The holidays are a magical time filled with meaningful traditions, bringing families and friends together to celebrate and create lasting memories. As you deck your halls this season, consider adding some hand-blown glass ornaments to your decor for a touch of timeless beauty and artistry.
Hand-blown glass ornaments have a rich history dating back to the 1800s in Europe, when skillful glass blowers carefully crafted gorgeous Christmas baubles that were cherished and passed down through generations. Today, these ornaments are still made using similar technique and care, making them a special part of holiday decorating.
In this article, we’ll highlight the top five hand-blown glass ornaments on the market and provide helpful tips on how to select the perfect ones to adorn your Christmas tree, garlands, tablescapes and more. Read on to embrace the creativity and nostalgia of glass ornament making this holiday season!
Intricate Flower Ornament
The first eye-catching ornament on our list comes from acclaimed glass artist Josie Maran. Known for her vibrant use of color and realistic floral detailing, this ornament depicts a beautiful poinsettia in rich shades of crimson, pink and green. Meticulous hand-painted brushstrokes bring the petals and leaves to life. Tiny gold accents are added to mimic the plant’s inner stamen and outer bracts.
Made of high-quality, lead-free glass, this ornament measures 3 inches in diameter and weighs just 60 grams, making it sturdy yet suitable for hanging on delicate tree branches. The smooth, spherical shape fits nicely in the palm of your hand. The attached gold cap hanger completes the upscale look.
Creating these colorful, nature-inspired ornaments has been Josie’s passion for over 15 years. She expertly captures the essence of flowers and foliage in her glass artwork. This poinsettia design is one of her signature pieces that’s available every holiday season. Each one is signed on the reverse side.
Priced at $34, this hand-crafted keepsake makes a meaningful gift and family heirloom. Display it proudly on your tree or use it as a centrepiece decoration on your holiday table.
Nostalgic Santa Ornament
Capture the spirit of Christmas past with this vintage European-style Santa ornament handcrafted by gifted father-and-son team Carl and Davis Jingle.
With its nostalgic design, brilliant color and fine details, this ornament evokes the traditional German glass ornaments of the late 1800s. Santa’s wise, kind deportment resembles 19th century depictions, including his snowy side-swept beard, rosy red cheeks and fur-trimmed hat and coat.
Skilled artistry brings Santa to life, from the hand-painted brushstrokes on his beard to the three-dimensional glass ball resting in his hands, representing a snow globe. Tiny glass holly leaves and berries accent the top of the ornament.
The smooth, substantial feel attests to the superlative craftsmanship. Weighing 80 grams and measuring 4 inches tall, this Santa ornament has the old-world look and first-rate quality to become a family heirloom you’ll cherish for years.
Each one takes 3 days to complete by hand at the Jingle’s Oregon workshop. They oversee every step from glass blowing to paint application and finishing touches. This allows for gorgeous ornaments made the traditional way.
At $45, this well-crafted Santa is perfect for collectors and makes a thoughtful holiday gift. Hang it prominently on your tree or display it on a mantel or tabletop to evoke Christmas magic.
Swirled Blue Glass Ornament
Add brilliant color to your holiday decor with this hand-blown swirled blue glass ornament made by the talented artisans at Perry & Perkins.
Brilliant shades of sapphire, azure and teal swirl together with frosty white lines as if mimicking the colors of the winter ocean. No two are exactly alike due to the handmade glass blowing technique.
The stunning freeform swirls resemble frozen waves, evoking a sense of movement and grace. When hung on your tree, the orb catches and reflects light beautifully, adding a pop of color and texture to your display.
Despite its impressive swirling design, this ornament remains lightweight at just 45 grams and measures 3.5 inches in diameter. The thin glass allows you to prominently display the mesmerizing colors and pattern. An attached braided silk ribbon hanger completes the elegant look.
Perry & Perkins has been a family owned and operated glass blowing studio for five generations. Located in Poland, the company prides itself on Old World craftsmanship and meticulous technique. This swirled ornament exemplifies their commitment to fine artistry.
Priced at $29, this hand-blown marvel makes a fantastic addition to your Christmas tree or holiday mantle display. The shapes and swirling shades create visual excitement and icy beauty any winter lover will appreciate.
