Wednesday, December 16, 2009

How I Love Mercury Glass!

The Christmas decorations are all in place throughout our home.  The tree is the main attraction, adorned with hundreds of colorful, shiny, mercury glass ornaments.  Dangling from the limbs are all manner of characters like this cheery snowman bundled in a scarf.  The aqua blue ornament is vintage and a little shabby looking with chips and nicks, adding to its character.

Mercury glass, sometimes called varnished glass or silvered glass, was first invented in Germany in the early 1800s as a less expensive alternative to sterling silver. The shiny, mirrored surface is achieved with double walled glass coated and sealed with silver nitrate between the layers; it does not actually contain mercury. By the mid 1800s, mercury glass began appearing in the United States and many manufacturers began to add enamel, etching, paint and engraving to their products. By the early 20th century, Christmas ornaments were created from the glass as were candlesticks, bud vases and other household decorations.

Most of our mercury glass decorations are reproductions but I continue to search for vintage pieces as I rummage through flea markets and antique marts.  I love the unique, rich patina of the glass (a result of oxidation) especially when the twinkling Christmas lights shine on them.

Mercury glass balls fill jars on our fireplace mantel and are kept company by this cheerful paper mache snowman:

Over in the guest cottage, our Elf sits on a bathroom shelf – he greets our guests with a big smile each Christmas.

And this is our mercury glass “forrest,” “growing” in the guest cottage bedroom.  Silver, lavendar, persimmon (looks more orange in this picture) and pink!  I'm looking forward to finding more colors of these trees to add to the collection.

The presents are all wrapped and placed under the tree and some have been shipped to faraway places. Time to bake cookies and count the days until Christmas Eve when the family returns home.


Steinomite said...

Yay for your blog!

Natalie said...


Anonymous said...

Lovely pics! Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Oh ... oh... beautiful! My favorite is the teal, next orange and then purple. I remember those waffle cookies at Mammies, my Italian grandmother's house ! I love your blog background, very pretty !