The day after Christmas, St Stephan’s, still stuffed – a bunch of us sat around my friend’s kitchen table and played a few rounds of Alias, the board game in which you have to explain terms as random as “disobedience” to your teammates by using different motions and words.
Soon after, most of the crew moved over to the sofa to watch a movie, while I decided to listen to stories from the goldsmith next to me: Tomislav of Rodić Jewelers (Zlatarnice Rodić).
“So, who are your main clients?” I asked.
“The Catholic Church“, he replied, and continued: “As our main shop is located right across the Zagreb Cathedral – Bakačeva 11 – my family was commissioned to do a few projects such as a reliquary for the relics of Blessed Aloysius Stepinac as a gift for John Paul II. The collaboration kept going, along with jewelry for various occasions, of course.”
“We even worked on a piece for the relics of Saint Luke.”
Me: You created a bronze and silver container for a part of Saint Luke the Evangelist‘s body?! OMG.
You don’t meet too many young people today who build their careers in crafts that are practically extinct. Being a highly passionate person, he started drawing the gold production process on leftover paper scraps to describe his job.
“When it comes to custom-made pieces, we strive to keep the family tradition alive by offering handmade products that we put our effort, time and heart into”, explained Tomislav.
One of the best things about living in Croatia is the level of people’s spontaneity. In that spirit, within the next few days – a few of us brought our talents together and organized a photo shoot.
I was honored to try out a number of Rodić Jewelers pieces – particularly the traditional Croatian jewelry embellished with tiny corals and pearls.
above: Buttons – “Botuni” earrings, originally from Šibenik
above: Moretto – “Morčići” earrings – a symbol of the city of Rijeka, precious coral bracelet
above, below: “Konavoske” earrings from Konavle – (Dubrovnik area)
Each piece of the traditional jewelry had a special weight in the palm of my hand. It spoke to me of my forefathers, the mix of cultures that have shaped Croatia over the centuries, beautiful craftsmanship, and timeless elegance.
“So what’s the most important element of your job, besides the craft itself?”, I asked my new friend Tomislav.
“Trust is really important when working with people. You need to listen to their ideas, and of course, love what you do.”
Photos by: Jasen Čeko
Contact: Zlatarnice Rodić