Poinsettia Etched Glass Ornament
For an ornament that epitomizes elegant simplicity, consider this poinsettia etched glass decoration from acclaimed Austrian glass workshop Ornamentalle.
Handcrafted using century-old etching techniques, clear glass spherical form is etched with a picturesque poinsettia design on both front and back sides. The intricate details are etched using a corrosive glass cream before being carefully hand-painted with gold trim.
This delicate process results in beautiful transparency that allows light to pass through the ornament. The poinsettia blooms appear to float magically inside the glass globe. Tiny dots along the leaves and flower edges resemble glistening drops of snow or morning dew.
Weighing just 35 grams and measuring 3 inches in diameter, this lightweight stunner has a flawless spherical shape with a classically simple design. The attached braided ribbon topper completes the timeless ornament sure to become a family treasure.
Ornamentalle produces its artisan glass ornaments, eggs, and snow globes in a historic region of Austria renowned for skilled glassmakers. Their brand is synonymous with old-world quality and craftsmanship.
At $25, this elegant poinsettia ornament is perfect for those who prefer refinement over flash. Its European style and graceful beauty shine on any Christmas tree.
Ornate Glass Birdcage Ornament
For ornament collectors or lovers of all things ornate, this intricate birdcage decoration is sure to impress. Meticulously handcrafted by accomplished UK glass artisans Katrina and Peter McBird, this ornament depicts a Victorian-inspired birdcage complete with a little perched songbird inside.
The domed cage shape is assembled from hand-formed and attached glass wires finished in silver and gold hues. Tiny decorative accents like glass heart cutouts and pearl beads adorn it. The door even opens to reveal the bird within.
No surface is left unembellished. The exterior displays mind-boggling textural details from swirled painted glass, faux tree branch cutouts, silver leaf patterns and raised glass berries and flowers. Tiny glass butterflies seem to flutter around the exterior.
Inside the cage, a vivid blue and white bird is perched on a swing with his little glass bead eyes looking outward. The overall craftsmanship and whimsical details are stunning. Weighing 120 grams and measuring 4 inches tall and wide, this is an impressive display piece.
Made start to finish in the McBirds’ ornate glass workshop in Cornwall, each birdcage ornament takes over 15 hours to complete by hand. Their brand has won acclaim for combining functional art with whimsy and skillful design.
At $68, this showstopper makes a magical addition to an ornament collection or eclectic holiday display. The striking design is sure to become an admired family keepsake for years to come.
Now that you’ve discovered this season’s most stunning hand-blown glass ornaments, it’s time to choose the perfect ones to adorn your tree, mantle, entryway, and holiday table. Follow these helpful tips for selecting, safely displaying and enjoying your glass artisan decorations this Christmas.
Choosing Ornaments to Suit Your Display Space
When selecting glass ornaments, first consider where and how they’ll be displayed in your holiday decor. This helps ensure you choose suitable sizes, shapes and weights.
For Christmas trees, particularly live ones with delicate branches, opt for lightweight hand-blown ornaments under 60 grams. The intricate flower, etched poinsettia and colorful swirled designs highlighted above are ideal choices. Heavier ornate styles may be too heavy for fragile boughs.
Check the height your tree will hang ornaments. Lower branches call for durable, shatter-resistant designs as these will be easier to reach and more prone to accidental bumps. Save your most fragile heirloom ornaments for the higher, safest branches.
For garlands, chandeliers and stair railings, coordinate the shape and sizes of the ornaments you intersperse for visual harmony. A cohesive color scheme also helps these displays look their best, so you may want ornaments from just one or two color families.
On ornament wreaths, swags and centerpieces, mixing various sizes, shapes and textures creates fun dimensional interest. The colors can also be eclectic since the ornaments are clustered together.
No matter where they’re displayed, hand-crafted glass ornaments add a richness and depth to holiday decorating. So take stock of your existing decor and spaces to choose the perfect types.
Choosing Ornaments to Complement Your Style
Along with considering your display spaces, choose glass ornaments that align with your decorating style for a cohesive, gorgeous look:
For traditional holiday style, look for intricate painted designs, nostalgic themes like Santa and retro color palettes with red, green and gold. Opt for vintage styles like mercury glass and hand-etched or hand-blown European ornaments.
