We selectively acquire antique lighting at auctions, then our in-house experts painstakingly rewire them with UL certification. Whether you are looking for a special heirloom treasure or that unique vintage one-of-a-kind lighting find, our antique chandeliers, antique wall sconces, repurposed table lamps, vintage floor lamps, and more have the detailed craftsmanship, rich finishes, and solid materials of the lost art of yesterday’s quality. Our collection of fine European antique lighting includes stunning crystal chandeliers, gold leaf altar stick floor lamps, Florentine chandeliers, Empire chandeliers, French cast iron floor lamps, marble and glass table lamps, Italian gilded sconces, and vintage crystal wedding cake chandeliers. The uniqueness and excitement of our antiques make it fun to keep coming back to see the newest additions! We also carry period reproduction lighting.
History of antique Lighting:
Chandeliers have been around since the 14th century in France where medieval churches and abbeys first had them for candle illumination. Early antique chandeliers were made from bronze, wood, iron or crystal. Plating was not developed until the late 1800’s. By the 16th century, they were a sign of wealth and were used mainly for decorative purposes in palaces. Chandeliers made before 1860 have solid arms and were made for candles. Hollow arms came after that to allow for gas to be pumped through them. By the early 18th century, ornate cast ormolu (finely-ground high-carat gold adhered to metal) chandeliers with long, curved arms and many candles could be found in the homes of much of the growing merchant class. Neoclassical motifs became an increasingly common element, not only in cast metals but also in carved and gilded wood. Rock crystal was used before the 17th century for adornments on chandeliers. Lead glass was created in the 17th century and developments in glassmaking (steam-powered cutting, etc.) in the 18th century allowed the cheaper production of lead crystal. The light-scattering properties of this highly refractive glass quickly became a popular addition to the form, leading to the crystal chandelier. In the nineteenth century, as gas light became a source of illumination, branched ceiling fixtures were produced, and the term gasolier was created. Gas-illuminated chandeliers appeared in the mid-19th century, and many candle chandeliers were converted to gas. Gas chandeliers were hung from rods (not chains) to allow gas to get to the fixture.
The 1890s brought the appearance of electricity for illumination and chandeliers were then produced that used both gas and electricity. As distribution of electricity became wider, and the supply dependable, fixtures wired only for electricity became standard. How to tell if it’s crystal (or glass) or plastic (acrylic): if the “crystal” gets colder in your hand as you hold it, it’s glass not plastic. Crystal trims include: French pendalogues, almond and triangular prisms, kites, half pears, teardrops, spears, baguettes, graduated octagon chains, smooth bead chains, olive cut bead chains, baguettes.
Old brass has a yellow color, somewhat similar to gold, and mellows to a darker color with time. Typically it is made from more than 50% copper and 5% to 20% zinc, in comparison to bronze which is typically 60% copper and 40% tin. Bronze has a darker, more brown patina. Bronze is much stronger and more corrosion resistant than brass, therefore considered more valuable.