Antique Chandeliers

Antique Chandeliers

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    A Guide to Antique Chandeliers

    By Frances Allen


    Antique chandeliers are a good way to add a sense of old world grace and charm to any living space. This antiquarian light source is also a good way to express one’s vintage sensibilities.


    When shopping for your antique chandelier there are several different types to keep in mind: candle, crystal, wrought iron, brass, and antler. The most popular type of chandelier purchased today is the crystal chandelier. It is a good idea to familiarize yourself with the time period and history of chandeliers, as styles will vary from decade to decade. For instance, there are Victorian, Art Deco, Art Nouveau, French, Rococo, and Baroque antique styles. There are a variety of ways to find the perfect style that is right for you. On top of going to any antique dealer specializing in light fixtures, you can also find some pretty good deals on ebay, although you should judge by age and size whether you would want such an item shipped over a long distance. Also, be wary of the materials that some older antique chandeliers may contain, as at one time, they were made with mercury and lead metal amalgams. Most of the time, the seller may know a little bit about the history of the fixture, but researching this information for yourself will assist you in making an educated and safe purchase.


    The amount of space that your new antique chandelier will occupy, as well as the mood you are going for should be taken into consideration. A large crystal chandelier is typically hung in foyers or dining rooms, but will not look as good hung in bedrooms due to the limited amount of space available most of the time, however this is not always the case. Antique chandeliers that are not as elaborate, such as the Adam Style Chandelier, which is a popular neo – classical English design, can be hung in almost any room of the house due to it’s minimal design. Smaller antique chandeliers, chandelettes, or sconces also complement living rooms and hallways very well.


    Maintenance for your chandelier is very important. The difficulty of this will vary from piece to piece. Let’s say you have purchased a Neo- Baroque Second Empire French chandelier and it weighs two tons. It would be much better to hire a restoration specialist to clean this particularly large and valuable fixture. Otherwise, cleaning a reasonably sized crystal chandelier is not too difficult when done carefully. Antique chandeliers that are not too dirty can be cleaned either by taking off each crystal individually and cleaning them, or leaving the crystals on. Before you take the crystals off, creating an illustration with which to reference where the crystals are to go when you are to them back on, would be helpful.

    A chandelier that is not too dirty can be cleaned using a clean cotton cloth and water of mild, but not hot temperature. Mix a cleaning solution of distilled water and alcohol. Distilled water is preferable because there it dose not contain mineral matter that will leave streaks behind. Likewise, the alcohol will not only clean, but also evaporate quickly leaving no unwanted residue behind. Using chemical cleansers will degrade the finish of your chandelier and should be avoided. 

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