ChandeliersChandeliers are ornate ceiling mounted luminaires that typically use incandescent bulbs to illuminate space. Crystal chandeliers diffuse light with ringed or crowned arrays of glass prisms, imparting a dazzling and luxurious effect through light refraction. Originally used with candles and then gas lighting, chandeliers have long been a symbol of wealth and status, decorating the homes of nobility and other wealthy individuals.
To achieve their visually striking effects, chandeliers use a number of parts, some of them intricate with detail. These include
• arms or branches, supports for the fixture's lights • the stem, extending from the ceiling mount • the festoon or garland, an assortment of glass drops or beads that envelop a glass chandelier • finial, the embellishment found at the bottom of a chandelier's stem • cage, a metal support used instead of a stem that allows room for lights, ornate beads and drops
Over the centuries many styles of chandeliers have been in vogue but as chandeliers can serve many purposes, it's important to weigh a variety of factors when purchasing this most elegant of lighting fixtures. Among the elements to consider are room size and decor where the chandelier will be located, whether the fixture will be used for uplighting or downlighting and of course, one's budget. As a rule of thumb, designers generally recommend that a smaller chandelier be used for relatively low (eight feet or below) ceilings while higher ceilings are appropriate for fixtures with a multitude of tiers and lights. However, one may rely on the certainty that the enduring grandeur of the classic crystal chandelier will never go out of style.
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