Birthdays are funny things! Sometimes they come with much fanfare and hoopla. Other times they come with quiet moments and sweet reflections. This year mine came with one of my very favorite things–a chandelier.
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Having a birthday in December means that your two major gift opportunities happen within the span of a couple of weeks, leaving one in a wish list dry spell for the next 11 months. To work around this issue, the Wildman and I play a little game we like to call, “That would make the perfect (fill in the blank)!”
This is how the game is played. Whenever we are wandering through a flea market, antique or vintage store and stumble upon an item that would be an exceptional choice for him to buy for me, I say something along the lines of, “That would make a perfect stocking stuffer.” Or, perhaps, “What a great idea for a birthday present!” You get the idea.
The next step is crucial! Once the appropriate phrase has been put out there, it must be followed in short order by a sudden need to look at something two aisles back, or the need to find the ladies room. This allows time for the Wildman to discreetly purchase said item and stash it out of sight before we continue on our shopping adventure.
Our little game allows the Wildman to spread out his gift shopping and allows me to have things that I might see during my 11 month wish list dry spell. Check out two of the sweet items the Wildman scored for me this year.
I always stop to scan the vintage jewelry cases for sweater clips. They have amazing versatility, providing the perfect adornment or fastener in a variety of situations. We found this petite version a few weeks before Christmas. It was so thrilling when it spilled out of my Christmas stocking! It was quickly put into service as a way to both fasten and decorate the Valentine’s ribbon sash for our church angel.
You have probably seen many antique and vintage shoe lasts if you haunt flea markets and antique stores. The Wildman found this one while he was scrounging through a corner of a local antique store. It is the first high heel version that I had ever seen in person, and, lucky me, it showed up in a package for my birthday!
We also play the game for online purchases such as the chandelier he bought for me this year. If, while surfing, I find an item that is gift worthy, I add the link to my Amazon Wish List and send the Wildman an email suggesting that this would be a splendid time to drop by said Wish List for a little look at any new items that might have been added. You might remember, from this post that Amazon allows items to be added to your Wish List from outside sources so it a great one-stop solution to giving people gift ideas.
This amazing empire style chandelier came to my attention while I was searching for another item on Overstock.com.
Isn’t she a beauty! The light fixture in our entry had been upgraded from the builders original spot light fixture several years ago. While the newer fixture was nice, I was ready for something with a bit more personality. And let’s just be honest, what has more personality than a chandelier just dripping with glistening crystals. Right? When I saw this gorgeous piece, I instantly fell in love! It went on the wish list and the hinting commenced!
Did you notice the perfect mixture of antique bronze metal cut work with the glow off of the surfaces of the crystal prisms. Ahh-mazing! The perfect balance of rustic and glam! Because of our battles with strep throat, bronchitis and the flu that descended on our household a couple of days after Christmas, we were just now able to unpack this lovely lady this week. It was like it was my birthday and Christmas all over again!
This was exactly the size, shape and finish that I had been searching for. Chandeliers have wild variances in price! As with most products, price differences may be a direct reflection of the quality. However, also as with most products, less expensive design materials don’t necessarily mean bad quality. I needed to stay on a budget and so many of the chandeliers that I found, both vintage and new, were way out of my league. I knew if I just kept my eyes open, I would eventually find one that would work. Here are some of the basic decisions that you will want to make ahead of time before undertaking such a search.
Chandelier Size And Amount Of Light!
Because of the airy appearance of many chandelier designs, they can look smaller than they actually are. Be sure to measure your space and keep it with you in case you find a great vintage option! While this is the design that I thought would work best in our space, most of the ones that I found were way too large and wouldn’t work with the position of the beam and opening of the front door.
You will also need to determine how much, or little, light you need in the space. We no longer have a light on the fan that is in the middle of the living room, so this fixture is the only overhead light for this area. Because of this, it needed to be able to provide a lot of light. This model holds six bulbs, so it is more than adequate! Many chandeliers of this size, both new and vintage, have fewer sockets, so be sure to check this feature and the wattage for each socket before buying!
The metal finish that will work best is your first decision. I was in search of an antique bronze or rusted type of finish to play off of the rusty coat hooks positioned directly below the fixture and the ceiling fan that is in the middle of the living room. Don’t turn your back on a fixture you love just because it does not have the desired finish! If you find the perfect piece that is the wrong color, it can always be spray painted!
Be prepared that less expensive chandeliers will have varying quality in the metal work. The gauge of metal work on ours is not as thick as it would be in a more expensive model, but it is rigid enough to hold its shape nicely. Avoid metal work that is easily bent. You will be handling the it quite a bit during assembly so you don’t want the frame to bend out of shape!
The only thing that is a little off on ours is that some of the holes in the fan shaped metal pieces where crystals are attached on the bottom tier are a bit off center. This is not readily apparent unless you look extremely closely so it was something I knew I could live with.
The one feature that was non negotiable for me was that it had to have glass crystals! Many less expensive chandeliers will have plastic which will not be as reflective and will become cloudy over time. I also find glass crystals easier to keep clean. A feather duster is all that is needed to gently knock the dust off.
Keep in mind that glass crystals will break if you drop them, so check to be sure that there are a suitable number of extras provided by the manufacturer if you are buying a new piece. If you are considering a vintage chandelier, look for those with standard shapes of crystals and drops that you can find replacements for if the need arises. While unique is fun, this is a case where it could prove to be problematic if you need replacements.
If you haven’t purchased a new chandelier before, it might not occur to you that every crystal or strand of crystals will have to be attached to the frame of the chandelier by hand. My first experience with this was when we bought our kitchen fixture. Every teardrop had to be attached separately! With the design of the new entry chandelier, the crystals where already attached into drapes. Those drapes had to be attached to the frame at both the top and the bottom of each tier. The challenge was to keep everything facing the correct direction.
If you buy vintage, you will likely want to have the vendor remove and pack the crystals separately so that they will not break during transportation. Take a picture to help you remember what the chandelier should look like when you reassemble it in your home. I may be speaking from experience on that last point.
If you are on a budget, be patient! Persistence will pay off and you will be much happier with the outcome if you haven’t broken the bank!
Hugs ’til next time!
Check out some of my other favorite chandelier styles!