Crystal Chandeliers past and present

The word chandelier brings to mind opulence, extravagance and wealth, but the first of these light fittings were actually simple, cheap and born out of necessity. Originally, chandeliers (the name comes from the french word for candle holders) were wooden crosses suspended from the ceiling. Candles were placed along the timber, dripping wax as they burned. Over the centuries these lights were improved upon, and in medieval times there were large metal constructions hanging on chains in castles and houses of nobility.

In the 16th Century, early rock crystal chandeliers begun to appear. The decoration on these large candle lights was made from transparent quartz and the shapes tended to be irregular and a little rough. From the mid 1700s lead crystal from Bohemia (now named the Czech Republic) was used which could be cut more precisely. Chandeliers were then hung in palaces and churches around the world and represented wealth and status. Louis XIV of France had some fabulously ornate light chandeliers commissioned and the rich of Europe tried to out-style each other with more and more elaborate designs.

Gas lighting in England was introduced in the early 1800s. It took about 50 years before it was trusted enough to be used widely inside homes. Gas chandeliers took the place of candle light fittings and they were seen in grand homes. They were expensive to buy and run, so they were just placed in hallways and in the main entertaining room.

With the introduction of electricity, and with the price of glass more affordable, chandeliers became a lot more commonplace. Today chandeliers are made from a variety of materials in a range of styles and they are fitted in almost every room in the house. They still make a statement in a hallway, especially if the ceilings are high, and they make a beautiful centre-piece in a living room. In the dining room a crystal chandelier can be used to create an intimate atmosphere if hung low and close the table. For a romantic look, these light fittings can be added effectively in the main bedroom with matching, low-watt side tables.  Please visit our website www.crystalschandelier.co.uk