Chandeliers are almost always associated with crystal strings and dangling pendants. These crystals create beautiful light effects and can look quite elegant, but there is more to these beautiful pieces than just attaching them to a hanging light fixture. All crystals are not equal – the look of the chandelier and the play of light across the fixture will be different depending on which type is used. To ensure you get the chandelier you’re envisioning, make sure you understand the crystals used and the different options available.
Smooth or Cut?
Crystals can be of two types: cut or smooth.
Smooth crystals look like droplets of water – they have flowing curves and few, if any, sharp edges Cut crystals, on the other hand, have facets created by cutting the edges so every part is a flat plane in some direction. Cut crystals are also referred to as “faceted crystals” for this reason.
Cut crystals are shaped like gemstones found in rings – the flat edges create sparkling colors like those found in a prism. If you want to avoid a distinct glitter, go with smooth crystals – the smooth curves won’t reflect light so sharply, and the chandelier will shine without sparkling as much as one using cut crystals.
Keep in mind the size of the crystals that come with your chandelier. Larger crystals will be easier to see, while a large number of smaller crystals will create an effect of sparkling light. Also be sure the size of the crystal fits or is proportional to the size of the chandelier – some of the smaller fixtures need equally smaller crystals to keep the frame from being overwhelmed, while larger ones will need larger crystals to balance the larger size.
The crystal size also affects the style of the chandelier as a whole – larger crystals will have a more dramatic effect, which may or may not match the look of the room the fixture is placed in.
Crystals come in a large variety of shapes. No matter what style you are looking for, there is a crystal shape to match it.
Prism crystals are droplet shaped, and are nearly always made from cut crystal. The crystal then catches and reflects the light, like the prism for which it is named.
Chain crystal is created from many smaller pieces that are strung together into a chain, usually strung from the main chandelier frame out to the arms. It can also be called draped crystal, as it is draped between the framework of the chandelier.
Bead crystals are spherical, usually relatively small. These can be cut or smooth – the smooth crystals are clear and polished spheres, while the cut beads sparkle in every direction from the many angles of the facets.
Spear crystals are either at the end of a chain or pendants hanging separately. Spear crystals are pointed at the ends – they can resemble arrowheads with a curved tip, or they may be cut sharply at the bottom to look like icicles.
Although many people think of clear crystal when they imagine chandeliers, there are a variety of colored crystals available, which may be useful for matching the chandelier shades or the colors of a room. Although colored crystal is less common, if it’s a unique look you want, it is sure to create an appealing surprise.
Crystals are an expected part of many chandeliers, but there are still many options available. Take the time to make sure you’re getting the right style, cut, and color to get the effect you want from your chandelier.