I'm interested in finding a jeweler in Krakow that can create a custom amber piece for my wife on our 35th wedding anniversary. We'll be hitting Krakow with an RS Tour shortly before the date so I thought maybe I could get something made and pick it up while we're there.
teekaymn, I hope you get more responses. I don't know if they do custom work, but we shopped at the Julius Schubert jewelry stores in both Warsaw and Krakow, and thought they were a cut above what you could find in the street market and other stores. If you google for the InYourPocket -Krakow website, there are shopping guides that will list more places. Good restaurant info there as well
How were you envisioning working with a jeweler and transmitting your preferences for the piece? Are you going to be able to meet with someone ahead of time and then have enough time for them to do the work before you pick it up? I think this will be difficult to accomplish unless you're already on the ground and have flexibility with time (it could take several iterations to get what you want).
You will see more amber jewelry stores than you'll want in Poland. Most of them will sell stuff that all looks the same. I think your best bet is to go to a gallery that produces artist pieces (and price tags to match) as opposed to the commodity stuff you'll see everywhere. While it won't be a true "custom" piece based on your specifications, you can still find something very unique at an upscale gallery. I have some amber pieces that don't even look like amber because the color and cut is rather unusual. I've seen nice galleries in Warsaw and Krakow, so they shouldn't be too hard to find. Here is one example (sorry, the website is quite annoying):
Agnes's suggestion makes sense to me. I'm an inveterate browser in craft galleries, and I've seen wonderful, seemingly one-of-a-kind, pieces of jewelry in such venues. Any purchase you can't walk away with entails at least a bit of risk. Just within the last week or so we had a post from someone who made a purchase (I think in Italy) and received the wrong/cheaper goods in the mail after returning home. (In the past, at least, there were occasional reports of high-end goods being swapped in a shop while the customer was waiting for them to be packaged to carry away, so you can't be too careful with things like this.)
Thanks for the replies everyone -- greatly appreciated! Since our travel date is far enough away I was hoping to work via email with a shop/gallery that could customize a piece between now and travel time, and then I'd pick it up while we're in Krakow for 2 nights. I just sent an email off to Schubert Jewelers, so we'll see what I get back from them. Another option would be to just buy a really nice piece and have it customized back here in the states when we get home.
I was totally overwhelmed by the amber shops in Warsaw--didn't see as much in Krakow--but kept at it until I found a shop that featured unique gallery designs and bought a lovely cuff bracelet with scrolled sterling work that I wear often, definitely money well-spent. I'm curious to hear how the custom work goes for you, but remember that just picking out a piece together can make it a special memento of your trip.