When you hang a Dresden Star Ornament on
your tree this Christmas, you can do so knowing that you have a very
unique Christmas ornament, unlike any other. Dresden Star Ornaments are
lovingly hand-crafted from beautiful antique chromolithographs (called
scraps), old glass ornaments, and a variety of vintage Christmas
decorations, making them truly look like antique Victorian Christmas
The idea for Dresden Star Ornaments was born
out of Gail and Glenn Giaimo’s love for old Victorian Christmas
ornaments. They discovered that many original elaborate and fantastic
antique and vintage ornaments were hard to find; often they were found
either in poor condition (broken, and/or missing parts), or in someone's
personal collection, only available for viewing in books. For years,
Gail and Glenn had been collecting bits and pieces of old Christmas tree
decorations, vintage glass ornaments, and century-old die-cut papers.
Suddenly it occurred to them that they could create their own Victorian
Christmas ornaments to hang on their feather trees. Making ornaments was
so rewarding and fun that it became a home-based business.
elaborate handmade ornament by Dresden Star Ornaments is
titled “Circus Clown on Fantasy Clock.” It is created with a
vintage double-indent ornament with its original Venetian
dew glitter, an antique scrap clown's head with a great
expression, and an antique scrap clock-face suspended inside
indent. It is priced just under $300.00.
Dresden Star Ornaments may seem expensive
at first glance; until you understand why. A great deal of effort goes
into making each ornament unique and beautiful, with no two alike. The
materials used in these ornaments make them expensive to create. It is
necessary to have a large inventory of vintage and antique materials to
choose from; these materials are difficult to find, and some pieces are
very expensive and rare. It is Gail and Glenn’s passion to seek out
wonderful old decorations and remake them into new amazing creations.
The name, Dresden Star Ornaments, was
decided upon because the artists use Dresden trim (pressed foil paper)
from Germany to create their exquisite Victorian ornaments. In addition,
Dresden Germany is the city where beautiful and intricate embossed
cardboard ornaments were made between 1880 and 1910.
Dresden Star Ornaments
Original Victorian Ornaments
Dresden Star Ornaments are not intended to
be reproductions of antique ornaments. The imaginative way Gail and
Glenn use the materials makes their ornaments not only very inventive,
but elaborate. Vintage and antique materials are incorporated into each
ornament, so a Dresden Star Ornament feels like an authentic, old
ornament, with personality and attention to detail.
In addition, an owner of a Dresden Star
Ornament is guaranteed to have a one-of-a-kind, hand-crafted piece. Each
ornament is hand-signed either by Gail or Glenn Giaimo; they are the
only artists making the ornaments, thus giving them the control to
ensure the very best quality and craftsmanship.
Right: A patriotic theme
ornament by Dresden Star Ornaments of a “Drummer Girl” on a large
patriotic glass bell. This fabulous ornament, hand signed by artist
Glenn Giaimo, has an early 1900s patriotic glass bell and a glass
pike wrapped in antique trims and vintage tinsels. The antique scrap
patriotic drummer girl carries an early vintage silk flag.
Dresden Star Ornaments’ amazing attention to detail is apparent in the
stunning Snow Angel ornament shown above. Glenn started with an antique
unsilvered single balloon with its original gold paint and long pike
intact; then added a fabulous antique scrap snow angel holding a candle.
Lavishly trimming the ornament is a vintage Dresden paper medallion
(bottom of ornament), antique Dresden paper trim, 2 different early
vintage tinsel ribbon trims, 2 different narrow chenille trims, antique
beaded ribbon trim, early vintage metallic lace trim, and German-made
curly spun-glass. The ornament is hand-signed by Glenn Giaimo.
Antique Victorian Ornament
In the original Victorian ornament, pictured
above, note that the glass "boat," while discolored, is still intact.
The crinkle-wire around the ornament is damaged, as is often the case.
The original chromolithograph ("scrap") and original rope tinsel has
stayed with the ornament all these years. An antique Victorian ornament
like this one, even in this condition, could be quite expensive.
