Bohemian crystal, luxurious costume crystal lighting, Czech marionettes, baroque garnet jewelry and history art paintings inspired by the Austro-Hungarian Empire


Naples, FL: (October 24, 2019) . . . The intricate double-headed eagle insignia in the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy crest on the glass entry to the new Monarch Gallery welcomes and transports people to the majesty of Old Europe on 5th Avenue South in Naples.           

“We want to bring a little bit of Old Prague to Southwest Florida,” says gallery owner Jaja Verner, who with husband Andrew and four year old son Theo, relocated to Naples from Prague last year bringing with them an extensive knowledge of Bohemian crystal, crystal lighting design, garnet jewelry, marionettes and much more.

Prague is mostly famous for being the capital of Czech Republic, and is often called the heart of Europe with its well-preserved baroque architecture. It is a city that was all but sealed off to western visitors until 1989 when the velvet revolution swept the former communist regime from power. Mrs. Verner notes that American tourists are the largest foreign group visiting Prague and many are interested in authentic Bohemian crystal.

The couple opened The Monarch Gallery at 612 5th Avenue South, overhauling and combining the former locations of Lady from Haiti and Tropic Real Estate, fashioning a new 1,200 square foot art gallery with its idiosyncratic collection of novelties, art and curios, all hand-picked and curated by the Verners.

“It’s easy to choose the best location,” says co-owner Andrew Verner. “There is no better location in Naples than 5th Avenue South. It was very hard and took a long time to get this space, but we are finally here and we are very excited and grateful. We love it here,” adds Jaja Verner. 

The new Monarch Gallery’s primary focus is on luxurious costume crystal indoor lighting including a wide selection of crystal chandeliers, crystal floor and table lamps, spotlights, wall scones and much. Additionally, The Monarch Gallery is a preeminent crystal lighting design resource for architects, designers, contractors and homeowners requiring /seeking sumptuous crystal indoor lighting and fixtures for a high-end interior look in their homes and commercial (condominium, office, hotel and restaurant) projects.

“Our selection consists of both traditional and modern chandeliers made exclusively from Bohemian crystal. While most of our chandeliers are made completely of crystal, we also offer fixtures with metal arms,” explains Mr. Verner, adding the

Gallery benefits from a catalog with over 500 types of chandeliers ranging in size to 30 feet and suitable for three level residences.

“To be called a pure and real Bohemian crystal, it must contain 24% lead oxide which makes crystal heavier than Bohemian glass. When you hold a Bohemian crystal up to light, it should result in “multiple rainbows” because the lead content increases the light refraction properties,” explains Mr. Verner. “It’s like looking into hundreds of prisms simultaneously and only available in the Czech Republic. All our crystal is mouth-blown and hand-cut. We do not sell machine-made products,” he explains.

The Monarch Gallery also carries high quality marionettes made by professional

Czech artisans, handmade crystal stemware, glassware, crystal bowls and plates, candlesticks, decorative crystal figurines, crystal chess sets, handmade garnet gems jewelry and oil paintings including portraits, landscapes and street scenes from Old Europe.    

Czech Crystal Chandeliers

At the turn of the 16th and 17th century, Bohemia became the world center of crystal glass production. The original crystal contained a high volume of sodium oxide that was used as a smelter. This simplified the crystal production but the glass had relatively low hardness. Therefore carving couldn't be used for decorating glass products, although this was the main technique used in rock crystal processing.

Bohemian glass is a symbol of quality, craftsmanship, unique style, and beauty. Pure colorless glass called "Bohemian crystal" produced at that time in Bohemia was ideal for engraving and cutting and it was superior to other crystal glass for more than one century. A hundred years later it was discovered that adding lead oxide markedly improved the crystal's optical qualities. That is how leaded crystal originated and spread all over the world.

Czech crystal chandeliers are a sign of refined taste, wealth and nobility and they became as prestigious as expensive jewelry. The glitter of Czech crystal chandeliers enhances the brilliance of castles and palaces; it illuminates parliaments, governmental residences, universities, concert halls, cathedrals and temples across the globe. Czech crystal chandeliers hang in Milan's La Scala, Rome's Royal Opera, in Versailles, in the Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg and in the residence of King Ibn Saud in Riyadh.

Bohemian Garnet Jewelry

Czech garnet is very unique thanks to its fiery red color and cannot be found anywhere other than in the Czech Republic mines. It is considered the national jewel of the Czech Republic. The Monarch Gallery’s exclusive garnet sets are all handmade by artisans. With each item, gallery supplies “Certificate of genuine Czech jewel” and the garnets bear G or G1 mark of authenticity.

The collection includes stickpins, necklaces, earrings, brooches and garnet gems embedded in crystal plates and bowls. A limited reproduction of the garnet brooch given to Queen Elizabeth, Michele Obama, Madeleine Albright and other heads of state from Czech Republic is also available.

Czech Marionettes

Marionettes first came to Bohemia in the late 1600s. They are popular and play an important role in Czech culture. They are traditionally hand-carved from wood or made from plaster and represent all kinds of characters from kings, princesses, angles and fairies to clowns, jesters, wizards, warlocks and witches.

Using traditional hand carving and hand costuming with fine attention to detail, Monarch Gallery’s bespoke marionettes are first class in puppetry worldwide. Each creation is a perfectly balanced original detailed piece of art. The face is carefully hand painted with realistic clothing and hair. Many of these beautiful, elaborately carved Czech marionettes have moveable eyeballs and tongues.

“To be able to balance the puppet, the artist must find the center of gravity and attach strings in a perfect way, honoring the rules of jointing, balancing and anatomical accuracy,” explains Mr. Verner. “Marionettes are used to learn patience and are often used in therapy to teach movement,” adds Mrs. Verner. “They’re also a puppet that is so easy to play with. You can play roughly with your puppet and you won't wreck it,” he promises.

Actually it's the other way round! The more emotion you give to your puppet, the more special it becomes and it will be written on its face forever.

The Monarch Gallery at 612 5th Avenue South (adjacent to Naples Soap Company) is open daily 11 am until 6 pm. Online or call (941) 402-6693 for more information.


About 5th Avenue South Business Improvement District

The 5th Avenue South Business Improvement District (BID) was established in 2010 to promote Naples’ Historic Main Street through avenue enhancement, marketing, events and business and property services. Its mission is to brand, promote and create awareness of the 5th Avenue South Business Improvement District to residents and visitors as the destination of choice to live, work, shop, dine and play. Managed by a board of directors representative of district boundaries, the BID represents the interests of both property owners and businesses in growing and sustaining a healthy, vibrant 5th Avenue South district. The BID is located at 649 5th Avenue S and can be reached at (239) 692-8436.