A Week Long Process
Millions of Americans have discovered and fallen for our ornaments, and it’s no wonder: the extraordinary radiance and originality of design that goes into each piece makes Christopher Radko ornaments more works of art than ordinary holiday decorations. It’s no wonder that Christopher Radko ornaments are among the fastest growing collectibles in the United States.
Each ornament is crafted by hand using centuries-old processes that require seven days to complete. Cottage workshops in three countries-Poland, Italy, and Germany-produce the ornaments, finials, and garlands that comprise the Christopher Radko collection. More than 3,000 craftspeople skilled in glassblowing, carving, mold making, and hand painting contribute their time, dedication, and talents to the contents of each year’s catalog.
Once a design is conceived on paper, it is submitted to a carver who then works in clay or plaster to bring the concept to life in 3D. An approved sculpture-a “sculpt”- then goes from the carver to a mold maker. Using a technique that dates all the way back to the Renaissance, that mold maker creates a sand-cast mold from molten metal. This becomes the mother mold and the production process officially begins.
Here’s what happens from there:
On the first day of production, the glassblower creates the ornament using clear tempered glass, which is preferred for its notable strength. Other ornament makers have used lower-grade glass, increasing the risk of breakage. There is a noticeable difference in the weight of a Radko® ornament, making it more solid to the touch.
On the second day, the ornament is injected with liquid sterling, another process done by hand. This “silvering” is part of what gives the ornaments their luminescence and sets them apart from other glass decorations.
Days 3 & 4
On the third day, a base coat of matte lacquer is hand applied-the white on a snowman, for instance, or the red on a Santa. On the fourth day, a second-coat application of lacquer is applied and the ornament’s additional colors are added.
On day five, the fine details tackled. This includes parts such as the eyes on a snowman or Santa or the tiny seeds on a strawberry.It’s an incredibly painstaking process; these personalized touches create the charming variations in each ornament making them one-of-a-kind heirlooms. No two ornaments are ever exactly alike and it’s easy to see why.
On the sixth day, glitter and other “extras” are added to lend a bit more sparkle.
On the seventh and final day, ornaments are inspected to ensure the highest standards of workmanship. Finally, the golden Radko charm and custom-designed R-A-D-K-O ornament crown, are put in place. The ornaments are then tagged and carefully packed for shipment to Christopher Radko’s offices and warehouses in the United States.