Czech jewellery makers hard hit by Covid-19 crisis

Czech jewellery manufacturers have been hard hit by the Covid-19 crisis. In fact, the effect of the pandemic has been more difficult for the industry than was the global financial crisis 12 years ago, says Pavel Kopáček, head of the Union of Glass and Jewellery Manufacturers.

In March, the sales of companies associated in the Union stood at 25 percent of their 2019 figures. Since then, the situation has slightly improved and they are currently down to around 40 to 50 percent of their regular sales, Mr Kopáček told Czech Radio.

The Union of Glass and Jewellery Manufacturers brings together five dozen companies, five of which have closed or suspended operations due to the Covid-19 crisis.

"Exports are improving – this is a visible trend. There is a slight improvement on the domestic market as well, with the exception of companies supplying tourist shops, which are either closed or empty,” Mr Kopáček said.

The situation this year is slightly better than in 2020, when sales fell by about a third, mainly due to a significant reduction in exports. The vast majority of jewellery and glass beads produced in the Jablonec region is traditionally destined for foreign markets.

The production of glass beads and jewellery in the Jablonec region has a 200-year-old tradition. Its position in the world was significantly shaken in 2009, when the Jablonex Group, one of the largest manufacturers of its kind in the world, ended production. It took several years for the industry to recover from the crisis.

The jewellery industry currently employs around 4,000 people in the region, which is more than 30 percent less than before the crisis.

Manufacturers are hoping that the traditional sales exhibition of glass and jewellery, Křehká krása (Fragile Beauty), due to take place in Jablonec in mid-August, will help to attract new customers and boost their sales.