The chandelier is perhaps the oldest form of decorative lighting, marking its earliest appearances in medieval churches as suspended wooden crosses from which candles were mounted. As time went on, it was discovered that natural rock crystal helped reflect candlelight to illuminate larger areas. As crystal became more commonly used to ornament light sources, chandeliers evolved from functional to aesthetic, and eventually became symbols of wealth and power.
The development of lead oxide glass in the 17th century changed chandeliers for ever, as it was much softer and easier to cut than natural crystal - and much more brilliant. To this day we use the word 'crystal" for this lead glass. The new innovation allowed more intricate designs and enhanced the light-scattering properties of the 'crystal', encouraging artisans the world over to create the magnificent and varied styles of crystal chandelier we see today.
We live in an era which welcomes self-expression and creativity in the home. So, this season if you want to add a little dramatic flair and originality to your home, consider a crystal chandelier.
"The beauty of crystal is that it can be incorporated into any home design. Don’t feel that an elegant crystal chandelier needs an elegant setting; the combination of unexpected textures and details can create a fabulous look in every home. From a modern crystal pendant to a traditional foyer chandelier, crystal adds the right finishing touch to any space," said Bud Wright, ATG Stores Sales Associate.
Strass® Swarovski Crystal
Regarded by industry leaders as the finest crystal in the world, Strass® is noted for its incredible clarity and internal flawlessness. Strass® crystals are composed of over 30% lead and are cut by machine to achieve technical perfection; their razor sharp facets meet precisely at one focal point to achieve peak refraction and an optically pure prism. Each crystal is then polished by hand, given an optical coating to resist dust accumulation, and finally laser inscribed, giving each piece the Strass® mark of excellence.
Egyptian Crystal (Gemcut)
Offering unmatched brilliance due to extremely high lead content, Egyptian (or Gemcut) crystal produces a high quality crystal with extreme clarity, sharpness, and is nearly flawless. While Egyptian crystal is a leader in brilliance, it is not as optically pure as the crystals produced by the Strass® or Swarovski methods.
Swarovski Spectra® Crystal
Manufactured in the Austrian Alps through the same process as the Strass® crystal, but without the optical coating.Spectra® offers both design appeal and quality for the crystal connoisseur looking for a great value.
Majestic Wood Polished Crystal
Wood polishing creates a high quality finish for cut crystal. This centuries old method involves running freshly cut facets on a wood wheel impregnated with marble dust, producing a high quality polish that is the mark of true artisan ability. Each wood polished crystal piece is finished by hand, creating masterpieces through tradition.
Hailing from the renowned glass-making regions around Venice, Italian crystal is formed with molds rather than precision cutting. The crystal is finished by fire-polishing or hydro-flouric acid, resulting in a distinct rounding of the edges. Although not as brilliant as cut crystal, molded crystals provide exceptional value and are a great alternative for large-scale or commercial applications.
Murano crystal is mouth-blown to create a variety of shapes and sizes. Each piece is a truly unique work of art, and can be colored for added drama.
Each Czech crystal is created through an old world process of hand pouring into a mold, hand-cutting to achieve precision facets, and hand-polishing. The Czech method produces a variety of shapes and cuts that are unique to the Czech style, with a refinement and brilliance not seen elsewhere.
Unlike the entirely man-made lead glass crystal, rock crystal is a natural mineral which cannot be produced by any methods other than millions of years of geological activity. It is mined and cut as it is found, with each rock containing tiny inclusions, fissures, and crystalline explosions which make no two pieces alike. Rock crystal is a rare clear quartz, and due to its natural complexity it must be hand-cut and polished through incredibly difficult artisan processes. Rock crystal is only found in remote areas of the earth, which makes the process of mining, hand-cutting, and hand-polishing even more remarkable.