I don’t know what it is about lamps that fascinates me. I don’t mean the plain uninteresting severe lamps with the boring shades. I mean the ones that are dripping in different shaped crystal prisms and crystal chains. The way they refract light and then project it onto the surrounding walls is mesmerizing. I recently discovered that Swarovski is not the only top quality name brand of lead crystal out there. Egypt has a very well kept secret. No, not the secret passageway inside the great pyramid.I’m referring to crystal. Egyptians are master crystal makers. Alot of people don’t know that they have been making breathtaking glass ornaments and glass beads since 2500 B.C.. Today, the Asfour Company in Egypt is the 21st century answer to the original Pharaonic glass bead invention. Asfour manufactures some of the highest quality lead crystal on the market. At 30% lead, is is a serious rival to Swarovski and at a much more affordable price. I recently purchased a box of Asfour Crystal’s teardrop shaped prisms on Ebay at the unbeatable price of $100 dollars for 135 two-inch teardrops. Since then I have been trying to come up with ideas as to where to hang all those sparkly 2 inch drops. My answer came the other day when I was on a lamp hunt and I walked into a small store run by a chinese family who imports all kinds of fascinating merchandise from China. It’s kind of like that mysterious store in the movie Gremlins where the wise old Chinese guy sold all kinds of interesting knick knacks and exotic objects. Although there were no caged Mogwi anywhere in sight, I did see some very pretty hanging lamps and one particularly large one caught my attention. It was hanging in a corner, missing alot of parts and covered in a thick coat of dust. But I could see a hint of gold gleaming through. The lamp itself was large and octagonal shaped and I could see leaves and vines twining up the center rod. As I stepped closer to get a better look I noticed that there was a large handwritten tag scotch-taped onto the bottom of it which said: $40 dollars. Half-off. I asked the salesgirl what was wrong with the lamp and she told me that nothing was wrong with it other than having lost all of the beveled glass panels that had originally adorned each octagonal segment. Aside from that, it was in perfect working condition. For some reason the words of the SIX MILLION DOLLAR MAN echoed in my head “We can rebuild him! We have the technology!” And so I bought the lamp, lugged it home and got to work. I strung the empty spaces with crystal octagon strands and teardrop pendants. I drilled little holes in the dome so I could string additional crystals in the top part as well. The results were pretty darned good, modesty aside, and I was quite pleased. And it looks a heck of alot better than Lee Majors. Since then I have re-built several (formerly) ugly little lamps. It has become an addiction I think. My kids suggested that I go into the lamp making business. Hmmm. Now there’s an idea…..