Glass stones from the Bohemian Paradise, crystal chandeliers exported all over the world, jewel crafters and glassmakers – that’s the Crystal Valley. The region has been associated with glass and jewellery-making for centuries and the tradition, which still thrives today, is not very different from that dating back hundreds of years. The Crystal Valley brings together the art of making glass, costume jewellery, and jewellery. More than 40 companies, museums, and schools are involved in this unique project. Visitors can take a look into the world of the glassmaking workshops in the glassworks in Lindava or Harrachov and see the traditional process of making chandeliers, Christmas decorations, beads, and jewels. These places offer live workshops, glassworks, and fascinating stories that reach far back into the history of our region.
The diversity of jewel-crafting and glassmaking is now reflected in hundreds of glassworks. In the Jablonec region, visitors can explore bead-pressing workshops or fall in love with the region’s legendary costume jewellery. In Nový Bor they can witness how tens of thousands of pieces of utility glassware are produced every day, while nearby gigantic light fixtures and chandeliers are being made for the most famous and luxurious hotels, palaces, and even boats. Fine and delicate Christmas decorations are crafted in Poniklá on the slopes of the Giant Mountains, while jewellery and stone workshops can be found tucked away in the Bohemian Paradise. Železný Brod, on the other hand, is famous for its glass figurines. Most of the products made here are then exported all over the world, but this is the only place where you can admire the art of our master craftsmen.
The art of glassmaking has been part of the history of the Liberec Region since time immemorial and the history of glass is being continued in Jiří Pačinek’s workshop in Kunratice u Cvikova, and you can come and see for yourself how the glass dances at the hands of these master glassmakers.
Jiří Pačinek is a leading figure in artistic glassmaking, both in Europe and around the world. Years of experience and the chance to work with some of the greatest artists, architects, and designers of his age inspired him to create his own artistic brand, Pačinek Glass, which is now a major player on the world glassmaking scene. The glassworks itself was opened in 2015 and since then has attracted glass artists and glass lovers from all over the world, to see the master glassmakers at work and get a little closer to the traditional craft of glassmaking. A tour around the site will take you to the glassworks, where you can see the master Pačinek himself at work, as well as the grinding shop and sales showroom. However, one of the biggest attractions is the magical Glass Garden, where you can enjoy a soothing stroll amongst glass plants, in any weather and at any time of the day or night. You can also visit the glass florist’s shop - Zahrady Pačinek, where you can choose yourself a flower for your own garden or order one custom-made. There’s then a lovely place to sit in the new Glass Courtyard, which offers a beautiful view of the garden and the glassworks. On the covered terrace where you can treat yourself to some simple refreshments at U Pece and sit by the fire to roast a glass sausage. Outside there’s also a small kiln, where you can see what it is like to become a glassmaker for a while. The high point of the trip is definitely a tour of the Crystal Church with its unique galleries and a permanent exhibition on the art of glassmaking.
The idea of establishing glassworks in Lindava near Nový Bor came from a meeting between the architect and artist Bořek Šípek and the glassmaker Petr Novotný. They built the glassworks in the early 1990s and it was ceremonially opened during the International Glass Symposium (IGS). This event, held every three years, brings together world-famous designers, architects, and glassmakers, to work alongside master glassmakers and bring a fresh perspective to the craft. From when it was first established the glassworks created works of art in the style of the Italian glassmakers from the island of Murano. Works from the LASVIT Ajeto glassworks are owned by prominent figures such as the former U.S. president Bill Clinton and the singer Mick Jagger, while Václav Havel was also a fan of Šípek’s work. The glassworks make the Tour de France trophy and the Thalia awards, as well as components for large light installations and some designer lights and drinking and decorative glass. The master glassmakers here can create brightly coloured Candy glasses, ice-inspired Frozen bowls, and Crystal Rock vases, which look like stone.
The glassworks are open to the public, so each visitor can watch from the walkways and see how difficult it is to work with glass. Take this unique opportunity and see the glassworks in Lindava for yourself, up close. It gives you a wonderful chance to see how that hot molten glass is transformed into such delicate beauty at the hands of these master craftsmen. Anyone who fancies it can try the process for themselves and use a glass blower to create their own first exclusive glass product, their own pint glass, or a little vase.
You can let all these experiences “sink in” over some pleasant refreshments and a home-cooked meal in the stylish Sklářská Krčma Ajeto, an inn situated in the glassworks complex. And you’re sure to find a glass souvenir to remind you of this unforgettable experience.
Lasvit headquarters – Glass House and Black House
Two hundred years ago the local master glassmakers were based in timbered cottages on Palackého náměstí in Nový Bor. The Czech glass and design company Lasvit renovated the historical buildings and moved its headquarters here in 2019. The site includes two modern new buildings – the Black House and the Glass House, which are metaphors for dark and light. The house made from glass, which can be seen from a distance from the street, is covered with tiles inspired by traditional slate cladding. Lasvit developed this glass facade in honour of the regional tradition, but also to reflect modern trends. According to the company’s founder, Leon Jakimič, the Glass House is intended to be a unique lamp in the town and the symbol of the rebirth and new confidence of glassmaking in the region. The site also includes two timbered cottages, which were used by the glassmakers in the late 18th century. In the early 19th century, there was a glass manufactory in one of the houses, and a glassmaking school and grinding shop between the wars. Lasvit refurbished both listed buildings and moved several of its departments there in 2019, including its top management.
The Glass and Jewellery Museum
The Glass and Jewellery Museum is the only one of its kind in the Czech Republic and also has the biggest collection of costume jewellery in the world. The main museum building is a cultural monument and was built in 1904 in the Art Nouveau style for the export company Zimmer & Schmidt. The museum’s first exhibition was opened there in the same year when the museum still specialised in the applied arts. The museum has been state-run since 2003 and now manages a collection containing some 12 million items. The best is on show in its permanent or temporary exhibitions. In the “The Endless Story of Costume Jewellery” permanent exhibition, besides jewellery, of course, you can also admire buttons, coins, medals, designer and historical jewellery, fasteners, and clothing accessories from the unique Waldes collection. The “Magic Garden - Czech Glass Spanning Seven Centuries” exhibition portrays the story of glass’s journey from being an anonymous goblet to becoming an original work of art. Polished glass crystal on the outside, a secret chamber of Christmas decorations inside. That’s how the annex to the Glass and Jewellery Museum looks in Jablonec nad Nisou, built to provide extra space for its extensive collections.
Location: Liberec Region