Almost five centuries years ago, in a town called Mšeno nestled in a quiet corner of Crystal Valley, the Wander family settled and founded the first glassworks in the region. Little did they know that very soon, the kilns and workshops of Bohemia would become famous all over the world.
The glassmaking industry in the region rapidly developed, and just a hundred years later, pristinely clear glass was developed for the first time by a man named Michael Müller in the town of Vimpersk. The year was 1688, and this mystical new creation quickly became known as Crystal due to its uncanny resemblance to the natural mountain crystal that could be found in the nearby forests and hills. Unlike its natural counterpart however, it was hard and yet also malleable, meaning it could be easily cut, shaped and polished, giving it a unique brightness, brilliance and fire.
The invention of crystal not only forever changed the art of glassmaking, but it made the Bohemian Kingdom a glassmaking superpower, and it wasn’t long before Bohemian Crystal became a much sought-after commodity. Glassmakers in other countries tried to emulate the Bohemian artisans, however the purest and most prestigious crystal remained that which originated in Crystal Valley.
As the centuries went by, the innovations coming out of Crystal Valley seemed endless. The world’s first glassmaking school was set up, colored glass was developed, a “silver mirror” effect (today known as foiling paper) was developed for the underside of the stones, and eventually the first machine-cut jewelry stones were produced, resulting in a further boom of new designs and applications.
Finally in 1948, 25 independent glassmakers from Bohemia came together to pool their expertise and establish the largest glassmaking company in the world: Preciosa. Today, Preciosa remains one of the leading international glass manufacturers, offering more than 500,000 components, 800 glass colors and melting more than 40 tons of glass every single day.
2018 is a very special year for Preciosa in more ways than one. As well as celebrating our 70th anniversary, we are also celebrating 460 years since the first kiln was fired up in 1548, giving birth to our beloved industry and way of life.
We are extremely proud of our long heritage, and thanks to our customers it continues to be our pleasure to share authentic Bohemian crystal, nanogems and zirconia with the world. Here’s to another 70 years of crystal perfection.