Kugel Christmas Ornaments

Kugel Christmas Ornaments

Often said to be the first manufactured Christmas ornaments, kugels became popular in Germany around 1850 when silvered glass was invented. Translated from the German, kugel means ball or sphere – its most common form – but they also were made in the form of grape bunches, and teardrops, with hand-blown eggs, pears and apples more rarely found. Rarest of all are mold blown kugels resembling pine cones, artichokes and berry clusters. In all examples the silvered glass is heavier and more sturdy than similarly sized modern blown glass ornaments, a characteristic that has enabled them to survive many a hectic Christmas season.

The most common kugel is the silvered ball, which is actually clear glass with silvered interior to reflect light back into the room. Other kugels had a colored exterior, the most common being gold, a yellowish-green, blue and pinkish red. Other colors are found less frequently and include light blue, dark green and a copper bronze. Any reddish color is rare and highly sought after, including deep red, burgundy, orange, and – rarest of all – amethyst.

Kugels were made in a variety of sizes ranging from small half-inch orbs to giant fourteen inch globes. The manufacture of Kugels was a significant business, with German glassmakers exporting them to anywhere on the globe where Christmas was celebrated until World War II brought their production to a close. Kugels remain a favorite, however, of collectors and are prized decorative features of today’s traditional Christmas trees.

Background note by p4A editorial staff, 2012.

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