Sterling Silver Ornaments: A Brief History

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The traditions of Christmastime are what make the season so special and loved. Everyone has those decorations, meal menus, and practices which warm their heart and make them smile. Ornaments, as one of the most repeatable features from year to year mark them as a valuable inclusion that need to last for years to come.

Sterling silver ornaments do just that!

Silver manufacturers have consistently produced lines of ornaments in series that make for easy, tasteful, and beautiful tree-trimming, with a shine and sparkle that will become a highlight in your home. The various motifs—snowflakes, crosses, characters, or carol references—reprise the earliest ornaments.

              2016 Gorham Snowflake 47th Edition

Evergreen boughs or other fresh foliage were brought into the home during winter time to remind families of the promise of life after the cold winter. The tradition of employing an entire tree became common in Germany in the nineteenth century. Over time, fruit or nuts would be included in the display. Bread and cookies were also used; they were shaped and baked in various forms many of which we find today. Stars, hearts, angels, and bells were common! Germans are said to be the first to design reusable ornaments during the 19thcentury specifically for use on greens in winter, and F. W. Woolworth in the 1890s may have been the first American retailer to offer ornaments in various materials.

The creation of ornaments in sterling silver was a practice that took off in the United States in the 1970s. The reflectivity, durability, and adaptability of silver made it a perfect choice for traditional ornaments. Some single issue ornaments were made by various manufacturers in the 1960s, but with only a mild reception. Gorham, however, introduced its Snowflake in 1970 to overwhelming success. As a result, 1971 marks the year that a number of silver companies began series of various silver ornaments. The Reed & Barton Cross dates to this year, Towle it’s first “Twelve Days of Christmas” series, and Wallace’s “Peace Doves”. The Metropolitan Museum of Art even introduced its own line of Snowflakes.

           Gorham Chantilly Ornament, 9th Edition

Forms of sterling ornaments vary, but most common are winter or Christian symbols like snowflakes, bells, angels, crosses, stars and nativity scenes. Stylized references to Christmas carols are popular.

Completing a series of ornaments is most collector’s goal in time. Reed & Barton’s sterling Christmas Cross collection is the most complete with a new edition offered each year up to the present. The Gorham Snowflake was made in 1980 in silverplate, but that remains the only deviation to the otherwise sterling designs.

2011 St. Peter Ornament, 1st Edition, Wallace
2011 St. Peter Ornament, 1st Edition, Wallace

Beverly Bremer Silver Shop already has in stock this year’s editions of many series of ornaments (we even the first edition of a new series!) as well as a number of editions from years past in some of the most popular lines. Check your collection to see what you need!

Written with input from various sources, most notably Hart, Peggy and Arthur. “Sterling Ornaments, 2002” 2002.

Sterling Silver Christmas Cross by Reed and Barton

The 2010 Christmas Sterling Silver Cross by Reed & Barton celebrates 40-years tradition of extraordinaire sterling silver crosses. Crafted in fine sterling silver, the cross’s elegant design was inspired by a grill in early Romanesque style in Winchester Cathedral, Hampshire, England.

2010 Sterling Silver Christmas Cross by Reed and Barton

2010 Sterling Silver Christmas Cross
2010 Sterling Silver Christmas Cross

Length is 3 1 /8 inches, weight is 0.55 troy ounces.

The 2010 Christmas Sterling Silver Cross by Reed & Barton celebrates 40-years tradition of extraordinaire sterling silver crosses. Crafted in fine sterling silver, the cross’s elegant design was inspired by a grill in early Romanesque style in Winchester Cathedral, Hampshire, England.

Established in 1824, Reed & Barton has earned a worldwide reputation for creating fine – quality sterling silver. The company’s finely crafted Christmas ornaments are cherished and collected the world over. The highest standards of design and craftsmanship are hallmarks of all products manufactured by Reed & Barton, foremost silversmiths for over 186 years.

Find this sterling silver ornament

AND

other sterling silver ornaments on our website at Beverly Bremer Silver Shop

1st Day of Christmas Partridge Ornament by Hand and Hammer

This sterling silver collectible ornament is part of a collection of ornaments inspired by the Twelve Days of Christmas, created exclusively by Hand & Hammer Silversmiths. In the hands of their skilled craftsmen, the precious commodity of sterling silver becomes a treasured heirloom for the Christmas Tree.

Partridge and Pear Ornament

Sterling Silver Partridge and Pear Ornament
Sterling Silver Partridge and Pear Ornament

Length is 2 1/2 inches, weight is 0.50 troy ounces. This sterling silver collectible ornament is part of a collection of ornaments inspired by the Twelve Days of Christmas, created exclusively by Hand & Hammer Silversmiths. In the hands of their skilled craftsmen, the precious commodity of sterling silver becomes a treasured heirloom for the Christmas Tree.

 The stylish partridge and pear evokes one of the best-loved holiday carols. This sterling silver collectible ornament, designed by Chip deMatteo and Greg Villalobos, has a medieval style, harkening back to the period in which the carol was written.

 Find this

 Sterling Silver Ornament (click here)

 and other sterling silver ornaments on our website at

 Beverly Bremer Silver Shop (click here)