The word Bohemian is an ancient word that dates back to 600 BC. The territory that is now the Czech Republic was once the settlement of a Celtic tribe the Romans called the Boi, living in a territory they named ‘Bohemia’.
The modern day connotation of the word "Bohemian" dates back to a revolt in the early 1400's against the corruption of the Catholic Church. Jan Hus was burned at the stake for heresy, sparking the beginning of the Hussite Revolution, 100 years before Martin Luther nailed his similar edicts to the cathedral door. This image of Bohemian "non-conformity" lasted for over 600 years and has often been ascribed to many people and things with nothing in common with the Czech Republic. Once the seat of the Holy Roman Empire, today, Prague sits proudly today as one of the Grandest Cities in all of Europe.
Instead of using hippies, our factories employ the world's finest craftsmen in the art of glass production. The villages they live in grew up in spread along ancient trading routes that carried Czech Glass to the entire world. It is not unusual for a worker to have more than 25 Generations of crystal craftsmen in their family making Czech Republic unrivaled in the production of lead free glass and Crystal, invented glass cutting, enamel overlay, stained glass production in the Eggerman style, as well as numerous other production methods for the manufacturing of glass and crystal.
“If it is Bohemian there is no question that it is an item of outstanding quality.”
Why do I hear more about French and Italian crystal than Czech?
"Bohemian" crystal -- Bohemia is the old name for the Czech lands (and still the name of the western region), a part of Europe prominent in the glass trade since the 12th century. Its reputation stood above all others until 1938 when Hitler invaded, then through to the end of the war.
After the WW2 the communists came and forty years of Iron Curtain communism all but destroyed the Czech international reputation, churning out an export crystal of little artistic interest. Artistry was never a big thing under communism. Even so, the traditional craft remained, gritting its teeth and waiting for better times.
Since the Velvet Revolution of 1989, glass plants and factories have been restituted to their original owners and many new businesses began, bringing back the art and the craft of fine crystal. The sheer joy of that artistic freedom is evident in the pride of a restored craft -- A Renaissance.