ĐURO BASHOTA INTERVIEW
BASHOTA GOLDSMITH FAMILY HAS BEEN CREATING JEWELRY SINCE 1924. CAN YOU TELL US MORE ABOUT YOUR ARTISAN FAMILY HISTORY?
The Bashota jewelry was founded in Prizren in 1924 by brothers Anton and Đuro Bashota. After expansion throughout the Adriatic coast, in 1940 we opened our first Bashota goldsmith shop in Zagreb. We changed several locations and in 1952 we opened the shop in Ilica 37 – the same one you can see today!
We have been at the same location for over 60 years and we think that’s pretty amazing! At the beginning, the shop was run by Đuro Bashota and his sons Nicholas and Rudolf. In 1978 we opened the second shop in Ilica 69. Today, all three jewelry shops, two in Zagreb and one in Crikvenica, are run by the third generation of the Bashota family, sons of Nicholas Bashota – Đuro, Gian and Robert. And I can proudly say that the fourth generation is actively involved in the development and operation of this craft.
YOU ARE WELL KNOWN FOR CREATING TRADITIONAL JEWELRY TYPICAL FOR THIS REGION. WHAT KIND OF TRADITIONAL JEWELRY DO YOU MAKE?
Besides the standard offer of Croatian traditional jewelry, such as Moretto the symbol of Rijeka and filigree jewelry of Dalmatia, we felt the need to create jewelry that would be recognized in this region as well. Over time we have designed jewelry inspired by typical gingerbread heart (known as Licitar Heart), old wooden toys and other elements of Zagreb’s regional cultural heritage, offering more than 50 different motifs recognized as souvenirs of Zagreb and its surroundings. We were awarded for that collection the first prize and the audience prize at the 13th Triennial Zagorje souvenirs.
TRADITIONAL JEWELRY IS POPULAR AGAIN. WHY DO YOU THINK THIS IS SO? WHAT TYPE OF JEWELRY PEOPLE PREFER BUYING?
We are one of the oldest jewelry stores in Zagreb, our customers cherish our family tradition and handmade jewelry for which we are known. The most popular jewelry in our store is inspired by so-called gingerbread hearts. All the heart pendants are handmade, manually painted, unique and different in its own way. Besides traditional jewelry, tourists also love Adriatic coral jewelry from which we produce both classical and modern pieces. We are very pleased that our customers recognize the uniqueness of the handmade work we do, in which we invest lots of labor and love, which gives us the motivation to continue following our path.