Rich in history and vibrant color, our European Glass Ornaments lend elegance and old world beauty to the holiday season. Today, we take a look at their origin and what makes them so special.

Balsam Hill's collection of exquisite glass ornaments
Balsam Hill’s European Glass Ornaments

The Humble 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 “free hand” style. When the popularity for these fragile beauties grew, artisans developed molds in order 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 on, to the rest of Europe. The precious ornaments were originally brought to America by businessman F.W. Woolworth, after he discovered them on a trip to Germany. Woolworth’s began importing and selling the European glass ornaments in 1880.

Today, a bulk of the Christmas 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 pieces 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

Balsam Hill proudly keeps the tradition of artisanal craftsmanship alive by handpicking the finest glass ornaments from different regions in Europe and offering you their unparalleled beauty and quality.

Intricately detailed glass egg that opens to reveal miniature tree
Balsam Hill’s Musical Egg Blown Glass Ornament

Graced with vivid colors and intricate details, our Musical Egg Blown Glass Ornament is made with mouth-blown glass and hand painted with 24-carat gold paint. Crafted in Poland, it features a hinged top that reveals a miniature Christmas tree embellished with Swarovski crystals, and plays “Silent Night” with a turn of its wind up key. This magnificent piece creates a beautiful display when paired with your tree, or on its own set on its solid brass stand.

6-inch Bird in Nest Blown Glass Ornament
Our Bird in Nest Blown Glass Ornament adds rustic charm

Birds have long been seen as messengers of love, symbolizing happiness and joy. This makes them a natural addition to your tree during the cheery Yuletide season. Handcrafted and hand-painted by Polish artisans, our Bird in Nest Blown Glass Ornament is a beautiful way to add rustic charm to your holiday display.

Graceful and beautiful mermaid ornament
Balsam Hill’s whimsical and beautiful Mermaid Blown Glass Ornament

Inspired by classic folklore and fairy tales, our Mermaid Blown Glass Ornament infuses your holidays with a sense of wonder and whimsy. Handcrafted by De Carlini artisans in Italy, this enchanting ornament is exquisitely painted by hand and embellished with dyed feathers.

Stacked cases with a globe on top represent the joy of travel
Our charming Travel Cases Blown Glass Ornament

Our Travel Cases Blown Ornament is handcrafted in Poland and represents the spirit of fun and adventure that only travel can bring. This piece is intricately painted by hand and features microbeading and glitter to enhance the finer details of its vintage design.

Santa delivers the bounty of the season
Intricately designed Santa at the Front Door Ornament

Originating from the Glassware Art Studio in Poland, this handmade ornament depicts jolly St. Nick carrying a big bag of gifts and knocking on the front door. The reverse side shows a young girl eagerly waiting for Santa’s arrival. Beautiful detail, vibrant hues, and sparkling highlights combine to create an endearing picture of Christmas cheer.

A proud testament to European craftsmanship, our elegant glass ornaments add style, color, and personality to any holiday display. Visit Balsam Hill to learn more about these enchanting decorative accents.

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