“With the beginning of perestroika many tourists invaded Nida. Most of them were immigrants from this country who came to see the land of their childhood, their parents and grandparents. They told stories how 60 years ago they collected amber and what amber brooches or beads their mothers wore. We were asked gazillion of questions about amber and to some of them we did not know the answers. Therefore, very soon books about amber with descriptions of colour and photographs as well as new objects showed up on the counter.
We started promoting professional jewellers working with amber. At the very beginning with some hesitancy professional artists started joining us. There were jewellers from Vilnius Žilvinas Bautrėnas, Vytautas Matulionis, Algis Mikutis, Birutė Stulgaitė, Ąžuolas Vaitukaitis, from Palanga Danguolė Baravykienė, from Klaipėda designer Vitalijus Milkintas and others. All of them had a different touch on amber: some of them inscripted own self, others emphasized perfection of nature.
Over 30 years a collection of exceptional items was born by adding piece by piece from Juodkrantė and Nida. The biggest piece of amber weighs more than 3 kg, there are also other valuable pieces weighing 2 kg, 1.5 and 1 kg. The collection of inclusions is in no way inferior to those of the best European museums. There are unique inclusions with a shell, a lizard and a spider “Sosybius Mizgirisi” in our collection; also rich collections of ancient artefacts made of amber, as well as natural amber drops. Restored archaeological amber jewellery and amulets from Juodkrantė’s Treasure were returned to the place they were taken from many years ago. We collected amber of different colours – blue, white, green, transparent, yellow. Besides the Baltic amber we exhibit a collection of amber from many different countries. That collection was donated by Wolfgang Weitschat, a professor of University of Hamburg Geology-Paleontology Istitute. The amber gallery of Nida and an out-door exhibition in this recreational town is part of the international project European Amber Road. In order to expand amber popularity geographically, there was a mobile exhibition “Baltic amber: the history and design” created, which consisted of four parts: historical, archaeological, modern artists’ articles and folk art. The exhibition was brought to many countries around the world: Iceland, Canada, Belgium (the project representing the culture of Middle and East European countries in European Parlament), USA (Washington and Chicago) and Italy (the Festival of Modern Arts organised by Rome – European cultural fund in Vittoriano Museum in Rome).
Our collection consist of artworks by the many artists, such as Žilvinas Bautrėnas, Jonas Balčiūnas and Vaidilutė Vidugirytė, Feliksas Daukantas, Indrė Diržienė, Nerijus Erminas, Saulius Grinius, Laima Kierienė, Vytautas Matulionis, Algirdas Mikutis, Birutė Stulgaitė, Mari Relo-Šaulys ir Adolfas Šaulys, Ąžuolas Vaitukaitis, Sigitas Virpilaitis and others.
Now that the galleries both in Nida and Vilnius and also the Art Center of Baltic Amber in Vilnius are opened, the jewellers can come and find a place for work in the Artists’ House in Nida, which was established due to revival of Herman Blode’s idea about “Mecca of Artists”, and our exhibits number in thousands, we may say that we have accomplished something in those years. And if we inspired love to amber to someone then our efforts were not vain.”
Virginija and Kazimieras Mizgiris