Station: [13] C – Christmas Tree Decorations from Gablonz: Spiders

  • Glasmuseum Wertheim


According to one legend Mary and Joseph are supposed to have sheltered in a cave during a snowstorm. Spiders wove a fine web at the mouth of the cave to protect the holy family from the cold and enemies.


Spiders were a popular Christmas motif in the northern Bohemian town of Gablonz or Jablonec in today’s Czech Rebublic. And glass Christmas tree decorations have been produced there since 1860. Everything that touched and moved the human being was reproduced in the imaginative figures, miniature versions of everyday objects. This very individual style of Christmas tree decoration developed from the button and pearl industry and the flourishing fashion jewellery industry. Gablonz Jewellery was known in almost every part of the world and was an important export for the royal monarchy.


For Gablonz Christmas tree decorations hollow blown-glass beads were finished at home using a blowtorch. The beads were either blown by hand or with what was known as a bead-shaping machine. But in contrast to those in Thuringian, the bead makers in Gablonz could make several beads at once. With the help of multiple moulds they could produce up to 10 cm-long segments of beads that were strung together. These were then separated with a filing knife, silver-plated, threaded on wire and turned into Christmas decorations.