Traditional Croatian Jewelry

Interested in traditional Croatian jewelry? Want to know about the different types of jewelry crafted in Croatia? Read our guide for more facts & information…

If you talk about European Jewelry, the names that come to mind are Swarovski, Cartier or Chopard, which dominate the market with their glitzy jewelry designs. However, these giants of the glitter world are too ‘perfect’ and flawless and that at times, leaves us all yearning from some traditional jewelry, which is unique unlike the ‘assembly line’ engineering perfection of modern jewelry designers. Croatia has just the right panacea for your jaded senses with their range of traditional Croatian jewelry.

Morčić or Moretto Jewelry of Croatia

Morčić is a traditional jewelry art form from the province of Rijeka, Croatia, which stands out for its Moorish motifs, basically a black head and a contrasting white turban figurine. This is a basic design for earrings, amulets, brooches and necklaces. This figurine of a black man denoting a wealthy oriental merchant harks back to the rich history of Croatia when men of all nationalities and race travelled to the Croatian coast.  The Morčić also called as ‘Moretto’ is made from metal with enamel coating. The richer nobles used to have their Moretto earrings made out of gold and enamel and gems such as rubies for decoration. These earrings are worn as good luck charms across the Croatian coast by men and women alike. Each province has its own variation of the Moretto, which only a local can differentiate.  A 16th century legend attributes divine providence to the victory of the Croats of Rijeka who successfully defeated the white turbaned Turks in a battle, which was later commemorated by making earrings in the shape of black men with white turbans that are now famously recognized as the Moretto.

The Zagorjean Iglica

If you go to the Zagorje region, you will find quaint traditional jewelry called ‘Iglica”, which is distinctive in its use of red coral, ‘mother of pearl’, glass, beads, feathers, gold and silver to make intricate designs. This form of traditional Croatian jewelry is famed for its delicate filigree work in silver.

Unique Jewelry from the Croatian Mountains

In the Southern Dinaric Alps, traditional jewelry is in the form of large necklaces made out of brass, silver and gold. Amongst the mountain communities, the larger the necklace, greater is the social status of the wearer. So you will find huge breast jewelry pieces that cannot be mistaken for any other variety of jewelry elsewhere in the world; it is distinctively Croatian.

The Coral Surprise from the Croatian Coast

In the coastal regions, coral necklaces of various kinds are the principal adornment of traditional Croatians. A hazel nut fruit usually is the centre piece in such coral necklaces, which denotes a prosperous harvest. The rich Croatians had hazel nut fruit pendants made out of gold, these too are available for sale on the islands of Zlarin, Mjilet and of course at Zagreb.

The Zagrebian ‘Swarovski’

The most famous jewelry store in Zagreb is “Križek. This almost 75-year old family owned store has beautiful traditional Croatian jewelry designs and each piece comes with an “originally Croatian” certificate. The jewelry is truly unique and breathtakingly beautiful. When you visit Zagreb, pay a visit to Križek and buy a choice of authentic gold and silver traditional Croatian jewelry.

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