An introduction to Adriatic Jewellery history

The content of this post comes courtesy of the Ethnographic Museum in Split; a second post on jewellery on the Dalmatian Hinterland will follow next week.

The area this post relates to is the coastal southern part of Croatia, which offers a Mediterranean climate and Mediterranean cultural influences.  The area being refers to stretches from Istria to the southern borders of Dubrovnik.

The colourful political history of this area, and its’ variety of cultural influences can be seen reflected in the jewellery of the region.  The closest and most direct influences coming
via the sea from Venice and a Venetian style can also be seen in architectural influences
in the region.

The people of this region tended to wear less jewellery than people from other regions but that was worn was made from expensive materials and was made with skills and artistic components unlike that of other areas.

Beside the use of, often gilt, bronze and silver the most common jewellery was made from gold. Golden artefacts made using a filigree or granulation technique were often decorated with coral or pearls. While artefacts made using casting method were decorated with inserted pearls, precious and semi-precious gemstones.

Photo taken at Museum in Split - no history of ring

There appears to be no jewellery that is directly related to traditional dress, and any trace of home manufactured jewellery is very rare.  An Adriatic traditional jewellery inventory consists of independent pieces made in the workshops in the urban centres of Rijeka, Zadar, Sibenik, Trogir, Split and Dubrovnik.  The jewellers or goldsmiths initials are found on the backside of any such pieces of jewellery.  The initials show a responsibility for the quality in the manufacturers work and enable pieces to be traced to the area and workshop they would have been made in.

Whilst I am sure there is more to this story this is all I have found to date, I would love to hear from you if you know more about the jewellery of this region or can direct me to additional research.

How we create our stunning filigree balls – part 1


A question on our facebook page this morning ( prompted me to add descriptions to all the photos in our ‘Action at Seba Dizajn album, something I had been meaning to do for sometime – thanks Bryce for your question.

Part way through I realised I was writing a short jewellery making story and have decided to share it here in a little more detail.  The photo to the left was taken in our store (Seba Dizajn), in Croatia earlier this summer.  This photo shows Adolf Seba (aka Doka) heating silver coils, when silver is heated it becomes softer and easier to work with.

To create the filigree beads or balls a frame-work is shaped from the silver wire;

Shaping the framework for a Seba Dizajn bead

Frames ready for soldering

The floral shaped framework is then soldered together.


A very fine silver wire is used to create the various patterns seen in our beads – each is unique, although a popular pattern can be repeated and we often create a pair of beads to be used for earrings.

A pattern is forming
Another step closer - these photos show work on a bespoke bead, our customer requested a heart to feature in her bead.

I hope you are beginning to see some of the work that goes into creating each of our beads, this is going to be a four part post.  Remember you can subscribe to our blog in the box at the top right.  And if you don’t want to wait for the next installment head over to our facebook page where you can see these photos and more in our ‘Action at Seba Dizajn’ Album – please hit the LIKE button while you are there.

If you have any questions about our jewellery making please leave them below and I will reply to you.

See you next time, Ruth

The Ultimate Challenge – Day 1

I feel a little deceptive with the title, like maybe I should be off to summit Everest without oxygen or porters – not this week! I have instead signed up for a new blog challenge, I enjoyed participating in the last one (via Nikki Pilkington) so much that I thought I should try another… why not?

The Ultimate Challenge requires that I write something for our blog EVERY day this month, I haven’t seen our introductory email yet and as we are about to close the shop for the day I thought I would make a start anyway.

Interestingly I have noticed that my most popular posts to date have generally not been related to our filigree jewellery business. I hope that will change when I start to capture some of the family history of filigree making – approximately 500 years to capture, can’t wait to start on that.  My father in law will hopefully be back here in Korcula with us in December and I hope to make a start on the historical stuff then.

