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The Beauty of French Chandeliers

Aug 17, 2007
Never in the long history of the chandeliers has there been as much choice as there is today. You can buy over the internet or in person. You can scour the brocante stalls in French markets or the junk shops in England or America.

When you hang a chandelier in your home you acquire something beautiful and practical and an object that will become a focus for the room. Other decorations will revolve around it. It will become the centrepiece, a talking point. A fireplace draws attention to a lower level in a room; a chandelier is the highest point of a room's decoration.

The type of chandelier which is associated with French work is more open with its main structural support supplied not by a stem or chains but rather by a cage or frame with prettily curved members, often gilded and with drops or candles in the centre space. Like English chandeliers, they have pendants and chains of drops.

The difference is that instead of being massed together, they are however spaced further apart so that they can be seen individually. The effect is extremely delicate and ornate without being elaborate.

The ironwork on French chandeliers by the 1900s was superbly refined and attractive. The stem might have leaves and stalks curling off it supporting crystal drops, beads and flowers. For all the bags and festoons of drops, glass arms, full panoply of other elements, the French chandelier is distinctively never crowded or heavy and always alluring.

Perhaps the best known and longest established chandelier maker in France is the firm of Baccarat, which continues to thrive today.

Chandeliers come in all shapes and sizes - some more unusual than others. Amongst some of the most charming eccentric chandeliers are those designed to represent hot-air balloons. The early nineteenth century saw a wave of enthusiasm for hot-air balloons, prompted by the first balloon flight by the Montgolfier brothers, Joseph and Michel travelling through the air for some 6 miles in 1783. Some Montgolfier chandeliers are French others Italian.

One of the things you need to be absolutely sure of is that your chandelier is safe; that when it is installed it will stay up, it won't shed pieces on your head and it won't electrocute anyone or burn the house down.

If you bought you chandelier from a market you should use common sense about its wiring. Any chandelier is only as good as safe electrically speaking as the circuit of which it is part. Have it tested by an electrician and rewired if in doubt.
About the Author
Corina Clemence loves french chandeliers and runs Chateau du Guerinet, near Blois a luxury chateau for up to 15 people perfect for holidays visiting Loire Valley's best golf courses, chateaux and vineyards. Rent a castle in France
http://www.loirechateau.com Rent a French Chateau
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