The history of the glass industry in Jablonec and Neugablonz

A fascinating city is formed

The historical Czech town of Jablonec nad Nisou (German: Gablonz an der Neiße) was first mentioned in the 14th century. The glass industry in the town however had its origins a couple of centuries later. We can assume that the first glass professionals settled in the area in the 16th century. Above all, the existing rich resources that are necessary for the production of glass, were a major factor in the settlement.

Destruction and new beginnings

In the Thirty Years‘ War, however Jablonec was significantly destroyed. But soon after glass production began in the 17th century, the town became increasingly important, the place flourished quickly again. Another important element of the success of Jablonec’s glass products was contributed to the use of glass elements in fashion jewellery in the so-called ‚imitation jewellery‚ field. The first glass beads were – so it is believed – made ​​in 1750.

The first economic boom

It was only a matter of time before some enterprising exporters took the opportunity to spread Jablonec’s products across Europe. Jewellery products from Jablonec were known worldwide by the 19th century. Regardless of whether glass balls (glass beads), glass stones, rhinestone jewellery such as necklaces, brooches or earrings ect… the creativity of the producers knew almost no bounds. Thus Jablonec’s industry soon developed into the most important economic sector by far in Bohemia. There was a network of different crafts, trade and industry around 1938 which included approximately 4,000 companies.

Change and crisis

The time leading up to the Second World War lead to many changes. Through the Sudeten territory’s annex to the German Empire (1938), there was soon a conflict. After the Second World War the resident Sudeten Germans were forced to leave the area by force. A few possessions were allowed to be taken along. Everything else, such as the house and land or the company had to be left.

The New Beginning

The displaced people were not too discouraged, however. The refugees re-settled in several parts of Germany and Austria. With all the years of experience and know-how, today’s ‚Neugablonz‚ (New Jablonec) was established, an exciting venture set in Kaufbeuren-Hart. It is the largest settlement of the Sudeten Germans expelled from Jablonec. The refugees began to rebuild on the ruins of an old ammunition factory. Success quickly arose, old contacts re-established and Neugablonz quickly became a new centre for the fashion jewellery world. Gablonz Industries was and still remains one of the largest employers in the region. More information about this topic can be found at

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