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14 / Sep 2012

Lighting Restoration

We are asked all the time where our stock comes from.  This is not an easy question to answer in one sentence, so I decided it was about time to make it a blog post.

The easy way…. Customers often email or visit the shop with items that they are looking to sell. This can end in disappointment, but we do have some great finds.  One gentleman phoned to say that he had a vast collection of antique crystal as his grandfather (Mr Snooke) used to make and restore chandeliers.  Suffice to say the wooden crates full of Victorian alberts and coffin droppers are carefully stored in our crystal room and often get ‘dipped into’ when Margaret is dressing an old chandelier.

My favourite story involved a customer who came into the shop looking to place a small order for reproduction lights.  He politely asked if we’d mind taking a look at a couple of lights his mother had just taken down and if we would consider them in part exchange.  It turned out they were a pair of highly collectible vaseline glass pendants and the gentleman was delighted to leave with his new lights and a nice cheque!

The hard way…

Sadly most of the best finds don’t just walk in through the door.  It takes a lot of effort to track things down.  Many auctions list crystal chandeliers as Victorian, Edwardian or even Georgian when they are, in reality, considerably younger than I am (no cheeky comments please)!  Many a time we travel a considerable distance to a house, auction room or antique dealer, only to return empty handed, especially as online auctions now command such high prices for the genuine article.  However, there is nothing to match the thrill of loading a prized new item in the van following an auction.  Despite having to pay for it, it manages to feel like winning!

The fun way…

However, by far the most fun way to buy fittings is at an antique fair or market, except for in the middle of winter!