The Christopher Radko Company

Maker of Fine Hand-Blown Glass Christmas Ornaments

25th Anniversary Santa. Christopher Radko Company

The Christopher Radko Company began making custom-designed, hand-blown Christmas ornaments after the Radko's family tree fell, breaking over a thousand glass heirlooms. Christopher, as a result, began gathering the best glass blower he could find to help him recreate these priceless mementos.

By 1986, his custom-designed collection consisted of 65 ornaments that hit the market and made the company an immediate success, selling over 18 million of these delicate Christmas ornaments across Europe and the United States in their 30 years of production.

Now, the ornaments are produced in several European countries—Poland, Germany, Italy and the Czech Republic—and each ornament is still made the old fashioned way and takes seven days to create; over 10,000 different items have been created over the past 20 years.

The Different Radko Lines

Over the years the Radko name has grown to include numerous products that fall into three lines: mouth-blown glass ornaments, Home for the Holidays (tabletop/decorative accessories) and Shiny-Brite, retro looking ornaments and decorations.

Several years ago—and much to the chagrin of long-time collectors—Radko produced an exclusive line for Target, but the line was limited and the differences between it and the originals were obvious to an expert collector, but many felt it hurt the brand name in the long run.

Still, Christmas collectors can be easily overwhelmed when looking at the hundreds of different designs produced every year (1,100 in 2006), so sometimes it is best to focus in on a particular type of ornament or design and go from there.

There are lots of choices including whimsical, traditional, or story book styles, as well as ornaments supporting charities and groups—it would be hard to name an item, character or culture which has not been represented by a Radko ornament.

Charity and Benefit Ornaments:

Every year Christopher Radko has numerous ornaments designated to raise funds for various charities including AIDS, Breast Cancer, Pediatric Cancer, Animal Rights Organizations, Diabetes, Heart Disease and The Christopher Radko Foundation for Children in Poland.

Other exclusive ornaments are produced specifically for charities to offer for sale as a fund-raising option. These include St. Jude's, the Dave Thomas Foundation and The M.D. Anderson Cancer Center.

In addition to the extensive Radko open ornament line, many stores have the chance to offer exclusives only available at their store, but these are ornaments available only at a Radko appearance. Over the years Radko has produced numerous licensed ornaments for companies as diverse as Disney, Warner Brothers, and Harley Davidson.

The Bottom Line

The early years of Radko ornaments have risen in value and are difficult to find at a bargain, and people usually know what they have, but secondary markets through newsletters, dealer, or Internet auctions are the way to find the older ornaments. Many stores will also have a few retired ornaments in stock, but you'll have to let your fingers do the walking when trying to find something specific.

Glass ornaments have experienced a rebirth of popularity in the past ten to fifteen years as well, and part of the reason is Christopher Radko and his ornaments and personality. He has appeared on television shows such as The Today Show, HGTV and Oprah and he's also decorated the White House Christmas tree.

Although there are numerous companies producing glass ornaments, there is only one that's a household name: Christopher Radko—collectors and non-collectors may not have any "Radkos" but they know what the company makes!