| What is the reason that the bohemian glass is considered to be the best in the world? Why is pecisely the bohemian glass, coming from a very small country called Bohemian Republic, and being made in an even smaller area, that is from the times of Caesar named Bohemia, so demanded by consumers and highly prized by its owners all over the world?
To reply to such a formidable question we have to go as far to the past as to the early medieval times, when the Bohemian Kingdom lead by the "Iron and Gold King"Premysl Otakar II. began to raise its importance on the map of Middle Europe after 1250 AD. The position in the middle of Europe, surrounded by the lands, that will soon form the medieval Holy Roman Empire, and natural defence against attackers formed by the strip of mountains and primaeval forests gave the country an economic prosperity needed for the creation of a demand for a luxury goods, that can underline the position of Bohemian kings and nobility. And this was the time when bohemian glass starts to appear on the scene for the firs time.
Archaelogical findings of the bohemian glass from that period are mainly of smaller dimensions, and the hollow glassware has been shaped mainly in a form of cups, with rich decoration of glass knobs. Bohemian glass from this period has slightly greenish colour with bubbles and impurities frozen in a mass of glass and is often decorated by the cobalt blue glass threads or small drops. This kind of bohemian glass is often called Forest glass or Waldglas and this kind of glass has been very popular up to the time of later middleages, even if in somewhat different forms. It is not uninteresting, that forest glass replicas of old bohemian glass are very demanded giftware even now in our time. Forest glass replicas forms also a part of the production of Bohemian Glassworks.
Later on, in a period 1300-1350 AD, there was a sudden change in the bohemian glass production. While in the rest of Europe smaller glass vessels have been made (mostly under 20 cms of height), in bohemian lands appears for the first time the so-called Flute of Bohemian type or Bohemian glass flute. These were some 24 to 32 cms high, but during their production, that ends before 1500 AD, achieved even the height of 46 cms and that was real triumph of bohemian glass in medieval times, eventhough the time of the biggest glory was yet to come. For us it is very difficult to imagine that any product could be so popular that its production lasts nearly 200 years, but for bohemian glass it was just a step on the road to the most distinctive and breathtaking bohemian glass creations we now know from the history.
Thus bohemian glass flute is easily imaginable being filled with wine on the table of the Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire Charles the Fourth, which has moved its capital to the biggest and most beautiful city of Bohemian kingdom, Prague. This can we consider as a truly unique contribution of the bohemian gothic glass.
The bohemian glass is characterized by the production of Forest glass(Waldglas) up to nearly 1650 AD. There was an opinion, that the name forest glass came from the greenish colour of the bohemian glass of that time, and that this was caused by the inability of the glass manufacturers to produce clear glass without impurities. From what we now know is obvious, that this colour was rather a matter of modern waves than of incapability of the manufacturers, because bohemian glass of this type appeared frequently even in time when making of clear glass was possible and well known process, and after all the forest glass has much more intensive green colour than would be caused by the impurities only. The name forest glass or waldglas came from the glassmakers from the Rhineland, which had very bad times while forced to compete to the cheaper production from woods, and used the words Forest glass as a pejorative description of their competitor's products.
The bohemian glass in early renaissance period was characterised not only by the forest glass itself, but by the rich decoration by enamel, that was increasingly popular. An example of that type of bohemian glass may be the welcomming rummers, used by the nobility and rich bourgeoisie. The example may be a rummer with the painting of a symbols of the Empire. Sometimes mentioned to be an instrument of promotion of the unity of the Empire, while there were numerous cases of various national claims. The bohemian glass replica of this item is displayed on the image.
Another popular shape that have been brought to bohemian glass production, was so called Roemer, that has been the most popular wine glass of 1550-1650 AD. Its shape was the most distinctive result of the uninterupted glassmaking tradition and its replicas are very popular giftware. It is believed that it was Emperor's Rudolph The Second most usual wine-glass. At that time another new decoration technique of the bohemian glass appears. It was glass engraving that resulted from the art of cutting of precious stones and diamonds. Rudolph the Second as a generous supporter of art and science has attracted the best artists, alchemists and thinkers of that time to Prague and some of them eventually started to use this new procedure of bohemian glass decoration.
Bohemian glass at that time achieved crystal purity and lost its greenish colour by the chemical method of glass decolourisation. This new bohemian crystal was a perfect medium on which the finest engravings, which have world ever seen. Together with complex and fine shapes it was a perfect combination to fit the needs of upcoming baroque period. At this point starts also the fame of bohemian glass, as the bohemian crystal products are being exported to all over the world and soon became one of the most sought after jewelry.
Further times up to the Depression period brought further refining of bohemian glass and the proces of its production, and it also brought new or at lest improved decoration techniques, that have reached its climax at the turn of the century around 1900. Bohemian glass at this stage was a well known and estabilished element in the world market, and it looked like nothing could affect its position. But then came world war I. and this was no time for bohemian glass as it was not for the glassmaking in any country involved.
The glassmaking tradition have not perished and after the war bohemian glass have quickly re-earned its position on the sun. There were many setbacks up to our time, but bohemian glass has never stopped to play the first role, and is stil considered to be the number one in most of the countries. One of the reason it owes so much is its uninterupted 800 years tradition, that is
Many could admitt that in our time there are some very well estabilished trademarks of luxury glass and crystal, from other countries, that are stunningly beautiful in the excellency of craftsmanship being used by making them. It is widely used practice to have the glass produced in Bohemian Republic and then just stamp it, made in UK for example, and throw on the market. You might be confused a little bit, that this is not just what you thought to obtain, but you do not need to, because you have obtain the best. And we, Bohemian Glassworks are proud to be the only still able to produce such extraordinary and beautiful things.