Since the 16th century glass balls have been popular for many different reasons. Mainly though they have been used in homes to brighten and frighten!
Brighten with Glass Balls
To think about glass balls brings to mind that certain shimmer and sparkle you expect to see in the sun. As we have seen, glass balls have been used traditionally in many settings for literally centuries. Today glass balls have definitely become more modern and able to fit into any decor you can imagine.
Gazing balls are believed to bring luck and prosperity to a home and abundant growth to plants and flowers. First used in Venice, a gazing ball was found in most gardens. Francis Bacon remarked that a “proper garden would have coloured balls for the sun to play upon.”
Friendship balls have been used to symbolize a deep friendship. When you gift a friend a glass ball you are also letting them know you value their friendship deeply and you care about them. Hanging your friendship ball in a window will signal that your friends are welcome in your home at any time.
Frighten with Glass Balls
Using glass balls to deter and discourage was also a very popular use. Using the shine and glamour of a glass ball to frighten was the reason these balls were hung.
Witches balls were believed to first be used beginning in the 1600 – 1700’s. They were hung in homes to protect them from spirits and spells. According to legends, the glittery balls would entice the spirit of a witch into the ball where the many strands of colour would then trap her for all time inside!
While not exactly frightening, the use of Butler Balls by todays standards feels wrong. The first Butler Balls were actually made from stainless steel and polished to a shine like glass. Placed in an unassuming place where the butler could then peek at the reflection to observe guests without drawing attention to himself. When noticing anything amiss the butler would then “appear” to attend to any needs of guests.
Modern glass today is made by many companies and glass balls we are proud to carry are hand made by Kitras Glass. A Canadian company, Kitras has been making gorgeous glass for over 30 years. Their process begins with the base glass being heated to over 2,000 °C! Colour is then added at a reduced temperature of approx. 1,800°C and then blown to create the beautiful collections of Kitras Glass.