Three creations by Dresden Star Ornaments
The Dresden Star Ornaments, shown above, are
constructed from vintage and antique materials. All of the colorful
die-cut scraps are Victorian chromolithographs. The glass ornaments used
to create the Christmas ship and hot air balloon are from the 1930s or
earlier. Scraps, Dresden stars and old rope tinsel were carefully held
in place with durable glue. The crinkle-wire wrapped around the balloon
and ship is newer, but was antiqued to match the patina of the
ornaments. Recently manufactured crinkle-wire is used to wrap the
ornaments, as original tinsel wire is often too brittle and tangled to
use again. The Dresden Star Ornaments are more vibrant in color,
fanciful and elaborate.
Antique Die-Cut "Scraps” are Used to
Dresden Star Ornaments
left is a sampling of Santas from Gail and Glenn’s scrap collection.
Antique angels and Santas are becoming harder to find and are especially
In the Victorian era, scraps were extremely
popular, which is why they can still be found today. Many 19th century
families made their own tree decorations by combining scraps with other
papers, fabric trims, and metallic tinsel garland. To make an ornament,
Gail and Glenn generally begin by selecting a piece of scrap from their
large collection of beautiful antique die-cut chromolithographs. In many
cases, the scrap is the inspiration for what goes into each ornament.
The majority of their scraps pre-date 1900; with scraps of every
imaginable subject, from flowers and animals to circus characters and
babies. The scraps are stunning, nostalgic and whimsical; they are an
essential part of what goes into a Dresden Star Ornament.
chromolithographs were made by a process that printed 20 to 26 colors
per design, every tint requiring a separate pass through the press.
Heavier paper stock was used and very specialized techniques were
employed to produce high-quality embossing. Chromolithographs produced
after the 1920s show an increasing decline in quality due to a newer
processes and cheaper paper used.
Reproduction scraps are produced today in
only four colors and on light-weight paper. The antique
chromolithographs have beautiful depth, luster and high-quality that the
modern printing techniques of today cannot even begin to achieve.
“Crying Baby” ornament with a fabric skirt. Home-made paper and fabric
ornaments like this were very popular in Victorian times! The scraps
were specifically designed for this purpose – crying babies were
especially popular! This very collectible antique scrap crying baby has
its original scrap feet. Hand signed by Gail Giaimo.
and Vintage Glass Ornaments
Only older glass decorations, selected for
their beauty and patina, are used to make Dresden Star Ornaments. A wide
variety of shapes, sizes and birds are needed to choose from when
crafting an ornament. A glass piece that is the right size, shape and
color is selected to compliment the old chromolithographs that are
attached to it. Oblong shapes work well for dirigibles, round ones for
hot air balloons, etc. A glass bird may be in a tinsel cage, or be
perched on a "nest" made from an indent ornament turned on its side.
After attaching scraps, rope tinsel and embossed gold papers (Dresden
trim), the ornaments generally are wire-wrapped with crinkle wire
purchased from Germany (Krausboullion), just as you would see on an
antique Victorian Ornament. Furthermore, smaller Victorian and antique
glass garland beads are wonderful for incorporating with scrap and
tinsel ornaments, and look much like the homemade tree decorations made
by families over a century ago.
A fanciful Victorian girl sits atop a beautiful unsilvered clip-on bird
from the early 1900s with a circa 1920s old-stock spun-glass tail and
early vintage blue feather. The flowers on the girl’s hat are salvaged
from a 1890s bridal wreath. Hand signed by Gail Giaimo.
Right is a
glass bird on a red-green-and-silver glass bell. Of special note, this
vintage glass bird with its original spun-glass tail is combined with
early vintage composition holly leaves and berries, two different
antique chenille trims, antique hand-knotted lace fringe trim, antique
Dresden paper buttons, vintage loop fabric trim, and antique wired
tinsel (handle). It is hand signed by Gail Giaimo.
