Bohemian garnet

Bohemian garnet - history

BOHEMIAN GARNET is a transparent to translucent mineral of a deep red color, belonging to the group of pyrops. Because of this color shade the Bohemian garnet as a mineral is favorite all around the world. The Bohemian garnet is a precious stone of small dimension (from 0.2 to 0.8 cm in size), fiery or blood-red in color (colored with a chromium admixture). Its name is derived from the Greek Pyropos, (pyr = fire, ops = eye), {or from the Latin Carbunculus = cinder, (granatus = grani from, English) Bohemian garnet, German Böhmisches Granat, zrnakoč in old Bohemian, according to Klaret}. In accordance with the Mohs hardness scale, it has a hardness number of 6.5 to 7.5. It boasts exceptional color stability, and is resistant to heat and acids.

The Bohemian pyrope has been haphazardly collected from river silts since ancient times. The collection of garnet in an organized form to be exported to Europe began in the early middle ages, at the time of the great migration of nations from the 6th to 8th centuries. In the middle ages the popularity of Bohemian garnet waned but a few rare goldsmith relics have been preserved from the second half of the 14th century (reliquary from Prague Cathedral). It was not until the 2nd half of the 15th century that garnets began to be seen more often as decorations on liturgical silver, particularly chalices. The peak period came under the reign of Emperor Rudolf II (ruled 1576 – 1610), who supported the stone cutters and introduced the right of first refusal on garnets of exceptional size. In 1679 Bohuslav Balbín gave the pyrope the name Bohemian garnet, and since then were the Pyrops found in the Bohemia called "Bohemian garnet". After 1700 the use of Bohemian garnets became more widespread in jewellery . Jewelleries with small stones became fashionable in the 2nd quarter of the 18th century, and so the Empress Marie Terezie issued in 1762 a ban on the export of Bohemian garnets from the country. Hereby she has protected the domestic monopoly on the mining and working of garnet. Stone-cutting workshops opened in Podsedice, Dlažkovice, in Světlá nad Sázavou, Třebenice, Horní Třebívlice and in Skalka. The Czech national renaissance established the Bohemian garnet as the mineralogical symbol of Bohemia. It became an attribute of Czech patriots. (as can be seen on the portraits of the wife of Václav Hank, the daughter of František Palacký, Božena Němcová, etc.).

To help date garnet jewels from the 2nd and 3rd of the 19th century there are two garnet setting techniques: grain and rivet (jewellery techniques). In the 19th century Bohemian garnet-makers successfully displayed industrial exhibitions in the country and abroad. Thanks to the success of the craftsmen at the World Exhibition in Brussels in 1958, Bohemian garnet returned to the contemporary artwork, and started to make a new-era history of the jewelry production in Bohemia.

In this new-era history, our cooperative has been active since 1953 on the market, and deals with the processing of the Bohemian garnet. Our garnet jewelries have a fully specific character, depending on the size of the found stones. Because of the variation in size (from two to six millimeters,) their beauty, sparkling red color and the gloss of these stones excels mostly on jewels with big surfaces and the Bohemian garnet densely set with stones and metal creates the jewel structure. In the jewel stones of bigger size, no pyrops, but almandine is used. Nowadays a combination of the Bohemian garnet and other bohemian stones, moldavite, has become popular and we can offer collections of inexhaustible volume of classical models, which can be extended by jewelleries with modern and creative designs to make an alternative for young clients.