History & Manufacture

History of Gablonzer Christmas Decoration

The development of Gablonzer started around 1550 in Gablonz (Jablonec in today’s Czech Republic). In those days, German settlers built the first glass factories and glasscutters in the region. In 1750 people in Gablonz first produced glass pearls which were used for decoration. The production of coloured glasses led to creating jewellery made of glass.

Until the end of the 18th century Gablonzer glass pearls and imitations of precious stones were worldwide on heavy demand. But then foreign trade was very much impaired by Napoleon and his military campaigns. After this, Gablonz became again a centre for jewellery and the world’s interest for the products from Gablonz was as high as never before.

In spite of revolutions in 1848, years of war in 1875 and 1876, the people of Gablonz were able to extend their position. Even after the First World War, there was an unexpected huge demand. Thousands of workers, stone setters, enamellers, cutters, metalworkers and their assistants provided the world with wonderful fashion jewellery. Every day three convoys left Gablonz fully loaded with glass ware. In Trieste anchored a cargo ship - called "Gablonz" - that frequently ferried over to Bombay.

As so many other things, World War II also destroyed one of the most successful industries in Europe at that time. In the chaos and turmoil after the war, the government of the Czech Republic displaced Sudeten German community from Gablonz and other regions. 

Austria offered many resettled specialists a new home and the possibility to restart their production and business, above all in Enns. For a lot of young unemployed men and women this has been a gift of God and business started to flourish again. American cans for biscuits, metal boxes and parts made of Aluminium were sources for beautiful jewellery. Therefore the word "fantasy jewellery" became very famous. In those days, the people of Enns often called the Sudeten Germans "die Gablonzer". The name stuck.

In 1947 the Gablonzer cooperative was founded with a start-up capital of 7,000 Austrian Schillings (about € 500.00). Over time, it had about 150 members and substantially contributes to the total turnover of Austrian jewellery industry. Energy, skills and modern manufacturing of the "Gablonzer" owe to strengthen the Austrian image of high quality products all over the world.

The cooperative eventually had to fold under the price competition exerted from new emerging global suppliers. In 2008 the members of the Gablonzer cooperation decided to liquidate the long-established company. In July 2011 the Gablonzer cooperation was deleted from the commercial register. As Sudeten German descendents Friedrich and Thomas Zimmermann were able to acquire the trademark rights for "Gablonzer" and continued the tradition on completely new organisational feet.

© Gablonzer 2022