Czech jewellery brand Belda celebrates 100 years with a new generation of talent
Now in its fourth generation, the Belda jewellery company got its start in 1915 when founder Ladislav Belda emigrated to the US and established Czechoslovak Beads & Co in Manhattan. Then focused on bijoux, today this longstanding family company – with a flagship shop in Prague’s centre – is an icon on the Czech design scene, known for its handmade, limited edition collections that offer a sculptural, often stark, aesthetic and a simultaneously timeless and contemporary design.
Behind its striking bracelets, brooches, necklaces, earrings and rings is Jiri Belda Jr (grandson of Ladislav), Alena Beldova and the newest generation: their daughter Viktorie. Mr Belda, who is behind the majority of the handiwork, took the helm from his father, Jiri Belda Sr, who today observes from the sidelines at the Belda Factory in Turnov, where his father established a company hub on his return to the country in the 1920s.
Celebrating their centenary in 2015, Belda’s recent ’Cesky Raj’ collection pays tribute to the area: a beautiful part of the country, which translates as ’Czech Paradise’. Featuring nature-inspired motifs and stones typical of the region, the collection began with a silver brooch in the shape of a twig, speckled with garnets. ‘The idea was my mother’s,’ says Viktorie. ‘We then took this idea and made the collection more abstract.’
Working mainly in silver, within which precious stones are inset, Belda’s design inspiration in general varies from materials to techniques to shapes. In the past, the company has commissioned pieces from some of the Czech Republic’s leading names in design, architecture and art, including London-based Czech architect Eva Jiricna, Maxim Velcovsky and David Cerny. This year the family company will introduce a men’s collection, created in collaboration with local design studio Vrtiska Zak. ’Cesky Raj’ recently earned Belda a nomination for a Czech Grand Design Award – the country’s most prestigious design accolade.