Contemporary holiday decor calls for bold colors and shapes. Think solid vivid hues or stark white minimalist styles. Geometric and large abstract glass ornaments look modern.
Ecletic decorators should look for a variety of textures, colors, sizes and shapes to intermix. This allows you to incorporate some classic glittering balls alongside trendy matte and patterned designs for visually appealing arrangement.
For nature-inspired decors, focus on organic themes like winter berries, pine cones, leaves or woodland creatures like cardinals, deer and owls. Mix in some metallic or iridescent finishes to add shimmer.
You can also decorate using traditional ornament color schemes, grouping your glass ornaments by rich reds and greens, wintery whites and icy blues, or elegant golds, coppers and silver. Coordinate with your existing ribbon, linens and other yuletide hues.
Choose glass ornaments that speak to your style and holiday vision. Soon your tree and decor will be picture perfect!
Selecting Ornaments for Years of Enjoyment
Another key consideration when selecting glass ornaments is longevity. Well-crafted glass ornaments not only withstand the test of time, but become treasured keepsakes as years go by.
Since these hand-made decorations represent an investment, opt for classic styles and timeless colors over trends. Trendy colors and patterns may fall out of favor after a season or two, while traditional designs remain beloved for generations.
Look for fine craftsmanship and high-quality, durable materials like hand-blown leaded glass. Favor reputable brands and artists known for their glass blowing prowess. Time-honored European glass blowers often offer stellar heirloom quality.
Proper storage between seasons also preserves your investment. Carefully wrap each ornament in tissue paper inside clearly marked ornament storage boxes. Avoid overcrowding or stacking boxes to prevent damage.
With proper care and handling, your glass ornaments can easily become cherished family heirlooms to pass down through generations. Children and grandchildren will remember helping decorate the tree with each meaningful decoration. The memories attached make them priceless.
Displaying Ornaments Safely
To help ensure your beloved glass orb decorations remain damage-free, follow these tips for safe display:
- Inspect branch hooks and ornament hangers for defects before hanging them. Replace any that are cracked or stretched out.
- For most secure hanging, use strong metal branch hooks and high-quality ribbon or fishing line. Avoid thin, cheap ornament string.
- Distribute your glass ornaments evenly around the tree to prevent too much weight and stress on one branch. This prevents damage.
- Position most fragile heirloom ornaments high up and out of reach of pets or rowdy holiday guests! Place unbreakable shatterproof ornaments low.
- Promptly remove any broken bulb ornaments to prevent cuts from glass shards. Dispose of properly.
- When possible, hang ornaments by the attached hanger loop instead of the cap. This distributes weight better if the cap’s glue ever loosens.
- Check decorations daily and re-hang any tilting, sliding or loose ornaments to keep your display picture-perfect all season long!
Creative Ways to Showcase Ornaments
The last step is deciding how to artfully display your glass ornaments to make a statement. Here are beautiful ideas:
- Group 3-5 ornaments together by color for a bold impact – try all blue, red and green, or metallics. Repeat in groupings on different branches.
- For visual interest, cluster together different shapes, sizes and textures – combine matte and shiny baubles with etched, painted and patterned.
- Suspend ornaments from wreaths, garlands and chandeliers at varying heights for dimension. Hang some low and some high.
- Arrange specialty theme-based vignettes – like all snowy owls, Winter Wonderland woodland creatures, or nativities.
- Showcase your most sentimental or precious family heirloom ornaments front and center on the tree where they can shine.
- Group together ornaments from the same artisan or origin for interest – like Poland, Austria or Mexico.
- On high ceilings and trees, place fragile glass balls high up and durable plastic/wood ornaments low where safe.
With a little creativity and care, you can display your cherished hand-blown glass ornaments in artful ways that accentuate their nostalgic beauty. They’ll gleam and sparkle with holiday magic.
As you deck your home for the holidays this year, make timeless memories with loved ones while highlighting your beautiful hand-blown glass ornaments. Let them reflect the light of the season as well as sentimental value. Choose special designs you’ll proudly display year after year, and pass along for future generations to enjoy.
With their rich history, stunning artistry, and meaning, these glass keepsakes make cherished additions to your holiday celebrations. May your days be merry and bright with their nostalgic glow.