History and Styles of Chandeliers
How many times have we looked up at the ceiling when entering a church, a theatre or a sumptuous hall, and admired and marvelled at the glittering chandeliers that often adorn those rooms.
But when were the chandeliers we love so much created and how have they evolved over the centuries? What are the styles that have gradually followed and flanked each other?
Let’s find out together!
In my childhood, and still today, I always found that what is most beautiful in a theatre is the chandelier – a beautiful, crystalline, complicated, circular and symmetrical light object.
How did we arrive at the magnificence of the French chandeliers of the mid-19th century, with their Bohemian crystals and preciously decorated structures, which so enchanted the famous French poet Charles Baudelaire?
The chandelier originated in very ancient times: as early as the 5th century BC, in Italy, there is evidence of structures that were hung from simple oil lamps.
In the Middle Ages, chandeliers began to take on the characteristics we are all familiar with: the structures became circular, candles were inserted in special arms and chandeliers began to leave the sacred spaces where they had been relegated until then, to appear in private buildings.
However, it was in Italy, during the 16th century, that chandeliers began to shine thanks to the use of rock crystals, which were more reflective than glass, and therefore more brilliant and opulent.
Decorations became richer and richer, until the last important innovation in France in the 18th century: expensive rock crystal was replaced by Bohemian crystal. As chandeliers became less expensive, they received the final push to be used in the many contexts we know today.
Hot Air Balloon Chandeliers
In this type of chandelier, crystal chains, octagons or prisms are hung from a structure that resembles the shape of a basket or a hot-air balloon.
In addition to the more classic form without arms and shades, there is also a version with them.
The photo shows our 12-light Helena chandelier, which features a brass and cast brass structure, beveled crystal octagons and pendants, and curled lampshades in fuchsia silk organza with fuchsia velvet trimmings.
Italian chandeliers are characterised by a much more pronounced decorative spirit, with intricate workmanship of the structure and a predominance of crystals and coloured stones.
The cradle of chandelier making is the small island of Murano, near Venice, where for centuries master glassmakers have been creating small, finely crafted and most often coloured glass elements, thanks to which Italian chandeliers have become synonymous with splendour and luminescence.
Our Clarice chandelier is characterised by pink prisms in Bohemian crystal and bunches and cherries in precious Murano glass.
Marie Therese Chandeliers
In the middle of the 18th century a chandelier was created in Austria in honour of Empress Maria Theresa, which gave rise to a whole genre.
Maria Theresa chandeliers are characterised by a gilded metal frame, with protruding arms and decorated with Bohemian crystal elements.
The Kerima chandelier, a splendid example of this type of chandelier, features a brass and cast brass frame, bevelled Bohemian crystal gems and a patinated 24kt gold finish.
Empire chandeliers have their roots in the ancient world, but use elements such as frets and garlands of fine Bohemian crystal in a modern way.
These chandeliers can elegantly decorate large spaces, even if only thanks to the natural light reflected by the crystals, providing an exciting play of light.
The photo shows our Sophie chandelier, with a brass and cast brass structure, octagons and gems in ground crystal and patinated 24kt gold finish.
French-style chandeliers have a slender structure, with relatively less protruding arms than Maria Theresa-style chandeliers.
A distinctive feature of French-style chandeliers is the rich decoration: chains, drops and prisms of Bohemian crystal embellish the structure of the chandelier, giving elegance to any room in which they are inserted.
Our Paris 10-light chandelier features a metal frame, a hand-cut crystal column, Murano glass arms, Bohemian crystal octagons and gems and a nickel finish.
Today, chandeliers have lost none of the fascination they have exerted on all of us for centuries. Thanks to the use of new materials and new technologies, they are becoming increasingly popular, even in smaller rooms, revolutionising interior design and the concept of lighting.
Often used to create colour contrasts, for example by opting for strong colours such as red or pink, or by being placed in contexts where their use had never been suggested before, such as above a kitchen counter, chandeliers remain an element of timeless charm and still able to arouse wonder and amazement in the eyes of those who admire them.