In the last century, glass factories were thriving in the Karkonosze Mountains, making the region the main crystal glass center in Poland. Over time, however, glassmaking traditions began to die out. To this day, only one place remains to carry the history of this craft in the region: Huta Julia (Julia Glassworks). The history of this unique European cut glass manufacturer in Poland dates back to 1842 and is linked to two German glass and crystal factories: the Josephine glassworks from Szklarska Poreba and the Fritz Heckert glassworks from Piechowice. Uninterruptedly for more than one hundred and fifty years, Julia has combined the best craftsmanship, based on traditional technology, experience and modern solutions. "I came to the Huta Julia because I dreamed about it. I knew that we had the last crystal glass factory in Poland, and I thought it would be worthwhile to speak out about its heritage," recalls Anna Orska, who for several months in the hospitable walls of the manufactory learned about the craft and designed the Julia jewelry collection.
Working on the latest jewelry collection was a great challenge from the very beginning - wooden molds for creating glassware turned out to be too large for preparing small jewelry parts. Therefore, special hoops made of metal were created in the ORSKA workshop. Glassmakers poured single drops of liquid glass at 1,200 degrees Celsius into them, admitting that working with such small objects required great precision. After cooling, the glass pieces went into an annealer, and were then decorated with a special cut. Anna adapted individual fragments of the most popular patterns and combined them to create completely new motifs. Usually, ornament makers at the Huta Julia (Julia Glassworks) match the cut to the mold, leveling out minor imperfections and air bubbles that accidentally solidified in the glass. In the Julia jewelry collection, it is the cut that defines the form and gives it meaning. "For us, working with Anna Orska is a subversive act of creating crystal forms. We reverse the traditional process and focus on very small forms that we have never worked on. - says Agnieszka Browarny, President of Huta Julia, and adds - “It's also the great forward thinking that Anna brings. About the new definition of crystal forms, about combining the old with new technologies. It's a very creative redefinition for us."
Once solidified, crystal glass is heavier and more durable than traditional glass, and thanks to the addition of lead oxide, it impressively disperses light when polished. Deep polishing, engraving and cutting make the crystal stand out with rich ornamentation, spectacular brilliance and sparkle with many colors. Making perfect glass requires not only patience, but also perfect precision. One glass, vase or decanter passes through 25 pairs of hands, so the heart of the glassworks is the people. "The glassmakers and decorators are truly amazing: tenacious, very talented and passionate. I am extremely grateful for this adventure. I was shown the process, allowed to learn about the raw material. This is creation through learning in its pure form. In the work of a designer, this is very important." - says the designer.
The Julia collection gives new meaning to traditional crystal glass, which is classically associated with sumptuous tableware and family heirlooms. ORSKA metaphorically takes it from the cupboard to the dressing room and turns it into an everyday object. The motif of feasting is still present in the collection, but has been adapted to new circumstances. The jewelry forms emphasize the celebration of fleeting moments of joy. They encourage us to release the glass from behind the display case and enjoy it in everyday life.
The crystal components were framed in the ORSKA workshop in gold-plated brass forms. In this way, several designs of long necklaces with striking pendants, large rings and a stiff bracelet were created, whose main decoration are elements made of faceted or polished crystal glass. The collection is complemented by jewelry made entirely of gold-plated metal, which is inspired by the ornamentation of traditional crystalware, which is based on a large number of fine cuts. ORSKA arranged the delicate facets in rows and made them the main ornamental motif of the collection.