History of the Gazing Globe

Many yards and flowerbeds throughout the world proudly display a gazing globe in them, either on a stand or resting on the ground. These adornments are one of the most popular in gardens today, but are no newcomer to the outdoor scene. Gazing globes have a rich and varied history, along with exciting lore to enhance their functions.

Gazing balls are said to have originated in the thirteenth century in Italy, where they were crafted from hand blown glass. These orbs were said to ward of misfortune and disease for their owners. Additionally, they supposedly brought prosperity to those who displayed them. In a time of political unrest, gazing globes quickly became popular with European royalty and were regularly exhibited in their stunning gardens.

As time progressed, the use of gazing balls became more widespread and more versatile. Most of the glass orbs had shiny, reflective surfaces. These were particularly useful for servants in the Victorian era, as they could monitor the needs of the guests without staring, and arrive almost magically to assist the visitors. Thus, the orbs were sometimes referred to as "butler balls." In addition, they also were sometimes called "witches globes" and placed outside a homeowner's door. The lore states that witches would see their reflection in the globe and either be frightened by it and flee, or be so smitten they would stare at themselves. This would prevent them from entering the home, keeping the family safe.

This rich history remained with the globes, and their reflective qualities became popular in the American South. They were often used by homeowners to view their visitors and welcome them warmly. Placed indoors, the balls again were useful for servants during dinner parties. Gazing globes have grown in legend and history, while modern materials offer a wide variety of options. Many are still crafted from blown glass, and most retain a reflective finish. Others are made from stainless steel or copper for a different effect. Many globes have necks, to place on pedestals or hangers, while others have a smooth finish to rest in a different style of stand.

Whatever the theme in your garden, you will likely be able to find a garden globe to match. The varied colors and materials will certainly bring eye-catching appeal to your yard, while furthering the bold history of this garden adornment. Be sure to check out our Gazing Balls department to find the perfect adornment for your garden. For more assistance, feel free to call one of our customer service representatives toll free at 877-562-1818 from 9 AM to 5 PM Eastern Standard Time Monday through Friday.