Fashioning Fire From Pebbles

The History of Gem Cutting in the Czech Republic

Justin K Prim
May 1, 2019 · 28 min read
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19th Century Bracelet featuring Bohemian Garnets. Photo by Justin K Prim

Emperor Rudolf II

Anselmus Boëtius de Boodt

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Anselmus Boëtius de Boodt
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from Gemmarum et Lapidum Historia, 1609 (Restored and Animated by Justin K Prim)
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from Kreuterbuch, Adam Lonicer, 1557 (Digitally Restored and Colored by Justin K Prim)

Ottavio Miseroni

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Dionysio Miseroni, Son of Ottavio

The Imperial Mill

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The Imperial Mill in 1857 When The Water Still Flowed “Císařský mlýn v Bubenči” by Ferdinand Lepié, Museum of the City of Prague
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Imperial Mill: 1820–2018. Arched Grotto with Rudolf’s Sigil Stands in the Middle. Center Photo by Justin K Prim
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Map of the Cutting Factories of Rudolf II. Map Courtesy of Google Earth by Justin K Prim

Turnov

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Lapidary Mural in Turnov Town Center. Photo by Justin K Prim

Life After Rudolf

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Portrait of the Gem-Cutter Dionysio Miseroni and his Family by Karel Škréta (1653) with So-Called Pyramid (1653), Held by Ferdinand in the Painting
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Emerald Vessel cut by Dionysio Miseroni in 1641. Photo courtesy of the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna

1700s

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The Cup of Archbishop Franz Khünberg by Johann de Ambosy (1716) with Czech Garnets around Biblical Imagery. Photo Courtesy of Treasury of St. Vitus Cathedral
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The Cutting Centers of the Bohemian Kingdom. Map Courtesy of Google Earth by Justin K Prim

Kolín

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Reliquary Pendant featuring 40 Czech Garnets with Large Table cuts, 5–7mm (1730s). Photo Courtesy of Treasury of St. Vitus Cathedral

Handpiece Evolution

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Left to Right; Top: Earliest Style 1600s, 1700s, 1800s; Early 1900s, Mid 1900s, Modern
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20th Century Foot Powered Czech Faceting Machine. Photo by Justin K Prim
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Diagram of a Round Brilliant with Tier Numbers.
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An Example of a Modern Cutter Holding the Quadrant Handpiece and Changing Gears. Photos by Justin K Prim

1800s

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Brooch with Czech Garnets from around 1880. Photo Courtesy of Radek Hanus
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Husband and Wife Faceting Teams. Photos Courtesy of Museum of Bohemian Paradise

Introducing Bohemian Techniques to Germany

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Bohemian Cutting Table Circa 1887; German Lapidary using a Quadrant Handpiece; 19th Century German Cutting Machine

Cutting Style

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Rose Cut Garnets in a Gold Brooch Pin Circa 1870. Photo Courtesy of eBay
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Brooch with Czech Garnets from around 1890. Photo Courtesy of Radek Hanus

Supš a Voš Turnov — Secondary School of Applied Arts

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Secondary School of Applied Arts, Old and New. Photos by Justin K Prim. Black and White Image Courtesy of Supš a Voš Turnov

1900s

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Czech Cutters in the Early 20th Century. A German-Style Sandstone Cutting Wheel Can be Seen in Use on the Right. Photo Courtesy of Museum of Bohemian Paradise
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Early 20th Century Czech Gemcutters. Photo Courtesy of Museum of Bohemian Paradise
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20th Century Garnet Jewelry. Photo Courtesy of the Granát Archive
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Czech Gem Cutters at the Beginning of the 20th Century. Photos Courtesy of Czech Garnet Museum

2000s

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21st Century Czech Cutting Table. Photo by Justin K Prim
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21st Century Garnet Jewelry. Photo Courtesy of Granát Turnov

Conclusion

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Pendant with Czech Garnets and Pearls. Photo Courtesy of the Granát Archive

Acknowledgements

Resources

About the Author

Justin K Prim

The collected written works of Justin K Prim : Travel…

Justin K Prim

Written by

Gemcutter / Travel Adventurer / Lapidary Historian/ Author of The Heart of Merlin / www.justinkprim.com

Justin K Prim

The collected written works of Justin K Prim : Travel Adventurer / Gemologist / Musician / Author of The Heart of Merlin

Justin K Prim

Written by

Gemcutter / Travel Adventurer / Lapidary Historian/ Author of The Heart of Merlin / www.justinkprim.com

Justin K Prim

The collected written works of Justin K Prim : Travel Adventurer / Gemologist / Musician / Author of The Heart of Merlin

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