What is a Chandelier?
A chandelier is a form of lighting fixture with long arms and often multiple candles. It is made from various materials, including cast or carved metal and gilded wood. The earliest chandeliers were of simple design, but the form developed into more ornate and decorative styles as time went on.
Chandeliers can be found throughout history, but were most commonly used in European homes from the early 18th century to about 1900. Their aesthetics were heavily influenced by the neoclassical period, and they often featured elements of ancient Greek or Roman style.
They are also associated with the use of lead glass, which was a very expensive material at the time but still a good alternative to glass that was much less common. The lead infused glass is able to scatter light better than other types of glass, and is known for its clarity, resonance and softness.
There are many types of chandeliers, and each one varies in size, shape and materials. Some are entirely glass, while others are constructed from other materials, such as brass or metal.
The main part of the chandelier is the arms, which are often shaped into branches, and can be twisted, swiveled or curved. They can be angled upwards or downwards, and are sometimes held in place by a metal stem.
Other parts of a chandelier include the base, a narrow slit or cup at which a candle is usually held. The base is sometimes fitted with a dish designed to catch wax drips.
A large spike of glass, round in section or flat sided, to which arms and other decorations may be attached. It is used in chandeliers, but is also commonly a fixture for candlesticks on the floor.
The term candelabra is also used to describe a type of candlestick with arms. These are usually branched, with one or more cups and prickets at each end for securing the candles.
Some candelabra also have a single candle at the centre, forming an asymmetrical cross with arms. This is often a cheaper and less ornate alternative to the more elaborate crown-style chandeliers, and can be found in many antiques stores.
It can be a very decorative piece of furniture and is often made with carved or gilded wood, which reflects the taste for ornamental metals in the late 18th century. A candelabra is also a very popular gift item for weddings or christenings.