Not too long ago I was at the Chinese store just browsing through the aisles and looking at the cool knick knacks, when I spied a little black and gold ceiling lamp with a SALE sign on it. It was marked down to 20 dollars and if I paid in cash they told me they’d reduce it even further to 15 dollars. I handed over the bills and took it home, silently praying that white spray paint would completely cover and hide the original and unattractive color of the lamp. I had recently purchased a box of 100 “crystal” teardrops on Ebay as well as 10 yards of crystal octagon chandelier chain so I was set to go and anxious to use them. To my relief, the off-white spray paint covered the dark colors of the lamp quite effectively and soon I had a creamy white chandelier base ready to have crystals strung on it.
I’d like to say something about chandelier crystals because I’ve seen people get really confused by the significant differences in price. The less expensive and in fact very affordable chandelier crystals (like the ones I recently bought) are not lead crystal. So what? ..you may ask. Well it’s actually the lead content that makes chandelier crystals sparkle and refract light, creating those beautiful multi-colored rainbows when the light hits them. The higher the lead content, the sparklier, heavier and more expensive the crystal. There are different grades of crystal with different percentages of lead that goes from 10% up to 30%. In Europe, they must contain at least 10% lead in order to be called crystal. Top of the line are Swarovski and Asfour (from Austria and Egypt respectively) These are the only two companies in the world who manufacture 30% lead crystal. They are the best and most expensive crystals on the market and chandeliers that are made with this type of crystal are simply stunning masterpieces. Asfour is much more affordable than Swarovski BTW and the quality is exactly the same. Then there are the in between priced Italian, Czech and Bohemian chandelier drops with varying lead contents as well as no lead content. And lastly, you have the inexpensive fire polished crystals and Chinese “crystal” that is pretty much just faceted glass. The latter are the ones that can be found for about 15 or 20 dollars for a box of 100 teardrops at lamp parts stores as well as online. But in spite of the lesser quality of “firepolished” and Chinese crystal, they can still very much brighten up a chandelier and make it sparkle beautifully AND they are a bargain.
I purchased a box of 100 teardrops one and a half inch in length on Ebay for $17.99 plus shipping, which was $8.50. The drops came with an additional octagon above each one, for a total length of two inches. Compare this with the box of Asfour lead crystal teardrops that I purchased for $100 dollars per box of 135 drops last year for my bedroom chandeliers, or with the Swarovski pendelogues that I paid $22 dollars for a dozen. I decided that I would use the less expensive Chinese glass “crystals” on this little bathroom lamp because I wanted to use alot of teardrops without having to worry about cost.
I must say, I ended up very satisfied with the result. It beautifully reflects (not refracts) light and it’s very sparkly. Who cares if there are no refracted rainbows jumping and dancing on the bathroom walls? I think it’s still a cute little bathroom chandy!
Feathered Nest Friday at French Country Cottage
Show and Tell Friday at My Romantic Home