Christmas ornament makers in Europe have long been known to produce some of the most beautiful baubles on the market. Rich in history and vibrant in color, European glass ornaments add elegance and old-world beauty to the holiday season. In this article, we’ll share the history behind these heirloom-quality pieces as well as a list of the best ones in our collection.
The Origins of Glass Ornaments
The first written record of glass Christmas tree balls dates back to 1848. Glass ornaments were first made in Lauscha, Germany. Production began as a cottage industry, with workshops typically attached to homes. Whole families were involved in the work, the men in charge of glass blowing, and women embellishing the ornaments with silver. Children did their part as well, helping out with painting and finishing.
Initially, the ornaments were all blown without the use of a mold, in a “free hand” style. When the popularity of these fragile beauties grew, artisans developed molds to meet the increased demand. The laborious process entailed heating a glass tube, inserting the end into a clay mold, and blowing the glass into the shape of the mold.
Eventually, the rest of Germany recognized the treasures they had in the Lauscha glass ornaments, and the decorative pieces were exported to other parts of the country and later, to the rest of Europe. The artisanal ornaments were originally brought to America by F.W. Woolworth after he discovered them on a trip to Germany. Woolworth’s began importing and selling European glass ornaments in 1880.
Today, the bulk of the ornaments sold in the global market are plastic ornaments that, while still beautiful, are a far cry from the works of art that European glass ornaments represent. These hand-blown Christmas ornaments are still made using techniques passed down through generations and reflect a level of artistry that mass-produced décor cannot match.
Balsam Hill’s European Glass Ornaments
Our collection includes Poland Christmas ornaments and European-inspired glass baubles that can be displayed on their own or combined with other sets to create a dynamic holiday display. Here are some of them:
Frequently Asked Questions
Below are the answers to some of the most common questions about glass ornaments.
How are Glass Ornaments Made?
Glass ornaments are made through glassblowing, a process where molten glass is shaped, colored, and cooled to create beautiful and intricate designs. These artisanal ornaments are often sentimental and associated with traditions such as decorating Christmas trees and collecting heirlooms.
What are the Traditions Behind Glass Ornaments?
The tradition of glass ornaments originated in Germany during the 16th century. German glassblowers and artisans started creating intricate glass decorations, including ornaments shaped like animals, nuts, and fruits. These glass baubles were often hung on the branches of trees during the holiday season.
How Do You Care for Glass Ornaments?
Glass ornaments should be handled with care and kept in a padded storage bag when not in use. Avoid dropping or knocking them against hard surfaces, as they’re fragile and can break. To clean them, use a soft cloth to gently wipe away any dust or dirt.
A proud testament to European craftsmanship, our elegant baubles add style, color, and personality to any holiday display. Click the button below to see our full collection of glass ornaments.