A Glossary of Basic Terminology Regarding Bohemian Crystal Production
A decorative, mainly architectural, style that spread in the Czech lands in the first third of the twentieth century. Unlike the more rigid functionalism, Art Deco put its emphasis on decorativeness and detail. The influence of Art Deco on Czech glass producers during this period is notably apparent.
An artistic style of the turn of the nineteenth and twentieth century. It’s particular characteristic is high decorativeness, ornamental elements and fluid curves. Attributes of this originally architectural style found their way into the Czech glass of the time. Czech painter Alphonse Mucha was among the leaders of Art Nouveau .
An artistic style born in Italy at the end of the sixteenth century. In the following decades, it affected the culture of all Europe. Baroque is distinctly decorative, lavish and opulent. Czech glass had its heyday during the Baroque period, when it managed to overshadow even the then most famous Venetian glass.
The Order of St. Benedict, is the oldest order of Western Christianity. In Bohemia, it gained renown for its production of stained glass windows for churches and monasteries, beginning in the ninth century A.D.
An artistic style of the first half of the nineteenth century, typical of the townsmen’s society that was on the rise at the time. The style emphasizes the love of home and cuteness, appropriateness and intimacy and its aesthetic corresponds with that. Particularly painting on glass was developing in this period.
Glass produced using glassblowing pipes. The blower uses the end of the pipe to pick up molten glass, then blows the glass into a glassmaking form, where the object obtains its final shape.
Transparent glass that resembles natural quartz in appearance. It is greatly suited for various decorations and treatments. This glass first appeared in the Czech lands in the sixteenth century. Its popularity peaked at the turn of the seventeenth and eighteenth century, when it entirely overshadowed Venetian glass across Europe.
A figure or design is engraved in relief on to glass cased with one or more layers of colored glass. The engraved pattern is cut away the under layers provide a contrasting background.
Glass with one or more colored layers. As the engraver cuts through the layers, the different colors are revealed. Various shades can be achieved by skillful control of the depth of cut.
Definition of Crystal
Although nowadays, according to industrial standards, crystal in Europe is understood to be only leaded glass, the term crystal is used for all glass that is close to natural quartz in its unique physical properties and optical characteristics – high luster and transparency. Crystal can also be a lead-free glass.
The First Republic
One of the happiest and most productive periods in the history of the Czech lands. It is dated by the formation of independent Czechoslovakia in 1918 and the beginning of WWII. The period was characterized by enormous economic and cultural growth, during which today’s Czech Republic belonged among the top-ten richest per capita countries in the world.
The oldest hand-blown glass typical for countries above the Alps. It was produced in the Middle Ages in glassworks located in forests (hence its name) and is characteristically green-tinted due to imperfect purification of the materials. It also features random and tiny air bubbles.
An artistic, particularly architectural, style of the first third of the twentieth century. Its characteristics are stylistic restraint, simplicity and austerity. After 1930 these attributes were, for the first time in history, also implemented in Czech glass.
A mold created from high-quality wood used to shape molten glass blown into the mold by the glassblower. The mold is carefully produced according to a technical drawing and its basic shape is a hemisphere. Each wooden mold lasts only 50 glasses, then a new one must be hand-curved.
A basic tool for the production of blown glass. The glassblower picks dips the end of the pipe in molten glass and blows it into a form or works it with other tools. The oldest documented glassblowing pipes were used by the Phoenicians, several thousand years before Christ.
An industrial establishment appointed for the production of glass. Its core is a glassmaking furnace which melts the materials necessary for glass production, as well as other buildings necessary for material storage and further production.
The art of engraving precious stones and semi-precious stones. One of the oldest artistic techniques that came to Czech lands thanks to the King and Emperor, Rudolph II. It was glyptics that began engraving pure glass, becoming the first glass cutters and engravers.
Although painting on glass was already common in ancient times, the technique of high enamel was created at the end of the eighteenth century and fully developed in subsequent years. Applying precious metals on glass had both the goal of making the glass more attractive and to hide possible imperfections in the materials. It enabled the production of large pieces with likely impurities in the glass.
A decorative technique where the design is engraved deeply into the glass, but appears to give the opposite effect.
A silica glass without the content of lead monoxide and therefore not harmful to the health of glassmakers as well as those later processing the glass and also more environmentally friendly. Lead-free glass is more brittle than leaded glass but the same decorative techniques can be used on it. CLARESCO Glass strictly uses only lead-free crystal for its products.
Glass enhanced by the addition of lead monoxide that lends it properties desirable for further processing. Leaded glass is an English invention and is easy to work with, causing the glass to become softer, adding luster and making it perfectly suitable for cutting.
The production of glass from glass mixtures, using various substances. The basis of the mixtures is silica sand, calcium oxide, sodium oxide and potassium oxide. The mixture is first ground and thoroughly blended, then liquefied at temperatures ranging from 1450–2000o C in glassmaking kilns. The ratio of the individual components determines both the physical and optical properties of glass.
The shape of the finished article is achieved by glass being blown into a wooden mold. The mold may be used simply to shape the glass or to impress patterns upon it.
A series of islands located approximately a kilometer and a half from the Italian city of Venice. Murano is known for its traditional production of Venetian glass. Beginning in 1921, all local residents and producers were isolated there in order to keep the method of their glass production secret.
The removal of the background of a pattern on glass to leave the design embossed forward, as with a head on a coin.
The basic material in glass production. Prior to melting, this mineral with a high content of silicon dioxide or other chemical admixtures must first be treated and cleaned. The first Czech glassworks were established in areas abundant with these materials.
Silk Screen Print
A graphic technique based on pressing ink through a screen template. Silk screen can be used to decorate many different materials, including glass. Silkscreen on glass is among the most technically challenging decorative techniques.
This is a glass mosaic set in lead frames used for glazing windows. This use became widely spread during Middle Ages, particularly in sacral architecture. In the Czech lands, the first stained glass windows were produced by the Benedictines.
St. Vitus Cathedral
The most famous and important sacral building in the Czech Republic. It was built upon the initiative of Czech King Charles IV and its construction continued until the twentieth century. It is particularly important for the history of Czech glass due to the monumental Mediaeval glass mosaic of the Last Judgment, composed from a million glass components. The cathedral is also decorated with outstanding stained-glass windows from the time of the First Republic, from the painter Alphonse Mucha, among others.
Practically all basic techniques from producing a wooden glassmaking mold to glass decoration are based on precise technical drawings.
The expression Venetian glass (in Italian vetro veneziano) refers to the oldest glass manufacturing in Europe, dating to the second half of the first millennium in Italy. By the Middle Ages, Italian glass production was centered and isolated at the island of Murano, from where its glass products dominated the world until the fifteenth century.