Holiday Staples: Common Ornament Types and Edge Finishes

If you're sandcarving ornaments this year, choose the best option for your customer's budget

One of the main staples of the holiday season is ornaments. They can be used for any special occasion or holiday.

Ornaments come in many shapes and sizes, can be made from jade, clear, or optical/lead crystal. The most popular shapes are still the circle and the oval; at least, that is true for many of my customers and our shop. Of course, choosing the glass type will have a bearing on the cost of the ornament and ultimately needs to fit into your customer’s budget. After selecting the glass type you wish to order, you also will have to make decisions about the edge finish of the ornament.

These ornaments are made from optical crystal that was cut and polished. This glass is very pure and refracts the light in the facets beautifully, creating rainbow colors or prisms. (Image courtesy Professional Glass)

Generally, the jade and clear glass ornaments have a beveled edge or a pencil-polished edge. The fancier finishes, such as facets, are typically reserved for crystal ornaments, but even with those, you have the choice of two different fabrication methods.

One, the ornament is made from crystal glass, and the facets are produced by a machine or by hand; this gives the facet a very sparkly and clean edge, refracting the light beautifully. Then there are some ornaments made from crystal, that are poured into a mold with the facets incorporated. This is an all-in-one process where no subsequent cutting or polishing is necessary, but it tends to leave the facet lines somewhat softer and does not always give the same brilliance that a cut and polished facet has.

In the past, you could get ornaments that used a bezel to attach the ribbon to the ornament. Nowadays, we are usually only supplied with the ribbon, which is pulled through the hole and returned over itself to provide the hanging function.

Most ornaments today come with a presentation box, which a few years back was not the case. It is important for your product to look professional. And do not forget to add your contact information with the item.

Learn more about holiday staples in the November issue of GRAPHICS PRO.

Ruth Jan 2018

Ruth Dobbins

With over 35 years in the glass business, Ruth Dobbins offers experience in fused and cast glass, as well as in glass-etching techniques. She owns Professional Glass Consultants with her husband Norm and holds a master's in printmaking and art history.

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