Jewelry Workshops in the Frame of Modern Town Life in the Western Balkans: Cases of Shkodёr (Albania), Ulcinj (Montenegro) and Prizren (Kosovo)


Till the beginning of the XXth century jewelry making was one of the most expanded crafts in the Western Balkan towns. In Shkodёr (Albania), Ulcinj (Montenegro) and Prizren (Kosovo) Albanian jewelers were consolidated into powerful esnafs (guilds) that not only possessed economical force, but also influenced social and cultural life in the town and neighborhood. The industrialization of these centers (Shkodёr, Ulcinj and Prizren) impacted a lot on various craft guilds, but jewelry workshops managed to survive, retaining skills and traditions of the Balkan school of silver filigree and resisting the rush of cheap goods from Europe and Asia. The development of jewelry craft has been in liaison with political and social processes taking course in the region. Notwithstanding the fact that during the Yugoslav period jewelers in Prizren and Ulcinj were incorporated into the cooperative craft association under the governmental control, their work was a part of market relations and depended on the “demand and supply” terms. In Communist Albania’s Shkodёr jewelers worked for the Craftsmen unions, but the assortment of goods, their price and quantity were dictated by the state. Nowadays after the disintegration of Yugoslavia and democratization of Albania jewelers proved to be competitive, keeping up the wide variety of goods and their proper quality appreciated both by citizens and seasonal tourists. Jewelry producers, though they are not numerous, can be still regarded as the influential stratum of population in Shkodёr, Ulcinj and Prizren.

DOI Code: 10.1285/i22804250v4i1p9

Keywords: jewelry; craft; Albania; Kosovo; terminology; lexica

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