There’s a new store in town that’s home to exquisite treasures from the Czech Republic and France. Morava has been given life on our shores by Linda and Nick Webster. Linda is originally from the Morava (Moravia in English) region of the Czech Republic and came to New Zealand in 2005, falling in love with both this country and Tauranga-born Nick along the way. Her parents and grandparents still live in the beautiful area.
Linda and Nick often travel back to the Czech Republic and have always bought beautiful crystal in Brno — Czech’s second largest city. One day they had a light-bulb moment and realised there was nothing like it in New Zealand, which planted the seed for Morava.
Morava first opened its doors on Teed Street, Newmarket in March and is the Auckland home of stunning lead-free crystal, extraordinary chandeliers, fine porcelain dinner sets and crystal objects d’art and jewellery. If you know your high-end brands then Moser, Preciosa, Rudolf Kämpf, Daum and Haviland might ring a bell.
What sets lead crystal apart is that it is strong, ecologically friendly and can be intricately engraved (if it contains lead it easily cracks). The designs are all handcrafted. “A single vase can take up to four months to make and a glass up to 12 weeks,” says Linda. If it’s a coloured piece it has the added impact of melted gemstones to give it its hue. For example, the blue comes from aquamarine and the brown from topaz; all of the gold trimmings are 24 carat.
“According to Moser they are the only manufacturer engraving with lead free crystal using no machinery, instead using the staff’s years of experience that’s been handed down from generation to generation,” says Nick.
There are so many incredible offerings in store. A handmade limited edition Rudolf Kämpf dinner set is a collector’s item. “They use gemstones for colour also and paint the 24-carat gold seven times over,” says Linda. “They contain so much work they can only make four dining sets a year for the entire world.”
Daum from France, which is renowned around the world for its crystal art and furniture by famous artisans, uses the very old and rare technique of molten crystal. It dates back to 5,000 years BC (those found in the tombs of Pharaohs). Long forgotten, it was rediscovered by Daum in 1900 and reworked in 1968.
Indeed, many of the pieces are limited editions, with only 8, 10, 25 or 50 pieces made globally and once they’re gone, they’re gone. Which, along with their beauty and quality, is one of the reasons they are so precious to own. It’s also why presidents and royalty favour the wares.