To date my most popular post has been ‘My Mum’s’ – maybe I sound like I am from some dysfunctional up bringing and jumped round a lot of homes/Mums… Hopefully no-one was too disappointed to find am just a regular girl with a fantastic Mum in New Zealand and now a newish mother-in-law here in Croatia.

Please let me know what YOU would like me to blog about, I would love to hear from you.  30 new topics? Re-visit some old favourites? There are so many options and I look forward to sharing my progress in this new Challenge with you.

On summit of Kalar Pattar (5,500m) November 2009



Who is sewing your sequins?

At Seba Dizajn we know who sewed on our sequins and knitted our hats, we are proud to be supporting Fair Trade producers in Nepal.  We have had quite a lot of customers commenting on our scarves and bags not being made in Croatia. It is hard to keep everyone happy! We are yet to find Croatian made textiles to stock in our shop, but we only opened our store in June and our search for fabulous Croatian made products continues.

My previous job was based in the highlands of Scotland where I managed a small Fair Trade company that sourced, and continues to source, all of its products in Nepal.  Doka and I had talked about stocking only Croatian made goods alongside of the stunning filigree jewellery that he is producing in the store, it was a joint decision to support Nepal and Fair Trade and stock products from Nepal.

Nanu, Pemela & Mango Shobu, Kathmandu November 2009

We stand by our decision and hope that in time there will be growth in awareness of Fair Trade here in Croatia.  I have seen Fair Trade candles in the Kozmo store here but no other ‘Fair Trade’ recognised products – yet…


What is your favourite Fair Trade product?

Fabulous Friends & Filigree

“A friend is one who walks in when others walk out”

-Walter Winchell

I have been contemplating what to write that might appeal to our readers; jewellery or something else?

To date my ‘something else’ posts have been the most popular so I am going to go with another one of those today and maybe try to alternate jewellery:non jewellery posts after this.  Let’s see what happens!

So, I have decided  to write something to thank all our friends who have been so supportive of our endeavours to date, be it a LIKE on our facebook page and feedback on photos there, a jewellery purchase or a voice on the phone/Skype.  Thanks! It means a lot to both Doka and I to know we have the support of our friends and families.

Having recently moved to Croatia to start a new business with my husband and still knowing very little Croatian, I am finding myself spending more time on-line than ever before. The majority of this time has been focused on this blog or our new facebook page, (SebaDizajn) and learning about how I can use social media to promote our business.  Most recently I have opened a Twitter account to help spread the Seba Dizajn word on a new level – you can click on the links at the side of the blog to join us on Twitter or Facebook if you are interested.

I have found a strong and supportive network of on-line friends, many of whom I have not yet met but their help and encouragement warms my heart.  How nice to find people so willing to help when they don’t even know us.

I grew up in New Zealand and although I left home 12 years ago I still have many good friends there, we may not get to see each other but when we do it’s the best thing.  The internet allows some of us to catch up more often than others, yet there are many who I have no regular contact with and that’s ok too.  We will and do meet again and pick up right where we left off, magic!

This is a group of friends from my University years who gathered together in March this year to help us celebrate our recent wedding in Croatia – this is at the NZ version of the celebrations.

I have lived away from NZ for 12 years, although I am not sure how this happened! I left in 1999 for a year or two, with a visa to work in Canada and an onwards ticket to the UK to and a visa to work there for two years.  Now I’m married and living in Croatia! The latter two pieces were not part of the puzzle when I left home – I am not even sure I would have been able to locate Croatia on the map when I left NZ in 1999.

My two years in the UK somehow turned in 10 part time years, managing a Fair Trade business based in the highlands of Scotland where my passion for Fair Trade grew and flourished with the opportunity to travel regularly to Nepal and meet artisans there.

I feel so blessed to have been able to meet so many wonderful people in my travels and know that I now have friends scattered around the globe who mean so much to me. You are constantly in my thoughts, this short piece is dedicated to all of

Thanks for being a part of my life, can’t wait to meet with you again!