Named after the former Kingdom of Bohemia, comprising of a region that includes present-day Czechoslovakia and surrounding areas, Bohemian Glass or Crystal is a reference to a number of collectibles that consist of Glass or Crystal made in these countries. Although the name Bohemia as the name for this region was officially abolished in 1918, the term Bohemian continues to be applied to wares made in that style even today.
Bohemian Glass is considered to be of high quality and comes with the guarantee of a very long tradition in glass & crystal making by numerous companies. Most Bohemian crystal items are unmarked, but are characterized by their distinctly brilliant use of strong and vibrant colors, such as ruby & cranberry red, emerald green, opaque white, citrine yellow, amethyst and many others - but the most distinguishing and prominent feature is their Cut to Clear designs and patterns, some in the form of starbursts or clean geometric lines & shapes. This special decorative effect is the outcome of expert work by skilled artisans, who first overlay the glass or crystal in a certain color and then cut away shallow, but sharp impressions, using a glass cutting wheel by hand. The overall aesthetic result is imposing and clearly visible from afar, as for example, when one approaches a table adorned with Bohemian crystal goblets. Encrusted or applied decorative features, and some in a manner similar to cameos, are also often observed on Bohemian glassware, especially vases, and many are gilt.
Bohemian glass comes in all sorts of shapes. Decanters, perfume bottles, stemware, ashtrays, serving dishes & platters, bowls, decorative vases, glass lamps, and lately even glass jewelry are among the most familiar functional or objets d'art of Bohemian origin. In general, Cut-to-Clear items tend to be thicker and somewhat heavier than most of their counterparts made of ordinary crystal. For this reason, they seem to be more durable and with a little care, can last for generations, even if used frequently. Interestingly, Bohemian stemware or serving pieces do not have to be a set of one color or design. Frequently, their stark individuality and contrast works well in groups and acts almost as an ornamental enhancement to a table spread.
Appraisal values for Bohemian Glass & Crystal are consistently favorable. Size, condition and unusual shapes & colors are the most important factors that determine their worth. Most examples, are highly collectible and resilient when it comes to passing fashions or trends. The classic Bohemian look in crystal seems to be always in vogue and commands competitive bidding at auction, fetching high prices.
Below are some examples of Bohemian Glass & Crystal sold at auction from our Pricing Guides database.