Đuro Bashota - owner
+385 (0)1 4833623
Working hours: 08:00 – 13:00, 16:00 – 20:00
"Maybe this will sound strange, but when people stick together, the turnover is higher."
O: You have a business with a long-standing tradition. What is its history?
Đuro Bashota: My grandfather and great-grandfather started this business in 1924. In 1948 it was confiscated. They took everything from them then. In that period craft trades were unstable. For example, my father worked an office job in INA in the morning and in the jewelry shop in the afternoon. But the 80's were the golden age, people had money. Demand was high and supply low. Today we have me, my daughter and one other employee working here. My brother has a shop at 69 Ilica.
O: Where can you learn the jewelry trade?
ĐB: There are schools. The three-year Trade School's jewelry program or the metal design program at the School for Applied Arts and Design. You can finish the school but the bigger problem today is getting an apprenticeship with a jeweler.
O: What is the situation with acquiring materials today?
ĐB: It is better now, it is easier to get materials. At one point during socialism, we only used gold that the customers would bring in themselves.
O: Do you have a specialty?
ĐB: We do many things. Mostly Art Deco jewelry, but also modern. We also make very nice contemporary things out of ebony.
O: What about filigree?
ĐB: We used to do it, but much less today because it is not profitable. People do not appreciate work, they just ask how many grams are in the piece. It is like if I went to buy a car and asked for a bit over a ton of car.
O: Do people still buy jewelry for special occasions?
ĐB: They do. But they used to buy engagement rings with brilliants and today it is zircons.
Daughter: When we were kids, a piece of jewelry would be given as a lasting keepsake for birthdays, First Communions or Confirmations. Today it is laptops that end up in the trash after two years and are twice the price of jewelry. Our work is devalued by the high availability of novelty jewelry and trinkets. I still have my great-grandmothers brooch, but a piece from H&M certainly is not going to last as long.
O: What are your biggest sellers?
ĐB: The Zagreb inspired collection – licitars. They are handmade, each one is unique and is hand-painted.
O: Who are your customers?
ĐB: It varies. Mostly we have our regulars. Some we even inherited from my father.
O: What are the craftsmen in Ilica like? Do they stick together?
ĐB: They do, but there are always those that want to be left alone. Maybe this will sound strange, but when people stick together, the turnover is higher.