Restoring Vintage Crystal Chandelier Lighting.

Restoring Vintage Crystal Chandelier Lighting.

Vintage Crystal Chandeliers.

Vintage crystal chandeliers are one of the most consistently popular forms of used lighting, the market for Antique and Vintage crystal chandelier lighting is always strong and has led to many current makers of lighting offering a wide range of modern versions of these lighting design classics, there is now good choice available in contemporary crystal chandeliers, we will look at some of the modern options available in a later post.

This is a brief story of long forgotten and unloved Vintage Crystal Chandelier which had spent decades gathering dust in a dark storage space.

This lovely old piece of crystal chandelier lighting is vintage in age, it has a classic antique bag chandelier design and dates from around the 1960s. This Vintage crystal chandelier is small in size with a diameter of 16 cm. Having spoken to the previous owners of this lovely old light it turned out that the chandelier was from France having been bought back to the UK from an early antique sourcing trip across the English channel.

The bag comprises of an ornate brass ring with small splayed brass arms, off the brass ring hang rows of vertical crystal droplets which attach to a central disc at the bottom of the light, these sweeping vertical columns of droplets provide the bag shape with the splayed arms at the top adding ornate decoration with each one displaying a large hanging almond droplet.

The droplets on this old chandelier vary in shape from Almond drops at the top to buttons and large lozenge shaped droplets at the centre. This old Chandelier was found with a huge portion of dust, without any hanging fittings and with a few droplets missing. There were also a few droplets with imperfections and small nibbles in the glass. Despite these issues it was obvious to see that this vintage crystal chandelier could easily be made to sparkle once again.

Vintage crystal chandeliers

Vintage crystal chandelierThe bag chandelier as found.

The first thing to do was to find some replacement droplets. Having had many crystal chandeliers over the years I have developed a habit for keeping any odd droplets, sometimes I have bought dead chandeliers just to have the droplets for future projects. This sweet old bag chandelier had a lozenge and a large almond drop missing and these were easily replaced from my stock. If you ever decide to have a go at restoring an old chandelier there is one tool that is cheap but worth its weight in gold – a small pair of long needle nose pliers which are really a must for attaching old droplets and curling old brass droplet hanging wires.

Next job was cleaning. I would love to tell you that I have a secret recipe for crystal cleaning but I generally use hot water and washing up liquid, this bag needed a long soak in hot soapy water as it was very dirty. After drying the chandelier was hung and further cleaned using modern glass cleaning spray which started to reveal a touch of long-lost sparkle.

The brass hanging ring was gently cleaned and was given a light coat of wonderful Renaissance Microcrystalline Wax which cleans and protects the original aged finish of the Brass.

Vintage bag crystal chandelierHere is the bag after cleaning and drying – already it is starting to sparkle.

The chandelier was found without any fittings or wiring. I wanted the chandelier to retain its vintage look so I sorted through my stock of second-hand components to find fittings having a used and tarnished look that would match the chandeliers age. I needed a hooked ceiling rose, a length of hanging chain, a bulb holder + modern wiring cable and a modern cable grip for wiring security.

“New” components to complete the chandelier.

With the second hand components fitted the bag chandelier was hung and had another final clean. The real key to any vintage crystal lighting is the droplets, they vary in quality and crystal content and of course with age, some of the very old antique crystal droplets are individual works of art and have a clarity and brilliance that has to be seen to be believed, being vintage this chandelier did not have top quality droplets fitted but after the final clean it was clear to see they had a lot to offer.

Antique Crystal ChandelierThe assembled chandelier shown in sunlight with the crystal droplets sparkling.

To really appreciated the effect of crystal chandeliers as a lighting feature you have to light them up.

Vintage Crystal Chandelier

Vintage crystal chandelierThe refurbished chandelier lit and sparkling beautifully.

When lit and in use the vintage crystal droplets really show why they are always in such demand.

Even these 1960s Vintage droplets have enough about them to make an excellent lighting display, the sparkle, reflections and shadowing produced by the droplets make a real statement, this smaller bag chandelier would be a great light for a period entrance hall, landing or perhaps a smaller bedroom. When lit the small nibbles and imperfections in the glass droplets are lost in a sea of sparkle and shadow.

If you find yourself in possession of a Vintage or Antique chandelier that has parts missing and is incomplete don’t worry, there are many on line sellers of vintage and new droplets and it is usually possible to find a replacement that will fill a gap. Also don’t worry too much about small chips and nibbles in the glass droplets as these will be forgotten once your crystal light is hanging from your ceiling and adding a sparkle to your space.

Materials – Household cleaner. Renaissance Microcrystalline Wax. Earthed Wiring. Earthed Brass bulb holder. Wiring cord grip. Vintage hooked ceiling rose. Hanging chain.

Time Spent on the Chandelier – 2 Hours.

I often have a number of Vintage Industrial items for sale in my eBay shop here – Hertfordshire Lighting and Design

I would love to hear from anyone who has performed a similar restoration project; it’s always great to share ideas with other people.

If you have any questions or need advice on any item of Vintage lighting please contact me and I will do my best to help.

Michael Adkins.

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