JULIA CRYSTAL GLASS FACTORY IN PIECHOWICE – CRYSTAL WORKS OF ART- ARABIAN HORSE CULTURE INTERNATIONAL INSTITUTE
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JULIA CRYSTAL GLASS FACTORY IN PIECHOWICE – CRYSTAL WORKS OF ART




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Sponsored article:

 

The walls of the Julia crystal glass factory of Piechowice are marked with fine tradition and 200 years of history. The factory is now the only surviving relic of great traditions of glass-making in this part of the Karkonosze mountains and the only living monument of the Josephine Glassworks situated within old walls of Fritz Heckert’s glass factory. Thanks to their exceptional value, crystal products manufactured here are highly recognised for instance in the USA and Saudi Arabia. Let us then take a closer look at them.

Cards from the calendar – a few words about history…

Year 1866 marked the beginning of everything.  Wilhelm Heckert, the emperor’s godson, came to Piechowice and started to build a glass decorating factory which specialised in the treatment of parts of chandeliers and crystal mirror manufacture. The glass raw material was sourced from count Schaffgotsch Josephine’s glassworks in Szklarska Poręba. The owner’s good management skills and the emperor’s protection guaranteed smooth operation of the factory, while its crystal products from the very outset were distinguished by their magnificent shapes and meticulous workmanship. 


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In 1889 the construction of Heckert’s glassworks was completed and, thanks to its professional staff, its greatness equalled that of count Schaffgotch’s Josephine glassworks in Szklarska Poręba.


In 1923, following the merger of Heckert’s glassworks of Piechowice and Josephine plant of Szklarska Poręba with Kynast Kristal Neumann & Staebe of Sobieszów , a joint-stock company was established with the trademark JOSEPHINE which, from that moment onwards, would represent glassworks in the Karkonosze mountains.


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After WWII, when Silesia was incorporated into Poland, Polish glassmakers sharpened their skills under the watchful eyes of their German masters. The glassworks in Szklarska Poręba continued its operation and in 1958 it took on the Polish name of JULIA.


http://www.sklep.crystaljulia.com/en/

Year 1999 did not make its mark in the calendar of happy memories. Acquired by the Americans, the plant halted its production and, within few years’ time, it was declared bankrupt.

Fortune smiled to the Julia glassworks again in 2006, when it was purchased by a Polish family and production was resumed.

We discover crystal glass…

In our everyday lives glass products surround us from all sides. Glass packaging, elegant carafes, or sophisticated tableware – what all these products have in common is glass. It is a solid substance which, under special conditions, may turn into liquid. It is no use scouring the pages of history to find out by whom and precisely when glass was invented. Archaeological research indicates that it may have happened already around 1500 BC in Ancient Egypt. In Europe main glass-making centres were located in Venice and the Murano island.


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Crystal glass (lead glass, in fact), commonly called crystal, is a variety of glass used to manufacture decorations as well as objects of everyday use. It is colourless and transparent, and contains lead in the form of oxides. A glass product is identified as crystal if it contains over 10% of lead. Lead oxide is added to change the physical properties of glass, as a result of which it becomes more flexible and easier to model, but it also pleases the eye with seven colours of the rainbow. Traditional crystal glass products contain 24% of lead oxide (PbO). They preserve their properties for longer if they are properly cared for and protected. Contrary to popular belief, keeping crystals in good condition does not require any specialised treatment. However, one should remember a few rules:

- avoid strong detergents
- wash crystal glass in cold water with vinegar
- avoid too warm water which may cause tarnishing of glass
- polish crystal with a soft cloth

We open the book of magic – how crystal works of art come into being

Did you know that as many as 70 artists work together to create one crystal product? They are the glassworkers – experts in their profession – who have sharpened their skills for over 30 years! They traditionally blow glass through blow pipes and form objects with the use of wooden instruments and molds. Once the glass has slowly chilled and annealed, it is handed over to goldsmiths and cutters who use diamond cutting discs to manually engrave sophisticated patterns on the products. Every stage may be followed step by step during a tour around the Julia crystal glass factory.


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Nothing happens nor will happen twice – poetry enclosed in crystal…

Finesse, uniqueness and elegance mutually intermingle to become inherent features of products manufactured in the Julia crystal glass factory. Elaborate patterns adorning the crystal sculptures are like rhymes in a poem – complete them and create an extraordinary composition. The glassworkers – poets of manual masterpieces – are their creators. Their hands release blown and pressed glass products, which are then polished, engraved and sanded by goldsmiths to give each of them its distinctive character. Traditional painting methods contribute to the manufacture of unique products with richness of colours hidden inside, which more than once have graced special events in the whole country. For instance, crystal cups were awarded to winners of the World Cup in cross-country skiing in 2012. The design of the products from the Julia glassworks has also gained recognition worldwide – it is popular for instance in the Arab states, where sophisticated patterning is held in especially high esteem.


http://www.sklep.crystaljulia.com/en/


http://www.sklep.crystaljulia.com/en/

The time vehicle – extraordinary tour around the Julia glass factory

The Julia glassworks invites all visitors keen on discovering the methods used by glassworkers to make amazing artworks from crystal to embark on a tour around its most interesting nooks and corners. Accompanied by a guide, tourists have an opportunity to trace all stages of the molding of crystal products. Taking part in organised workshops, those more inquisitive will also have a chance to become creators of glassy beauty. What is more, visitors will uncover the secrets of hot glass formation and traditional art of glass decoration. On the factory premises there are two manufacturer’s show rooms which have a delightfully wide range of crystal glass products on offer. Visitors cannot leave them untouched by these fabulously sparkling crystal shapes, whose uniqueness and beauty are also appreciated by buyers from Saudi Arabia, the USA and Japan, where they proudly decorate tables.


http://www.sklep.crystaljulia.com/en/

The Julia crystal glass factory is a living vestige of long-term tradition and a forge of crystal artwork. Its staff, true aficionados and professionals, are the directors of unforgettable spectacles, while a staccato rhythm tapped out by crystal objects hitting one another only complements the exceptional atmosphere of this place.

Jolanta Gębka


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