As a young woman, Duchin used her knowledge gained in fashion and retail to tap into the growing holiday ornament market. She created a niche by crafting personalized gold tone, silver tone, and later pewter, ornaments. After 30 years, the company has created more than 100 million ornaments.
LoveToKnow Christmas had a chance to talk with Robyn Smalletz, president of Gloria Duchin and the founder's daughter, about the company's most popular keepsakes and the latest trends.
About Gloria Duchin Ornaments
LoveToKnow (LTK): Robyn, when your mother, Gloria, started the company 30 years ago, was there as much of an interest in Christmas ornaments and collectibles as there is now, or was she taking a chance?
Robyn Smalletz (RS): Thirty years ago, when my mother founded the company, there was a tremendous interest in Christmas ornaments, especially engraved and personalized styles. This interest has steadily continued over the years.
LTK: Making ornaments in pewter, gold tone and silver tone is an interesting artistic choice. Why those materials?
RS: Silver and gold are central colors of the holiday season. My mother's first collection was designed in a gold tone finish. Quality was imperative, and closely monitored as it is today. As the collections evolved to include silver tone, assortments were accented with Swarovski crystals, earning the designs the reputation of "Jewelry for Your Tree."
We then introduced pewter to the design palette because of the beautiful sheen of the metal and its natural softness. We are able to capture much more detail in pewter than some of the other substrates. It is a lovely balance of metals to work with, and since we pride ourselves on making memories, crafting metal ornaments makes sense, because of its durability and long-lasting life.
LTK: Tell us a little about the artistic process for designing pieces.
RS: I am continually inspired by the beautiful bounty of colors and designs that nature offers us, and often use natural elements in our designs.
I am also mindful of what's taking place and influencing our society. For example, the most recent downturn in our economy has terribly impacted so many. There is a sense of pause right now and reflection. You'll find this sentiment translating into our collections of 2009 that focus on family photo ornaments and angels of inspiration.
We also continue to see a demand for our military photo ornaments that support our men and women in the armed services. This collection has become an important cornerstone in our line since 9/11.
Inspirational Ornaments Highlight the Season
LTK: The Gloria Duchin Inspirational Collection is a beautiful reminder of the season. Are these popular among collectors, and are there plans to expand the line?
RS: Each year, we design a new series of six pewter angels packaged in collectible story boxes. Our angel collections are among our most popular, not only because they are beautifully designed, but because they are also inscribed with inspirational messaging or Bible verses.
We also have seen growth in the remembrance category of ornaments, whether people have a place for a photo to remember a lost loved one or a tender poem that reflects on their memory.
LTK: What are some of your favorite ornaments?
RS: I think we have some beautiful angel designs, and I always like to use inspirational pieces in my décor. I am also fond of some of our whimsy ornaments as well. The pink glitter flamingo is a favorite, and also our pewter martini ornament with a Swarovski crystal olive.
LTK: Please tell us how you decorate for the holidays.
RS: I have five different Christmas trees in my home decorated in different themes. The tree in my sunroom is gardening-themed, wrapped in floral organza ribbon and decorated with ornaments from the Gloria Duchin Gardening Collection. The tree in my family room is draped with leopard print ribbon and features some of our more whimsical designs. My favorite tree is the one in my living room. I decorated the ends of the branches with dried bunches of hydrangea from my garden and used some of our gold tone angel ornaments as accent pieces.
Choose Your Favorite Gloria Duchin Ornaments
- Check the site frequently.
- When the holidays are over, remember Gloria Duchin ornaments for other special occasions, including wedding and baby gifts.