Culture & Art 10.03.2015

If jewelry could speak …

Jewelry is a timeless testament!  to time and place, status and customs, generations and change …

The craftsmanship

The goldsmith’s craft is one of the oldest and best-known arts, appreciated well beyond the borders of the Dubrovnik Republic. Flourishing in the 14th and 15th centuries, goldsmiths created the favourite adornments of the Dubrovnik nobility, recognized for their craftsmanship in filigree details of exceptional beauty and artistry.

Created in workshops on Zlatarska (Goldsmiths’) street, their work was proudly worn and showcased throughout European courts, both as special gifts to dignitaries and as a valuable trade commodity, making gold jewelry a well-respected economic export of the Dubrovnik Republic.

The creation process was a long and arduous one; what made their jewelry so unique was the long and painstaking production process that required a steady hand, because these filigrees were made out of golden wires sometimes thinner than a hair. To created just one necklace, the master needed to string thousands of filigrees. Thus, it was a prestigious and appreciated craft, with the secrets of technique strictly guarded within families and passed on only to the next generation.
Timeless in style, the original designs have remained almost unchanged, despite the centuries and ever-changing fashions.

Jewelry is also a character witness!

of the person who created it…

…of the person who selected it, bearing someone special in mind…

… of the person who chooses to wear it…

… to treasure it…

… to make it a keepsake

Today, while searching for a special piece to call your own…

Jewelry shops today  are more randomly scattered throughout the Old Town, where you can find larger boutiques with meticulous, modern interiors and white glove service. Or, you can wander through the cobbled streets looking for small, warm family-run shops where the overcrowded shelves hide many unique pieces in plain-sight.
Keep in mind that designs greatly vary in shape; jewelry was also an integral part of a local folk costume and each region had its own signature style and form. Each piece marked a special occasion in one’s life.

Specific regional traditions include:

  • Earrings from the southern Konavle region: elegant ‘vežilice’ worn on every-day-occasions, with size depending on the age of the wearer, or exceptional filigreed ‘fjočice’ worn by brides only

  • Beautiful pair of earrings with pearls and enamel from the area of Župa Dubrovačka

  • Gold ‘rečini na bočicu’ from the north coast of Dubrovnik

  • A string necklace of filigree and red coral from the Island of Mljet

  • Dubrovnik engagement and wedding rings like ‘vera’, ‘zmijar’ and topač,

  • The most popular items  include gold or silver filigree beads or buttons known as ‘puce’ or ‘peružine’ applied on pendants, earrings.

  • Occasionally, an entire necklace or ‘kolarin’ of these elegant filigreed balls showcased the wealth of the family

Today this traditional jewelry is worn with pride not only by ladies in Dubrovnik, but also their guests from all over the world, including dignitaries and celebrities such as Queen Rania of Jordan, actors Gillian Anderson or Morgan Freeman, who, attracted by the beauty of design, chose to make a piece of Dubrovnik history their special keepsake.

Happy searching!


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