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Buying crystal light fixtures

 
 
Reply Thu 31 Mar, 2011 08:34 am
I've been looking for a light fixture for our guest room and I'm really liking some of the crystal fixtures (not chandeliers) I've been seeing.

I've noticed that there is a huge jump in prices between similar lights by different manufacturers. Are you just paying for the name or are there real differences in the quality of the light? I don't want to make a decision bases solely on price and I'm willing to pay a little more if it's really worth it.

Also, are they impossibly hard to keep clean and sparkly? Is it a pain in the neck to change the bulbs? Are there things I should consider? They're kind of expensive and I don't want to regret my decision.

I'm looking at lights in styles similar to these:

http://image.lampsplus.com/is/image/29574.fpx?qlt=75&wid=330&hei=330&fit=constrain&fmt=jpeg

http://image.lampsplus.com/is/image/50548.fpx?qlt=75&wid=330&hei=330&fit=constrain&fmt=jpeg
 
BumbleBeeBoogie
 
  1  
Reply Thu 31 Mar, 2011 09:47 am
@boomerang,
Selecting Your Chandelier or Pendant:

Chandelier styles continue to evolve as lifestyles change. Today we see much greater attention to authentic details in fixture construction and finishes. Current buyers have a greater appreciation for authenticity and attention to detail.

Matte finishes such as brushed nickel, brushed steel or aged and weathered patinas provide a chandelier with more depth and one that blends smoothly with a variety of decors. The move toward a more informal home décor style has increased the popularity of painted and textured finishes.

• Begin with function. What space do you need to illuminate?
Chandeliers are used for general lighting. Pendants may be used for general or task lighting.

Either chandeliers or pendants may have coordinating wall sconces, table and floor lamps or ceiling fixtures.

• Where will the chandelier be used?

Today, there are no limits in chandelier usage. Chandeliers and pendants are right at home in the breakfast room, patio, home office and den, as well as the formal dining room

• How large should the chandelier be?

For a chandelier installed over a dining table, choose a chandelier with a diameter equal to one-half the width of the table. The chandelier should hang approximately 30 inches from the tabletop to the lowest part of the chandelier. For a chandelier installed in an entry foyer, add the width and length dimensions of the foyer together. The total width plus length equals the chandelier diameter. Example: For a 14’ x 18’ foyer, add 14 +18 = 32, for a 32” diameter chandelier.

• What style are you using throughout your home? What style is the room?
Chandelier or pendants can blend with your decor or serve as a distinctive focal point in the room.

• What colors are used in the room?

Collect paint sample and fabric swatches for each room to facilitate matching and coordinating chandelier or pendant fixtures.

• What is your lighting budget?

Chandelier prices vary widely, from gem cut crystal to simple globes. Fortunately, in the thousands of style choices you will find a suitable chandelier within your budget.

• Have you seen chandeliers that you like?

Collect pictures of chandeliers from the internet or in magazines that appeal to you.

• Insist on quality - quality in the chandelier or pendant product, quality in service and quality in the lighting center and installation personnel.

A chandelier is not just for a formal dining room. The ever-expanding choices of chandelier styles, finishes and design options have increased chandelier popularity. Whatever your décor, whatever your lifestyle, a chandelier can add comfort and distinction to any room, including the living room, den, great room, media room, kitchen, bath and home office. Specially designed chandeliers or pendants for use in damp or wet areas are ideal for the patio, bath, swimming pool cabana, workshop, garage and gazebo.

How to Recognize Quality in Chandeliers and Pendants:

It’s All In The Details:

From the design concept to the final quality control inspection, quality resides in the many details of chandelier construction. Quality in chandeliers means authenticity in design details and fine craftsmanship that starts with the highest quality raw materials. Quality in function and design is in the attention to details from start to finish.

Crystal Chandelier: Crystals used in chandeliers may be hand cut, gem cut or molded. Lead content may or may not be representative of high quality as lead is added as a softener to facilitate cutting and polishing. Many top quality crystal chandeliers may contain no lead.

Chandelier Finishes: Finishes should be both durable and handsome. A wide variety of high quality chandelier finishes increase durability, resisting tarnish, corrosion and flaking. Brushed metal finishes and painted finishes have gained popularity and are top sellers today. Look for any imperfections, bubbles, chips or scratches that may indicate lesser attention to detail.

Chandelier Lights: Chandelier lights add a distinctive appearance that enhances the look and feel of an entire room. Lights complement the chandelier design and create an ambiance of comfort. High quality chandelier lights are crafted with utmost care to blend with the other chandelier elements for a total design look. Whether they are candlestick lights or hand molded crystal shades or carefully crafted Tiffany style pendant shades, chandelier lights should be well constructed and durable. Since chandeliers are a dominant focal point of any room, the style and quality of individual lights is crucial.

