|This article does not cite any references or sources. (July 2008)|
A yard globe, also known as a gazing ball, lawn ball, garden ball, gazing globe, mirror ball, chrome ball, or orb, is a mirrored sphere typically displayed atop a conical ceramic or wrought iron stand as a lawn ornament. Its size ranges from 2 to 22 inches in diameter, with the most popular gazing ball being about 12 inches (33 cm). Gazing balls were glass but can now be stainless steel, ceramic, or stained glass.
Unlike hanging friendship balls or witch balls that have a loop, gazing balls have a stem so they can securely sit in a stand. Larger sizes can be made but prove difficult due to the weight of the blown glass.
Gazing balls originated in 13th century Venice, Italy, where they were hand-blown by skilled craftsmen.
King Ludwig II of Bavaria, sometimes referred to as Mad King Ludwig, adorned his Herrenchiemsee palace with lawn balls. Thereafter, they became a fixture of European gardens and are associated with Victorian era English gardens in particular.