Vintage Mercury Glass and Nativity Angels

As much as I love kitsch and color (which I do!) I have a side that loves the time worn beauty of mercury glass and old plaster figures as well.  Growing up we had a lovely old nativity set filled with beautiful figures and it was always a very ceremonious occasion when we unwrapped each piece and set it out for display carefully on a fancy table near the big picture window.

Back in 1990, as a new wife and homeowner I made it my mission that first Christmas to find a vintage set of my own.  It did not take long as they seem to be at almost every estate sale I go to.  The thing is, my finding nativities and their sometimes mis-matched and chipped up pieces never ended.  Flash forward 22 years and I still have an incredibly hard time leaving a bag filled with random Shepherds, donkeys, sheep, angels etc. alone.  You see, at these estate sales they often take whatever nativity pieces that have survived the years and dump them into a ziploc bag and staple it shut and put a price of 3 to 10 dollars on the whole bag.

 Me being me, I pick up the bag and see an angel suffocating inside and I need to rescue the bag.  That is why we currently have approx 25 angels on our mantle right now and own about 50 sheep, 25 donkeys and more Wise Men than you can shake a stick at.  I have kept so many forlorn and incomplete sets that we really have no more room at the Inn for them all.  Over the years I've sold off many of them at basically the price I purchased them for to others in my shop who are missing this or that specific piece to their sets.  Basically I've become an adoption agency for nativity figures.  I just want them to find a good home.

This particular angel is in my house and she is one of my very favorites.  The older ones have such pretty faces.  She was made in Italy and in general the Italian nativity pieces are to me the prettiest.

I also have a small collection of mercury glass.  The vases and such are really hard to come by these days.  Repros abound but I'm really looking for the old stuff.  I don't try that hard to find it.  If I stumble upon a piece at a sale it's fun but I never feel like my collections have to grow at a fast pace.  Some things I've been collecting for 20 years and only have 3 of them.  I like to keep my collecting organic and not something filled with pressure.  What do you collect or rescue?? Pin It


  1. I'm wondering and imagining if a stray piece you've sold ever ended up joining it's exact same set that it was originally from... that it somehow strayed and then made it's way back to it's original collection. That would be pretty great.

    1. I like to think that that is not only a possibility but a reality. And stranger things do happen so I'm going with Yes, some of them have made it back to their original collections!

  2. I've always loved mercury glass so, so much, too. I have a couple of small decorative (year round) pieces (votive holders and such) and would love to grow my collection further as time goes on. I think that the selection is one of the absolutely prettiest I've ever seen.

    ♥ Jessica

    1. awww thanks Jessica! Have a very happy week!