Saphiret Glass | The History Of Saphiret Jewellery

Saphiret Glass | The History Of Saphiret Jewellery

 

One of my favourite types of jewellery I am always on the hunt for is saphiret, a rare type of glass that was produced in the town of Gablonz,  Czechoslovakia in the early part of the 20th century. Gablonz was a small town where prominent Czech jewellery makers were based including the Neiger Brothers and Heinrich Hoffman. Today the town is known as Jablonec Nad Nisou and is home to a lovely museum dedicated to the history of the jewellery factories that once stood there.
Saphiret glass has instantly recognisable distinctive colour tones that are created by fusing gold with a sapphire coloured blue glass. The technique creates a beautiful fusion of colours in varying brown and blue tones. The varying colours can be seen in the selection of pieces I have found over the past years shown in the picture above. 
The rarity of the stone is due to the high production costs it took to make.  Eventually the price of gold would become too high for production of saphiret to continue and remain profitable and so production of the stone was stopped. This is one of the main reasons saphiret is so desirable to collectors today as there is a limited amount in circulation
Despite its relatively short production period there seem to be endless variations of design when it comes to the glass. Popular early motifs included hearts, insects, carved intaglios and man in the moon faces and whilst jewellery is what usually comes to mind when thinking of the glass saphiret was also used in unusual trinkets, headpieces, photo frames, boxes and even caviar spoons. 

Pictured in the image above are a selection of early Edwardian saphiret pieces. Early saphiret stones can usually be dated by the cut of glass, stone setting and colours within the glass. Early pieces will tend to have deeper brown and blue tones, an indication of more gold in the glass. Stones were also more commonly faceted and tended to have slightly more vibrancy in colour than later stones. Motifs such as the man in the moon and carved intaglios were also only created during the early period of saphiret production.

The image above shows a selection of later 'saphiret style' pieces known as  sappharine. In the 1950s German manufacturers decided to revive saphiret by creating an imitation stone known as sappharine. Sappharine is a slightly paler version of saphiret with similar colour tones and although not always as vibrant in colour it still held the magical colour shifting properties of the much loved early saphiret stones. Many of the iconic Mid Century jewellery houses went on to use these stones in their pieces including Regency, Hobe and even Dior. 

The full history of saphiret glass still remains a slight mystery to me with many questions unanswered but as more and more people take interest in this beautiful stone I am sure its history will only expand and hopefully in the future i'll be able to write a lot more about it!

If you would like to see what saphiret pieces are currently available in the shop, please click here.

Links to all images featured in this article can be found on the Clarice Jewellery pinterest page here.

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