Early chandeliers were seen as status symbols, associated closely with royalty and great wealth. Louis XV commissioned 42 silver chandeliers for the Hall of Mirrors at Versailles in the 1670s, in an ostentatious display of royal power.A century later, in Bohemia, the Maria Therese chandelier was created to commemorate the coronation of the Empress as Queen. It was ornate and extravagant, and dripped with beautiful Bohemian crystals. In the 18th century, chandeliers in the rich Venetian merchants’ houses were so massive that they were breaking under their own weight. This was a period when displays of wealth were de rigeur, and the city was the envy of the world. A solution had to be found, and metal frames were developed, jacketed with small sleeves of conjoined glass. A chandelier made using this method was first hung in the Rezzonico palace, and chandeliers made in this way are now always called Rezzonico-style chandeliers. You can see the little sleeves clearly here.
At Italian Lighting Centre, all our chandeliers are luxury items. They don’t have mass-market price tags. There are some which have acrylic elements which are a little more affordable, and only close inspection by someone in the know will reveal your secret. If we have felt in the past that chandeliers don’t live up to their expectations, we remove them from sale. Chandeliers provided by us hang in embassies, palaces, mosques, churches, grand hotels, private residences and upmarket stores all over the world. But how can you tell whether a chandelier is as high-end as it claims to be, especially if you are looking at different sites?
There are a couple of things to consider. Price is a good indicator. A hand-finished luxury chandelier will cost more than a mass-produced one. Lead crystal will be more expensive than clear glass and the refraction of light will be far superior. Consider the quality of the glass. Moulded glass may have unsightly joins, but blown glass will be made in one piece. Check before you buy. Please make sure, too that if you are buying expensive chandeliers, you will be sent certificates of authenticity.
The type of crystal or glass will give you another clue. Internationally successful brands such as Swarovski, Asfour and Schöler are all luxury brands. Their crystals are precisely cut by machine. We would also stand by the optical grade crystals seen on the spectacular chandelier below. We have a sample in our office and it is optically perfect.
If you are looking for an individually hand-crafted chandelier, we would usually recommend Murano glass chandeliers, and we would recommend that you use a specialist like us, as we have close connections with the studios we use, and can have a degree of control over the process, especially if you are having a bespoke item made. Murano glass chandeliers or Venetian glass chandeliers are coveted for their sense of heritage, their craftsmanship, and generous proportions, As they are usually made to order, you are more likely to have an item that is unique to you than if you buy a mass-produced chandelier. Authentic Murano glass chandeliers are shipped with a certificate of authenticity. These luxurious chandeliers will last forever, if cared for properly and cleaned carefully, and if you buy from a specialist like us, we will be able to obtain spare parts if you have a breakage. Today’s Murano chandelier will be tomorrow’s heirloom. There may be tiny defects within the glass which are testament to the nature of their manufacture.You can find our Murano glass chandeliers here:
Rock crystal is a naturally-occurring clear quartz which has a hefty price tag, but its clarity is superb.The photo shows rock crystal pendants in detail. Aren’t they wonderful!
There is one more thing to look out for. Solid coloured glass, where pigment is mixed into its molten state is preferable to painted glass, as the depth of colour will be richer. Our Murano glass fruit chandeliers, for example, have solid glass fruits in such sumptuous colours that you will be tempted to take a bite!