Dom Marina Drzica Brings Dubrovnik’s Identity into 21st Century

Lauren Simmonds

A wise person once said that the identity of a person, or indeed of a place, changes with the way reality is perceived.

The complaints from both disillusioned residents and tourists about cheap Chinese plastic being sold throughout Dubrovnik have been coming in thick and fast for a long time. 20kn fridge magnets and deformed looking dolphin keychains are not only cheap and tacky, but incredibly insulting. With all due respect to certain southern Spanish resorts (i.e Benidorm and the Costa del Sol) who have for decades enjoyed their streets being decorated in thrown-together ”with love from Spain” items which are actually, of course, from China, such items should not be being sold in a place like Dubrovnik.

What with the aforementioned deformed dolphins, Game of Thrones and Star Wars explosion in the Old City, it isn’t surprising that Dubrovnik and the people in it are beginning to ask what direction the city is going in. Is this Dubrovnik, the UNESCO World Heritage site? The place which had clean running water as London bathed in its own sewage? The place that set the European human rights ball rolling by being the first to condemn and criminalise slavery? The city twinned with Vukovar as a hero city, for which many lost their lives or are is this the entirely fictional ”Kings Landing”?

Thankfully, Dom Marina Drzica (The House of Marin Drzic), a tiny place with a big heart, which for a very long time has fought against the endless dumbing down of Dubrovnik through art, culture and the love of local history, has come up with a truly wonderful idea that brings Renaissance Dubrovnik directly into the modern era.

Many, many years ago, Dubrovnik’s very own Shakespeare, Marin Drzic pawned a certain group of belongings in his private property, among which there was a precious gold ring adorned with a beautiful red stone. Dom Marina Drzica succeeded in obtaining an extremely rare Renaissance era gold ring containing a natural, uncut smoothed ruby. Although expensive, such rings were a favourite piece of jewellery for both men and women back in the Renaissance period.
The silent symbols of social status and power, they were worn according to the established rules of that period and quite often, several of them were placed on the same finger. In addition, the widespread belief in the magical powers of precious stones played a major role in daily life, and the most deeply desired among all the stones was the irreplaceable and unmistakeable red ruby.
In the 15th and the first half of the 16th century the technology for faceting precious stones remained unknown, so they were inserted into the golden jewellery so that their surface was smoothed and rounded using an old technique called “cabochon”.

Despite the abundantly rich and glorious cultural history of the city of Dubrovnik and its flourishing Renaissance period in the 15th and 16th century, such Renaissance jewellery has generally not been preserved, and unfortunately such items are very rarely seen or exhibited in local museums.

Your chance to own ”Marin Drzic’s ring” and own a part of the soul of Dubrovnik, not Kings Landing, not Naboo, and certainly not China is a rare one indeed. Don’t let this unique opportunity pass you up if you are in the city! You can view the rings and everything else Dom Marina Drzica has in the heart of the Old City, at Široka ulica. 7, 20000, Dubrovnik.


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