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Homemade Production

Glass beads are traditionally produced and processed at home. The whole family had to help, including children. Beads were mostly blown by fathers or grandfathers, and had to be further processed. Every bead-producing family carefully kept the secret of silvering beads – originally, the beads were silvered with a solution of lead and zinc, later a solution of silver nitrate. The solution had to be sucked into the beads by mouth, which was rather dangerous. When swallowed, the solution got close under the skin via capillaries; the chemicals reacted with light turning the skin black. Silvered beads had to be cut into individual small beads or other parts, which was mostly done by grannies. Mothers and above all children then took care of stringing beads or compiling ornaments. Every family had “their” ornaments whose details differed from the competition.

The principle of homemade production prevailed even after the firms had been established – the firm owner called on individual families, gave them commissioned assignments and provided both the technology and material.

Even today the work is to a great extent done at home – especially blowing beads, cutting and assembling ornaments. The chemical production step – silvering and colouring – is carried out in a firm to comply with all safety and environmental standards.

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