Czech Republic still seems to be quite cheap. Cool that you could find beads at fairly favourable prices!!!

  5. >welcome back! sounds like your bead hunt was sucessful! =0)

  6. >Welcome back home to MA! I enjoyed reading about your beady adventure in the Czech Republic. Thanks for sharing!-Karen

  7. >great photos! Isn’t it great when you take a wrong turn and end up somewhere cool?xxpinks

  8. >Can’t wait to see what new work will come out of all the new beads you have aquired!

  9. >Everyone I know who has gone to these bead producing countries, say the same kinds of things. The people are lovely and the beads are hidden, but produced bit by bit here and there. I may have to give a talk soon on the history of beads so anything you can tell me in your blog will probably make it into the talk.

  10. >I am having fun reading about your trip and seeing the photos. Today is travel day on the blogs, since margot potter just came back from Japan.glad you had a GREAT time and are home safe.

  11. >Welcome Home!!! We missed you but sure did like your traveling widget. Can’t wait to see what those beads you brought home turn into. LC

  12. >That’s quite the haul there! Really looking forward to seeing what becomes of them! Welcome back. :)

  13. >Hey! You are back! Sounds like you’ve had a great time. Great deals too. Some of the beads you bought are quite large. Are you going to make jewelery? And those dark ones… What are you up to, kiddo? ;D

  14. >Welcome home!I enjoyed following your trip on your mobile blog.

  15. >Thank you for the wonderful report on your journey to Czechoslovakia in search of glass beads. I am looking forward to a continuation and more photos.

  16. >Welcome home, LB. You were missed. Did enjoy the pictures and am looking forward to more.Arline

  17. >Welcome home! Looks like you were in bead heaven. Wow.

  18. >Hi LB! I’ve been tied up with other stuff here lately, so I didn’t even know you’d been away. Looks like you had a fantastic time, and picked up heaps of good stuff as well!

  19. >LB, I’m so glad you’re back!!I’ve been waiting for you, really! And finally 3 new posts from you appeared in my google reader!I was thinking about going to CR for a beads hunt for my online store! Have you found any place where It is possible to buy them wholesale?..

  20. >Thanks for all the comments! And, Tanya! I thought about you when I was over there because it is only a 2 hour flight to Moscow from CZ:) If you ever plan a trip to the Czech Republic let me know! I’d like to go again sometime. I would like to travel to another small beading town there someday… :DAnd, I don’t know about bead shops that sell ‘wholesale’. I’d say the one I found with all the paper bags could be the closest you get to that. The beads are sold by weight, and the prices are great! The only thing that kept my from buying more was the fact that I had to carry them home in my luggage. LOL.

  21. >Hi Lone Beader,I haven’t visited your blog before, but was fascinated to read of your trip to the Czech Republic and your search for beads there.I’d love to go to Eastern Europe one day to explore all the museums there.Love your trolley car! Being an Australian its not something I am familiar with as an icon, but your work has a lovely feel to it.I shall enjoy coming back here to visit occasionally to see what you are up to!

  22. >Very interesting, I have a friend heading there in a few months. He isn’t a beader but I am going to trust him with the job of trying to find me a few gems :)

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