Dating shiny brite ornaments
If an ornament is missing so much paint or so tarnished that the wear is distracting, it's probably a problem. Bubbling and flaking paint (usually from moisture), broken indents and chipped pikes (necks) are problems, though.
Kathy said she wasn't going to ask me anything but she forgot she asked me a long time ago how to identify ornaments from Poland. One, because once you know what an ornament from Poland looks like, you can identify it from across a room, and second BECAUSE SOMEONE ACTUALLY CARES ABOUT PROPERLY IDENTIFYING ORNAMENTS.
So what do you look for in a vintage Shiny Brite ornament?
These were made during World War II when not only were the caps constructed of cardboard, but glass ornaments that were normally coated with silver nitrate were left clear, and then hand painted in bright colours and pastels.
"In there were several of the little ornaments that have pinecone bodies and cute little heads (gnomes? Kim also asked about flocked plastic figures - "a bit tacky, but also a bit cute." I turned to my other go-to Christmas reference book, "Christmas, 1960 - present," also by Robert Brenner, and found a reference to them.
From Ruthann (no blog): "My question is, how many different Shiny Brites have you come across? Water is the worst thing in the world for glass ornaments. " My go-to Christmas reference book, "Christmas, 1940 - 1959," by Robert Brenner, has a photo of these on the cover.
I find myself saying this a lot lately, but I’ll say it again… ’ I grew up with an Angel for a tree topper, and Shiny Brite glass ornaments on the tree. Shiny Brite was actually the trade name of the ornaments, but the name has been confused over the years as the style name of the ornaments. Ornaments like these were all the rage in the 1950’s and 60’s, and remained popular into the 70’s and 80’s.
But Shiny Brites have been around since before World War II.
I wonder how many different ones were made; not just colors but designs too." Oh, I love this question because it feels like a project! There were balls, and balls with indents, and balls with stripes, and balls with stencils, and odd shapes like lanterns and UFOs and tornados, and bells, and different sizes of bells, not to mention all the different colors, and the latter-day Shiny Brites with glitter designs, and now I really want to try to document this. But my son insists on the day after Thanksgiving, and we all know that Christmas is for children. There were several questions about cleaning ornaments. Storing them with hangers attached is a bad idea, by the way, because the hangers can scratch them. Pinecone people, the book says, were very popular in the 1950s and were made in Germany and Italy. I've seen them on skis, with musical instruments, with books, with little lanterns - there seems to be no end to the variations.
Since I don't have a very good answer to this question, I'm tossing it to Melissa, who describes herself as a certified ornament hoarder and volunteered to take any questions I couldn't answer. From Susan: "My question is, when will you be putting up the tree? Lucky Kim bought a bag of ornaments at her thrift store. Last December's Martha Stewart magazine had quite a good article on pinecone elves.