The facts about chandelier crystals used in various light fixtures today are important to know if you’re looking to purchase a chandelier or any other type of crystal light fixture. With the aid of this crucial information, you can choose the ideal item for your taste, space, and spending limit. Additionally, you can dazzle your loved ones with your newly acquired chandelier jewelry expertise!
All crystals are made of glass. However, the glass used to make chandelier crystals is very different from the glass used in windows, drinking glasses, glasses, etc. Crystal contains lead oxide, which makes it heavier and has a higher index of refraction than ordinary glass. This means the crystals are brighter, more sparkly and prismatic.
The lead oxide content in chandelier crystals is important, but it is also safe for consumers’ health. The rule is that the more lead oxide in the crystal, the better it will reflect light, so the higher the lead oxide content, the better. Lead oxide content falls into three main categories:
1. Crystal glass: It is glass containing 6% to 10% lead oxide, but the American standard allows transparent glass containing any amount of lead oxide to be called crystal.
2. Semi-lead: Refers to 24% to 30% lead oxide.
3. All-lead crystals: Refers to crystals with more than 30% lead oxide content.
There are three basic methods of making chandelier crystals: machine cut, hand cut, and hand blown.
1. Machine cut crystal: produces sharp facets, precise polish and visual purity.
2. Hand-cut crystal: Sometimes made by traditional methods, that is, cutting with an iron and a sandstone wheel, and then polishing on a wooden wheel filled with marble powder. But hand-cut crystals are also made using more modern methods. Some varieties of hand-cut crystal include Czech crystal, Heritage crystal, Regal crystal, Crystalique crystal, and Turkish crystal.
3. Hand blown crystal: Venetian and Murano crystals are hand blown by artisans rather than cut, so the crystals have smooth rounded edges. Mouthblowing creates a one-of-a-kind, heirloom-quality work of art.
Now that you know the three basic methods of crystal making, here are some of the types of crystals you might see when shopping for a chandelier.
Crystals (as seen in the Schonbeck Renaissance) appeared in the earliest crystal chandeliers, dating back to the 16th century, and replaced actual candles as a method of amplifying and reflecting light. Today, however, real crystal chandeliers are often only seen in palaces and museums. Crystals are actually as old as the earth itself, and each crystal is unique, formed by geological events that occurred over millions of years. Cool to the touch, crystals are natural and must be mined, cut and polished by a gem cutter.
Colored crystals are used in many different types of chandeliers to achieve different effects. Almost any color you can think of can be found in colored crystals. The color is applied to the crystals, like this Hinckley Carlton chandelier.
Originating from and named after Venice, Italy, Venetian crystal is molded, not cut. It is usually fire-polished to have rounded edges, and it contains soda and lime instead of lead oxide, so it appears softer. It’s not as bright as cut crystal, but it’s a good budget option for some clients. The ET2 Fiori is an example of how hand-blown Murano crystals may be sculpted into circles, flowers, and other shapes. They can also be colored.
Egyptian or Gemcut crystals are high in lead oxide. Although they are perfect, crisp, and transparent, they lack Swarovski crystals’ optical purity.
Swarovski is the best crystal in the world, and when you think of crystal, you probably think of Swarovski. Produced in the Austrian Alps, it is clear, perfect, unique, pure and brilliant. It is refined by machine and contains more than 30% lead. Some Swarovski crystals have an optical coating for easier cleaning, but their Spectra crystals (used in the Crystorama Butler wall light shown) do not. Swarovski crystals also come in a variety of colors.
K9 crystals are an excellent choice for the value-conscious consumer. After mass production, it is cut and polished to look like more expensive crystal, but with precise faceting. Elan Rockne bath light features K9 crystal.
Chandelier crystals, which can be cut and polished into various shapes and sizes, are called pendalogues, although they are sometimes spelled pendeloques. Common cut styles for chandelier crystals include:
Some chandeliers may only use one type of pendant, while others have multiple cutouts!
When you’re looking for a chandelier, keep size in mind. If you’re hanging your chandelier over a table (like a dining room), measure the diameter of the table and look for a chandelier that’s between 2/3 and 3/4 the width or diameter. If you’re adding a chandelier to your foyer, a good rule of thumb is to add the width and length (in feet) of the foyer to find the ideal diameter or width of the light.
Also keep in mind that the higher the ceiling, the taller the chandelier should be and that the base of the light fixture should be no lower than 8 feet from the ground. A good rule of thumb is that no matter where it is, the chandelier needs to maintain proportion: Too big and your space will look crowded, but too small and it doesn’t stand out enough.
Remember that crystals require regular cleaning to keep them looking their best. Clean your pendant light every 6 to 9 months. Some people take out all the crystals to clean them individually, but if you don’t want to, here’s an easy way to do it: Fill a spray bottle with a solution of one part isopropyl alcohol to three parts distilled water. Then, using a clean white cotton cloth or gloves, spray the solution onto the cloth or hand and wipe the crystals. Dry the crystal immediately with a dry cloth or gloves.
But if you do want to remove the crystals for cleaning, be sure to mark where each crystal goes so you can reinstall them properly. Use warm soapy water and palm olive soap. Then rinse with water and dry with a soft, clean cloth.