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What are antique chandeliers?

Antique chandeliers, whether large or small, can be an impressive focal point of a room. Consisting of a glass or metal frame, arms and beautiful crystal decorations, an antique crystal chandelier is the definition of luxury.

What are antique chandeliers made from? 

Generally, the frame of antique chandeliers are made from brass, however this can be bronze in the more high end fixtures. They will also include lead cut crystal droplets with crystal stem covers, bobeches, pots, pans and sometimes crystal arms.

What the difference between antique crystal and modern crystal 

The difference between antique and modern crystal is that modern cystal is often highly machine polished giving it a very bright hard sparkle where as Antique crystal generally have a higher lead content, which made them easier to cut and less likely to shard, very important at a time when crystals were cut by hand. Modern crystal doesn’t quite have the same prismatic qualities and is normally moulded glass

Do antique crystal chandeliers need to be big?

Vintage chandeliers don’t necessarily need to be big lighting fixtures. A small crystal bag chandelier can catch the eye in just the same way as a large and extravagant crystal chandelier. With lower ceilings space there is not the space or a huge crystal chandelier, which is where a smaller vintage or antique crystal chandelier may be the perfect fit for you.

What do you look for when buying antique chandeliers?

It can be a minefield when buying an antique crystal chandelier, with many bearing false claims of being original Georgian or Victorian. The most important piece of advice is to buy something you love, whatever its provenance, you should be enjoying it every day for many years. Whether buying antique crystal or metal chandeliers, these few pointers will help you choose the right lighting fixture for you. 

The Crystal

Identifying whether a crystal is of fine quality antique crystal can be done by firstly looking at the sharpness of the cut crystal. A nice, sharp cut crystal represents good quality crystal. Additionally, the higher the quality of the crystal, the more colour refracts from it when it is hit by light, due to its higher lead content. The higher lead content crystals also have a slight grey tint to them. Take a look at the gallery images of this fine quality Perry & Co chandelier. If you look closely you can spot the fine cut crystal stem as well as the colour of the crystal. 

The Metal Work

Ensure the framework of the metal or crystal chandelier looks and feels substantial. Weight can be a very rough starting point for a quality chandelier, brass and bronze are heavy, so if a large chandelier is lightweight it most probably isn’t cast brass. Chandeliers of a higher quality will include cast detail, the design details (be it acanthus leaves, ribbons, rams heads or cherubs etc.) look a bit ‘lumpy’, they should be avoided. Quality light fittings feature sharper, more detailed decoration than those of cheaper alternatives. Take a look at the gallery images on this 6 branch metal chandelier and look at the substantial cast detailing on this heavy chandelier. 

Where can antique chandeliers be used?

Entrance hall

A stunning antique classic chandelier makes an unforgettable greeting for guests, when installed in an entrance hall. Placing the light fitting in a space with high ceilings, such as a hallway, is advised to ensure the chandelier can be admired from a distance.  

Stairwell

Stairwells are a great place for an antique crystal chandelier, due to the large, free space that is usually offered in a stairwell. Walking up the stairs, you can admire the chandelier from all angles, without the worry of knocking it.  

Dining room

Antique classic chandeliers are a popular addition to the dining room. Perfect for dining and hosting parties beneath, our range of antique crystal chandeliers make for an incredible centerpiece. They are fantastic for adding a touch of luxury and glamour to your dining room and the advantage of placing a chandelier over a table is that you can ‘Go large’ because no one needs to walk under it! The ultimate statement lighting is an oversize chandelier for your dining table. Alternatively, go more traditional with a metal chandelier, great for a dining room with a little less space.   

Common parts of antique chandeliers

Bobeche 

The bobeche, also known as the ‘pan’ or ‘dish’, sits at the end of each arm, originally designed to collect candle wax when candles were used to light chandeliers.

Finial

The finial is a key piece of a chandelier, it's the part everyone sees! When admiring a chandelier from below, it's the part that sits central at the bottom on most metal chandeliers. It is a decorative piece and with most crystal chandeliers it is a substantial crystal ball suspended from the bottom of the chandelier.

The Stem

The stem is the part of a chandelier that often distinguishes one from another. It is usually covered by a decorative glass sleeve, which can feature cut glass detailing or blown glass globes or urn shaped pieces. The stem runs up the centre of a chandelier, like the stem of a plant, it carries the weight of the chandelier and the electric feed from the arms to the top fixing.

How to clean an antique chandelier?

A regular dusting with a soft cloth should be sufficient to keep your chandelier clean. Do not use abrasive cleaners as they will damage the finish of your antique light fitting

Click here to read our full antique lighting cleaning tips

I can't find the antique chandelier I am looking for? 

What you see on our website isn’t all that we have to offer. Here at Fritz Fryer we have a huge selection of un restored antique chandeliers, in a range of styles and prices. If you can’t currently find what you are looking for, head to our contact us page and fill in the relevant contact details, one of our skilled staff will be happy to assist you in your antique chandelier search and selection from our gorgeous chandeliers that are waiting to be restored.

Popular antique chandelier styles

The right style antique chandelier does not only fill a space, it makes a space. Here's our top three favourite antique chandelier styles.

Waterfall & Bag chandelier

Waterfall and bag chandeliers are a very popular style for hallways and passageways. They consist of long strings of crystals, attached to a smaller ring and cascading down to be attached to a largerring beneath.

Cage chandelier 

Cage chandeliers are a French style, recognisable for it’s visible frame and lack of central stem. In this style, the metal frame is decorated with beautiful spires and crystal droplets. A cage chandelier can be a little simpler in looks and smaller in size, making them a fantastic addition to a bedroom.

Click here and take a look at the gallery images of this cage chandelier that we have restored. 

Multi branch Chandelier

A multi branch chandelier is a traditional and recognisable style of chandelier. Smaller chandeliers have between 3 to 6 arms, with larger chandeliers featuring multiple tiers and upwards of 8 to 12 branches. The more arms the chandelier has, the more bulbs or candles it can hold, making it a better source of light. Multi branch chandeliers can be both metal or crystal and are popular over a dining table.

Click here to view images of a metal multi branch F&C Osler chandelier, restored by us.

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