Vintage Tree Decorations and Old Tinsel Add Variety to Dresden Star Ornaments
The picture above shows a sampling of the
wide variety of vintage tree decorations used to make Dresden Star
Ornaments. Old tinsel garland is especially important for decorating
ornaments in different ways. Gail and Glenn select from a wide variety
of antique and vintage tinsels in their collection. They also purchase
old-style silver-plated Lametta tinsel from Germany
and allow it to age naturally, so it has tarnish just like the old-stock
tinsel. Having a wonderful collection of old Christmas decorations to
choose from allows Dresden Star Ornaments to make ornaments as
imaginative and unique as possible.
rare large foiled paper star is re-decorated with a stunning hand-cut
antique lithograph Victorian Angel to bring new life to this vintage
Shown above is an ornament of
Santa Riding a Patriotic Dirigible. Glen has combined two vintage
ornaments for this whimsical design. The unsilvered patriotic ornament
with its original tinsel still inside is joined with an early vintage
glass indent ornament (as the basket for Santa).
has created a wonderful and unique ornament with an early 1900s white
cotton batting bell. This fabulous decoration still has its spun cotton
clapper. By adding an antique scrap kitty, 3 different early vintage
Dresden paper trims, 4 different antique fabric trims, antique silk
cording (hanger), antique tinsel, and antique tinsel roping, Gail has
succeeded in making a remarkable new keepsake from an old tree
ornaments are made from Gail and Glenn’s collection of vintage silk
flags, antique Dresden paper star borders, vintage fabric and paper
flowers in red-white-blue, antique metallic lace, vintage patriotic
ribbon and military theme scraps of generals, presidents and flags.
These ornaments are especially valued by the Civil War period collector.
Gail and Glenn feel
that the patriotic ornament shown above of Washington in a hot air
balloon is their fanciest ornament yet! It is crafted with a vintage
glass sphere ornament, an early vintage indent ornament (tipped on its
back to create a basket), a large antique scrap George Washington, early
vintage silk flags, antique gold bouillon fringe, a variety of antique
fabrics and trims, vintage silk patriotic ribbon, five different vintage
Dresden paper trims, vintage Dresden paper stars, early vintage cobalt
blue glass bell, antique glass bead, and early vintage tinsel roping.
This amazing work of art is hand signed by Glenn Giaimo.
Trims, Papers and Fabrics
Gold embossed die-cut papers, loosely termed
"Dresden trims," are used to decorate Dresden Star Ornaments. Much of
Gail and Glenn’s collection of trims are old-stock made in Germany. Many
of the elaborate borders, birds, stars, anchors, script phrases, and
pink medallions shown above are old-stock. Since old-stock Dresden
embossed papers are becoming scarce, they also use some newer trims from
Germany. The quality of the gold embossed papers bought from Germany is
generally very good, as some of the same equipment and techniques are
used today as were used in the past.
papers, fabrics, and lace trims, and old-stock ribbons and cording are
used to embellish candy containers, cornucopias, and the beautiful
scraps. As was often done with homemade Victorian ornaments, scraps of
women and children are decorated with delicate lace trims, fabrics, and
crepe paper. Dresden Star Ornaments have a fabulous selection of vintage
materials to choose from to give each ornament its own unique
The Christmas tree would not be complete
without a fabulous tree topper! Gail has succeeded in creating a
masterpiece with this rare large glass topper shown above, decorated
with their finest trims and ornamented with the most spectacular angels
in their collection. The tree topper is created with a rare early
vintage silver free-blown glass topper, vintage mercury glass bells,
antique beaded trim, 2 different antique silk ribbons with graduated
colors and ruffled edges, pink antique velvet ribbon, antique mercury
glass oval beads, 5 different exquisite Dresden paper trims, vintage
pink Dresden paper halo, and an antique gold Dresden paper halo. This
creation is hand signed by Gail Giaimo.
original, one-of-a-kind Christmas ornament from Dresden Star Ornaments
range in price from $69.95 to over $200. See
" Buy From Us" to purchase Dresden Star
Ornaments directly from the artists; or if you are a retailer see the " For Dealers Only" page. Visit the Dresden Star Ornaments web site [www.victorianornaments.com] to see
their many handmade Christmas ornaments, feather Christmas trees,
antique and vintage putz for under the tree, antique and vintage
Christmas accessories, antique and vintage tree fences, adjustable brass
ornament stands, Santas and more.