Ever since Christmas Days opened for business nearly 50 years ago, European-inspired glass reflector ornaments have been among our most popular and asked for items. Ranging from the traditional images of Christmas, such as Santas and snowmen, to the unusual or off-beat, glass ornaments continue to be collected by those who want something new, or traditional, or special to themselves.
While Christmas has technically been around for about 2,000 years, the celebration of the event in something approaching its contemporary form is more recent. Read this informative article to learn more: https://www.britannica.com/topic/Christmas
Glass reflector ornaments are also fairly recent, and didn’t make their commercial appearance until the 1840s. They were first made in the German village of Lauscha, a town in the district of Sonneberg, in Thuringia, Germany. where they were often blown and silvered in a home workshop. Glassblowing was the men’s job – typically the ladies took n the silvering chores. And as was customary at the time across all kinds of professions, once the kids were old enough to help, they were expected to.
What made Lauscha the center of this trade? In the 1590s, Huguenot glass blowers were forced to flee their homes in Schwabia, a region of Germany which is now mostly divided between the modern states of Baden-Württemberg and Bavaria, in southwest Germany, due to religious persecution.
Ample forests provided the energy resources needed for their trade. Their chief products were windows, drinking glasses and beaded jewelry. However, by the 1840s stiff competition from glassblowers in nearby Bohemia threatened their ability to profitably continue with the jewelry bead business, which was their mainstay , and a new product line was needed for survival.
Faced with economic ruin, some glass blowers began experimenting and refining a craft many had pursued more for fun than profit since the 1820s or so. They began making large glass balls, which were silvered to give a brighter and shinier finish. The ornaments were a hit, and the Lauscha crafters found their economic salvation. Early glass balls were blown “free hand,” with out a mold, but the artisans soon began to use molds to increase and make their pieces more consistent. The pine cone was an early favorite; so was the pickle, an ancient symbol of good luck. Since the mid-1800s, thousands of different glass ornament designs have been introduced.
As you enter Christmas Days, you are greeted by our large 10-foot tall tree with its eclectic assortment of colorful glass ornaments. You’re sure to walk away with at least some sort of idea of where you might want to take your decorating creativity this coming Christmas (only nine months away!).