Chandelier Quality Control: Manufacturers of high quality chandeliers maintain rigorous quality control inspections and testing as part of the fabrication process. The importance of a final quality control inspection and testing prior to shipping cannot be emphasized enough.
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  3  
Reply Thu 31 Mar, 2011 10:18 am
@boomerang,
I think that you'll notice the differences between cheap(er) pressed glass and lead crystal.
farmerman
 
  3  
Reply Thu 31 Mar, 2011 12:36 pm
@Walter Hinteler,
we have a series of industrial "Xray" glass in overhead lighting in my wifes studio. It looks kinda neat being functional rather than fancy. We bought em through an industrial lighting supply company.
0 Replies
 
Butrflynet
 
  3  
Reply Thu 31 Mar, 2011 01:50 pm
@boomerang,
boomerang wrote:

I've been looking for a light fixture for our guest room and I'm really liking some of the crystal fixtures (not chandeliers) I've been seeing.

I've noticed that there is a huge jump in prices between similar lights by different manufacturers. Are you just paying for the name or are there real differences in the quality of the light? I don't want to make a decision bases solely on price and I'm willing to pay a little more if it's really worth it.

Also, are they impossibly hard to keep clean and sparkly? Is it a pain in the neck to change the bulbs? Are there things I should consider? They're kind of expensive and I don't want to regret my decision.

I'm looking at lights in styles similar to these:

http://image.lampsplus.com/is/image/29574.fpx?qlt=75&wid=330&hei=330&fit=constrain&fmt=jpeg

http://image.lampsplus.com/is/image/50548.fpx?qlt=75&wid=330&hei=330&fit=constrain&fmt=jpeg


One of my first jobs as an adult was as an accounting clerk for a San Francisco manufacturing and retail lighting store that specialized in crystal lighting fixtures.

The difference in pricing comes with the quality of crystal. Some are made from plastic or glass, while others are genuine crystals. The material used to string the crystals together can also affect the price, as well as the quality of metals used in the base frame of the fixture.

As for cleaning them, regular dusting of them and a periodic spritzing of them with crystal cleaner does the trick. For the large fancy chandeliers, it is often easier to remove the strings of crystals from the frame for cleaning both the crystals and the frame. Some people have been known to remove the entire chandelier and clean it in the shower. You shouldn't have too much dirt and grime collecting on it since it won't be near a kitchen.

Changing light bulbs isn't any more difficult than changing bulbs in other light fixtures. They may require the tear drop shaped bulbs.


I haven't thought about that place for a long time. Thanks for the opportunity to walk down memory lane. I just looked to see if they are still in business, and they are. Amazing! The original owners have passed away and their kids have taken over the business.
Butrflynet
 
  3  
Reply Thu 31 Mar, 2011 01:54 pm
@Butrflynet,
Here's a description of the various types of crystals used in light fixtures:

Bathroom Crystal

Light fixtures as bathroom crystal are not all equal. Crystal for any use, including light fixtures, may be hand-cut, machine-cut, or molded. Your mini chandelier or other crystal light fixtures can fluctuate greatly depending on the chosen quality of crystal. Most light fixtures come in 1 of 5 qualities of crystal.

1. Strass: Strass crystal, made in the Austrian Alps, is considered the world’s finest cut crystal. Strass crystal is machine cut and given an invisible coating that keeps dust from collecting. These light fixtures are easier to clean and maintain. They are the most costly crystal.

2. Swarovski: Swarovski spectra crystal leads the world of cut crystal. This crystal, too, is machine cut, and is said by many to rank second only to Strass crystal. These light fixtures give quality at more affordable, but not cheap, prices.

3. Imperial: Imperial crystal light fixtures have brilliant crystals created by precision machine cutting. It is done in several countries and gives a great look at a good price.

4. Regal: This crystal is hand-cut, first on iron and then sandstone wheels. After cutting, the crystals are polished on a wood wheel with marble dust. Each light fixture is a unique and original masterpiece. The price is in line with this.

5. Venetian: Venetian Crystal is molded. Molded crystal is not as brilliant as cut crystal, but when using light fixtures as bathroom crystal, you will appreciate the subtle charm of this crystal. This crystal should not break the budget, even if your mini chandelier or sconces are burdened with it.
0 Replies
 
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Thu 31 Mar, 2011 03:35 pm
Thanks buterflynet! That information is really helpful. Now I know why some of the prices made my heart skip a beat! And now I know why the price was so different between some of the ones I was considering -- all hand cut crystal and a mix of hand cut and machine cut.

My absolute without a doubt maximum budget is about $400 and I'd like to spend considerably less but I do want to get something that has some lasting appeal. Our ceilings are low so the fixtures are always very noticeable.

Roger, is there a way to tell the lead content by looking at it? I noticed that one of Butterfly's links said some good crystal is made without lead. Is one, perhaps, more durable than the other?

Farmerman, that sounds like something I would like but I have no idea what it is in relation to light fixtures. I've been liking a lot of industrial age design lately, is it that style of thing?

