Luxury chandeliers

Posted by Carl Mallory on
Luxury chandeliers
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 Marie 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 pieces 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.

 

How can you tell whether a chandelier is as high-end as it claims to be?

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.

 

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, but 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.

 

CHOOSING CRYSTAL TYPES

 

First of all, think about the look you want to achieve. Do you want a softly curved, hand-finished effect, or a high-tech sharp-edged modern crystal finish? Once you have answered this question, it becomes much easier.

 

If you want a high-tech finish, we will usually recommend crystals from internationally successful brands such as Swarovski, Asfour, Schöler, or the optical grade crystals seen on the spectacular chandelier below. These are all machine-cut and are prized for their excellent clarity.

 

If you prefer a low-tech effect, we will usually recommend Murano glass chandeliers, crafted individually by hand. 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. There may be tiny defects within the glass which are testament to the nature of their manufacture. Rock crystal is a naturally-occurring clear quartz which has a hefty price tag, but its clarity is superb. This high-end chandelier comes with lovely gold shades.

 

 

Here again, there are things to look out for.

 

There are two types of coloured glass. Solid coloured glass, where pigment is mixed into its molten state is infinitely preferable to painted glass, as the depth of colour will be much 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!

 

High-quality crystal. Lead oxide provides sparkle. The higher the percentage of lead oxide, the stronger the crystal, and the better your new chandelier will glitter! Fine lead crystal may have a lead percentage of maybe 6, but full lead crystal will have a percentage closer to 30. Companies like Swarovski, however are now producing lead-free crystals, as they are more eco-friendly.


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