There are many ways of dressing your Christmas tree, some people choose themes for their decor and co-ordinate their ornaments with that theme. Other just go with the favorites and maybe add some new ornaments each year. Whichever way you choose to decorate your house at Christmas you will almost certainly have glass Christmas tree ornaments as part of your collection. Some of us have vintage glass Christmas ornaments, but most will have some form be it an icicle or an old bauble or possibly even a German hand painted glass Christmas ornament. Glass is so lovely for the tree it glistens and reflect the lights so well and it always looks great with the string lights draped around the tree.
Interestingly glass ornaments have been part of the Christmas tradition for many many years. Although these days most Christmas ornament balls are made of plastic. Glass came to be used during the 1840s when glass makers began experimenting with glass shapes. At first balls were hand blown into the bauble shape, later they blew the glass into molds to make all sorts of different shapes. The mold would be made of clay and have lots of painstaking details added to it, the glass would be heated in a tubular form.When the glass was at the proper temperature then the heated section of the tube would be placed through the mold and blown until the glass filled the mold, when removed the glass would be the same shape as the mold. Around this time it was discovered a silvering technique that allow the glass to appear solid and reflective. When the shaped glass be it bauble or molded shape had cooled slightly the silver nitrate would be added to it until it coated the inside of the glass. Thus the original glass ball. Then after the glass had cooled it would be hand painted to be a Santa or teddy bear etc.
Lead Crystal Ornaments
The most prized glass ornaments today are made of lead crystal. Lead crystal is glass that has be altered by adding lead oxide to it, this make the glass harder, so it can be machined to make facets. It is the facets that make the reflections that make crystal so appealing. Swarovski was one of the leading proponents of this type of crystal and it still so today. The star is the most popular form of crystal Christmas ornament and Waterford and Swarovski make annual editions of them every year. Most of the large crystal making companies produce ranges just for Christmas and many of them are collectors items and appreciate in value each year.
In the arts and crafts world clear glass Christmas ornaments are also a novelty especially if they are decorated with gold, this makes them especially opulent, but fragile, not for the children to handle.
There are many large companies that make glass Christmas ornaments including Swarovski, Waterford, Orrefors, Kosta Boda, Lalique, Baccarrat, Stuart and Nambe.
So if you haven’t already go and get a glass Christmas ornament for your tree this year.