My house is so masculine and this room is really one of the few chances I get to put in anything kind of flirty without Mr. B and Mo getting all grumpy about it. My mom is our most frequent houseguest and she likes girly type things so I'm trying to soften the "logde" feel.
Butrflynet
 
  1  
Reply Thu 31 Mar, 2011 04:29 pm
@boomerang,
These types of lighting fixtures are definite candidates for building material recycling stores such as Habitat for Humanity and other second-hand building supply stores.

You'll probably find one that is missing a few crystals, but it can be very easily repaired by you. You can get replacement crystals on the internet or most lighting stores.

You might even find some resale items at local lighting stores. In the retail store in San Francisco, they often received trade-ins from people upgrading their lighting and would fix them up and sell them at considerably less than the new ones. You had to ask the sales person specifically about them, they weren't automatically volunteered to customers.
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Thu 31 Mar, 2011 05:55 pm
@Butrflynet,
Thanks! I'll check them out!

I spend a lot of time at architectural salvage stores but now that I think about it, I've never really looked for light fixtures there. I suppose I was working under the assumption that old lights wouldn't hold much wattage but I'm willing to bet that most of them have been rewired.
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Thu 31 Mar, 2011 06:54 pm
I've no idea what this is, how much this is, or if it would go with your decor, or has the light directed in the wrong way - but I like it myself.
http://www.1stdibs.com/furniture_item_detail.php?id=325173

Might be an interesting site for searching on anyway...

I looked longer at the site, not at prices since I didn't want to register. Interesting stuff there, seems quite high end, at least re the paintings.
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Fri 1 Apr, 2011 05:00 am
Just adding that "Strass" is the crystal trademark of Swarovski ... for lamps. (There logo is laser-endocraved in any real strass you buy.)
0 Replies
 
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Fri 1 Apr, 2011 08:19 am
I love that site, osso, thanks. Those sites where you have to be a member to get a price always make me nervous. I guess it's the "if you have to ask you can't afford it" principle.

There are a lot of nice fixtures available at lighting shops so I'll probably just go with something new. If I'm going to spend a bundle on a light I want it to be somewhere other than the guest bedroom.

I know I won't be buying a Swaroski crystal light. My budget doesn't stretch that far.

I know that with most light fixtures that the cheap ones may look really good when you first put them up but they quickly become cheap looking.
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Fri 1 Apr, 2011 09:33 am
@boomerang,
My last serious foray into replacing light fixtures was when I had a craftsman in northern california that had some great fixtures of the period (c. 1920) and some later dorky ones and other places I wanted lighting (like over the scaremaking steps to the basement). For that I used Rejuvenation lighting, which I figure you know about and the ones I got worked out fabulously - but, I doubt they have crystal of any sort, though I haven't looked at their latest catalogs.

I like your plan of foraging around the recycling/architectural yards - I've gotten some great items at both one in LA and one somewhere around Arcata. That was all before looking around online was something I'd do - so I don't know if there are good websites for those places. I figure good stuff would fly out quickly though, if there are.
0 Replies
 
Butrflynet
 
  2  
Reply Thu 7 Apr, 2011 11:49 am
@boomerang,
I haven't been able to post in the last week due to technical problems so I saved this until I could post again.


Here are some you might like that are under $400:

With this site, you can customize the light with various finishes and types of crystals so you can see the price and quality differences.

http://www.lampsplus.com/products/Schonbek-Rialto-Collection-12-inch-Wide-Crystal-Ceiling-Light__48334.html

For this one fixture using the heirloom gold finish, changing the crystals between 4 choices gives you a fixture priced from $278 up to $878. The price doesn't seem to change with the different finishes. The site also has a video for each type of crystal so you can see what the difference in quality and price gives to the look of the crystals.

This is it using the heirloom gold finish and the third from the top price in crystals.

http://image.lampsplus.com/is/image/48334.fpx?qlt=75&wid=509&hei=476&fmt=jpeg

This one is also gorgeous for the price.

http://www.lampsplus.com/products/Schonbek-Petit-Hand-Cut-Crystal-10-inch-Wide-Ceiling-Light__R8053.html

http://image.lampsplus.com/is/image/R8053.fpx?qlt=75&wid=509&hei=476&fmt=jpeg

Here's another:

http://www.lampsplus.com/products/Schonbek-Gold-14-inch-Wide-Crystal-Flushmount__69013.html

http://image.lampsplus.com/is/image/69013.fpx?qlt=75&wid=509&hei=476&fmt=jpeg


One thing you'll want to figure out before you go shopping is the dimension of the fixture you need. Some of these styles come in circumferences as small as 8 inches and as large as 24 inches. That too will effect the price. Also, what metal tone finish do you want, bronze, gold, silver, brass, etc?
0 Replies
 
anderson9731
 
  0  
Reply Thu 5 May, 2011 05:29 am
Choosing a vestibule chandelier to welcome guests will create a magnificent first impression when they enter the home. Whether illuminated and casting sparkles throughout the room in the evening or turned off and simply a work of art during the day, a crystal chandelier adds a luxuriant ambiance wherever it is placed.

0 Replies
 
 

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