The history of Idrija is closely connected to the development of the mercury mine. Alongside mining, another activity was highly developed – the making of hand-made lace.

The oldest written source that mentions lace making in the Idrija region dates to the year 1696. In terms of the method of making we distinguish needle, knitted, crocheted or bobbin lace. In Idrija we make bobbin lace. It is named after specially shaped wooden sticks, called bobbins, on which thread from which we make lace is wound. The lace making skill has mainly been spread as tradition from one generation to another. An important turning point in history was the beginning of the organized teaching of lace making in the form of courses and schools. Gradually, different patterns and techniques evolved in Idrija, which gave the Idrija lace a distinctive trait.
In the second half of the 19th century, Idrija merchants penetrated the European market with Idrija lace, as a result of which the demand for qualified lace makers increased.

In 1876, the Ministry of Trade in Vienna established a lace school in Idrija, in which the first teacher was a local, Ivanka Ferjančič.