The Jewelry Insider

December 28, 2010

Ever wondered how they make the iconic New Year’s Eve ball that drops in Times Square every year? has all the glittering details.

Every year, millions of onlookers gawk at the blazing glory that is the Waterford Crystal New Year’s Eve ball as it makes its descent in the middle of Times Square. So how do they make it so, well, shiny?

In 2008, Waterford redesigned the ball into a 12 foot geodesic sphere, double the size of previous balls, weighing in at a whopping 11,875 pounds. The sphere is covered in 2,668 Waterford Crystal triangles perfect for refracting light and powered by 32,256 Philips Luxeon Rebel LED bulbs.

For 2011, the 250-year-old crystal company designed 288 new “Let There Be Love” crystal triangles featuring a romantic pattern that blends a modern cascade of hearts with diamond cutting. 288 triangles are emblazoned with last year’s “Let There Be Courage” design of a ribbon medal defining the triumph of courage over adversity; and 1,152 triangles sparkle with the “Let There Be Joy” design of an angel with arms uplifted welcoming the New Year. The remaining 960 triangles are the original “Let There Be Light” design of a stylized radiating sunburst.

Revelers began celebrating New Year’s Eve in Times Square as early as 1904, but it was in 1907 that the New Year’s Eve Ball made its maiden descent from the flagpole atop One Times Square.

The first New Year’s Eve Ball, made of iron and wood and adorned with one hundred 25-watt light bulbs, was only 5 feet in diameter and weighed 700 pounds.

We’ve come a long way, baby.

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