Czech This Out



As we introduce our new 2015-2016 jewelry line, we’re taking time to ponder what makes this jewelry different from our previous collections, and we have to say that the difference is color! Vivid blues, greens, purples, and apricots presented in vintage cabochons, but also in new glass buttons made in the Czech Republic as well as opalescent Swarovski crystals made in Austria.


The words NEW BUTTONS may catch some of you by surprise. After all, haven’t we staked our very reputation on the use of authentic antique buttons that are at least 100 years old? Yes we have, and yes we still do—the vast majority of pieces in this collection contain one or more buttons that were made before 1915. Most of these antique buttons are metal, though, and not colorful at all.

We’ve long drooled over the stunning glass buttons made today in the Czech Republic, and wished we could add their glimmering bursts of color to our jewelry, but have held back because they were, of course, not old. This year we decided there was nothing wrong with combining the new with the old:  All of the Grandmother’s Buttons necklaces and bracelets that contain a new Czech glass button will also always include an antique button, giving the best of both worlds, and creating the most beautiful jewelry we’ve ever offered!

close up old vrs new 28

Antique metal buttons to the left, new Czech glass to the right; together they create our favorite jewelry yet.

As we began to research how these buttons are made, we got more and more excited. Today’s Czech glass buttons are made in much the same way as in the early 18th century when the process was developed. It is still very much a cottage industry, with craftsmen molding one button at a time by placing a heated glass rod in iron tongs set with a beautifully carved button mold.


Glass rods being heated in a furnace.


Individual button molds to be placed in the tongs.


Glass rod being pressed in tongs.


Button maker at the furnace.


Rack of tongs waiting to be used.

Our buttons come from the town of Jablonec, which has been a button making center since the 1830s. In fact, most of the 19th century jet glass buttons we use (such as the ones in 01-B627B and 01-N627B link to these) were made in the 1880s -90s in this same area (called Bohemia at the time)  using tongs and glass rods just as are used today.

We can’t wait to hear what you think of our Czech glass pieces!