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         ||   P.O. Box 356  ~  Browns Valley, CA 95918  ~  Tel: (530) 743-1339   ||   

Jablonecs nad Nisou

Jablonecs nad Nisou, the town we go to to buy glass beads, where importers for 500 years have been going to to buy glass beads for the jewelry trade. First mentioned as a town in 1385, originally situated in the kingdom of Bohemia, then in the province of Bohemia in the Austrian Empire, ruled from Vienna by the Hapsburgs. Made famous as the center of glass bead making by German glass masters such as Swarovski, Jablonecs was also known as Gablons nou Neisse when the area was also known as Sudetenland, and annexed to Germany as a province during World War Two. After the war, the Germans were deported back to Germany, and Jablonecs continued on as a center for glass bead making, but in a much more subdued manner.

During its height, Jablonecs had over 2000 export agents dealing with glass beads and other jewelry items associated with bead making and the trade, but after the war that was reduced to one, Jablonex, the state run export monopoly that controlled all exports out of Czechoslovakia involving glass beads and crystal.



Now the area has approximately 10 to 12 bead factories, and hundreds of cottage industry factories making lampwork beads and hand pressed beads and buttons, involving several towns close to Jablonecs, such as Liberecs and Zelezney Brod. There is also a world famous glass school in Zelezney Brod, and several glass museums sprinkled around the area.



The glass school in Zelezney Brod.









The architecture of the buildings in Jablonecs is incredible….art deco from the 1900.



When we first arrived in Jablonecs back in 1999, we drove in from Berlin, Germany, barely touching Prague as we made our way north to get to Jablonecs, tunnel vision concentration not allowing us to stop for anything until we got to our destination. Jablonecs, center of European glass bead making…our mission, find bead factories.



We drove in to the center of town, and found a huge 1960’s communist style building that turned out to be the Hotel Mekur. I made the decision to stop right there and book in to the hotel, then begin investigating the town for factories.

We immediately started walking around the town, and noticed that the buildings, although beautiful art deco style, were in bad decay from over 60 years of neglect under communist rule. Because no one owned the buildings, no one spent money repairing them.




Condition of buildings when we first came to Jablonecs. Some still look like this.






Glass SRO.

Not knowing where to begin, we asked the receptionist of the hotel, who spoke English, to help us. She looked in the phone book and made some calls. Before we knew it, we were hooked up with a bead factory, and Petra, the salesperson who was to become a good friend.



Not only art deco buildings, but also old buildings from the 1700 and 1800’s, and old churches abound in Jablonecs, and even older castles dating from the 10th century are within easy driving distance.







Hotel Petrin overlooking Jablonecs.








View of Jablonecs from Hotel Petrin.




Factory out in the countryside.

The theatre in Jablonecs.

These are just a few of the buildings and sights of Jablonecs. Every year we go back and see the improvements being made to the town. Old buildings being repaired, remodeled, roads built or repaved, new construction occurring all over. A lot of the buildings are being purchased by Russians and Germans, for investments and by people relocating to Jablonecs for the lifestyle offered by the region. Jablonecs is a sporting center for central Europe, skiing in winter, watersports and hiking in summer. Mushroom picking is a national pastime, with lots of forests nearby to roam in.

In 1999, buildings could be purchased in town for $10,000. Now, they are being offered for $1 million. Jablonecs and the Czech Republic have rejoined the world.


Wild Things Beads  ~  P.O. Box 356  ~  Browns Valley, CA 95918  ~  Tel: (530) 743-1339

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