Old Christmas Might Include New Collectibles

Do you have a favorite ornament on your Christmas tree? Many people do but especially collectors who seek special ornaments that appeal to their tastes.

Vintage ornaments dating to the mid-20th century are popular right now and you can still find these at antique shops, second-hand stores or in an attic if you’re lucky! Other collectors seek genuine antique ornaments and look for Victorian treasures or German examples from the early 1900s.

But there are many new ornaments that are collectible and just as lovely.

One of the big names that collectors enjoy today is Old World Christmas ornaments. I noticed these a while back and have purchased several myself since these tiny treasures include classic themes.

Last year I was even fortunate enough to find a shiny gold star tree topper made by Old World at Boscov’s, reduced after the holidays! It’s blown glass so it’s fragile but so pretty.

Old World Christmas is actually a “premier brand of Christmas ornaments in the country,” according to its website, oldworldchristmas.com. The founders, Tim and Beth Merck, a couple who shared a special love for Christmas, are credited with revitalizing the art of mouth-blown fine glass ornaments as a result of their reintroducing figurative designs to the United States in 1979.

Today, Old World Christmas offers many ornaments to choose from with over 1,400 designs in styles ranging from traditional to whimsical. Many of these are easy to locate in department stores or small shops like Accents in our own Center Market neighborhood.

I noticed this small boutique carries ornaments and many holiday gift items and is open on Sundays during the holidays, which is when I had a chance to browse.

Each figurative glass ornament produced by Old World Christmas is hand crafted in age-old tradition using the same techniques that originated in the 1800s. Molten glass is mouth-blown into finely carved molds made exclusively for Old World Christmas, before a hot solution of liquid silver is poured inside.

The ornaments are then handpainted and glittered in a series of labor-intensive steps to achieve the beautiful creations. Each includes a tiny metal tag attached at the ornament holder as its official mark.

I find the Old World designs charming and priced well. The glitter makes them look like sugar coated glass. The first one of these I bought was the delightful little Baby New Year ornament. I hang him at the top of my Christmas tree every year. His chubby little face peers down to promise a new start.

I also found a sparkly little birthday cake ornament that I purchased as a gift, perfect for my family members with Christmas birthdays.

This company has glass ornaments for everyone and I even bought Steeler figurative ornaments by Old World several years ago at Macy’s South Hills, for my son. You can find NFL and college sports, along with ornaments that depict pets, nature, fairy tales, occupations, travel and more.

I find that I’m now looking forward to buying the perfect addition to my collection this year to add to my tree. That’s exactly what collectibles do to you — keep you coming back for more.

Ornaments are one of those treasures that create nostalgia, especially when you see one that takes you back to childhood.

So as Christmas Day approaches, I’m hoping that we all find time to enjoy our collectibles and recall happy memories of the past to share with our friends and family.

For comments or suggestions on local treasures to be featured in Antique of the Week, Maureen Zambito can be reached via email at zambitomaureen@hotmail.com or by writing in care of this newspaper.


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