There are stars in the sky and stars in your eyes, but the glass star ornaments from Higgins Glass in Riverside are the most unique. A holiday favorite for gift giving, the stars come in various color designs and five different sizes. They are reasonably priced from $6 to $10.
According to Louise Wimmer of Higgins Glass, the ornaments have been around since the 1970s and were there when she started at the shop in 1976. A project of the late Michael Higgins, he maintained that the shop should not make too many stars, believing that people would not buy that many of them and they would be stuck with the inventory.
However, people have caught on to the stars and the shop produces about 1,000 per year. They are popular all over the globe — a world map in the store on East Quincy Street points out the where Higgins stars have found their way.
As I write this column, a Higgins star is on its way to Barcelona, Spain with my granddaughter, Elena Duve, who will be studying there for a semester through Illinois Wesleyan University. It will be a gift for her host family. Ole!
The stars began as something to make with the cut-offs from larger pieces. The project has become a family affair. Jonathan Wimmer, Louise’s son, usually cuts all the parts for the ornaments and various members of the Wimmer family come in to lend a hand. A third generation is part of the project; Louise’s granddaughter Sara, 18, comes in to do the sanding of the glass.
Louise Wimmer, who learned from Michael and Frances Higgins, and her son Jonathan, who grew up at the studio and was mentored by Michael Higgins, have continued the artistry and quality.
Michael Higgins would be surprised by the popularity of the little stars and by the number that are made yearly. He possibly might not agree with how many are made, according to Louise Wimmer. However, they are treasures to be given and received.
While traditionally a staple around the holidays, the stars are available during the year at the Higgins Glass Studio, 33 E. Quincy St. in Riverside.