Czech Glass Charms: The Glass Menagerie

glass animal charms

By Mary T. McCarthy

Finding a miniature glass animal on the beach is a dream come true for many beachcombers. Last year at the 2017 North American Sea Glass Association festival, a tiny green glass frog rose to victory, leaping above hundreds of entries to claim the Grand Prize. But where do these tiny glass creatures originate?

sea glass frog glass charm

A great history lies behind the small town of Gablonz and these tiny Czech glass animals, created in the region formerly known as North Bohemia, a glass manufacturing empire since the 13th century. Small workshops produced ornate beads and buttons before costume jewelry became fashionable and used pressed glass molds for mass production. After World War II, the state-run Jablonex factory produced the glass.

sea glass monkey sea glass cat sea glass dog

The glass animal charms were popular jewelry items for export to the United Kingdom, France, and the U.S. in the second half of the 19th century and remained popular into the 1930s. Brass fittings like collars served as attachments for the charms. According to, the glass animals were not originally created for use as Christmas cracker prizes in the United Kingdom, but were often used this way as a toy prize, and the black cat is the most commonly found variation.

collection of glass cracker charm animals

See more Czech glass animal charms ›

Top image courtesy of

Glass monkey: @nature.on.your.neck, Glass cat: @m0n0patin, Glass bulldog: @scottishseaandsandsx

Learn more about beach-found toys and games

toys and game pieces found on the beach

Learn more about marbles, dominos, dice, toy vehicles, and more found on  beaches around the world. Articles ›

1 comment

I have a small collection of minature glass dogs cats monkey and rabbit.

Jill C.Fortney July 05, 2022

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