Old v New Chandelier

Should you wonder whether to buy an old chandelier or new one, please read this article to get some pointers.

 

Advantages of old chandeliers

  • may be cheaper
  • may have interesting history – the chandelier below belonged to an empress.

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Disadvantage of old chandeliers

  • The time factor – I suppose it depends on how much time do you have on your hands to go around antique shops to find the right chandelier as apposed to going on the internet to find a new one.
  • Great deal of old chandeliers are patted together – two damaged chandeliers are made into one. Recently I have cleaned a chandelier that was purchased in Rome for good money which had five original arms and five arms that evidently came from a much smaller chandelier and alternating these misshaped the chandelier.  Attempts were made to hide this fact by overloading the chandelier by a great deal of crystal chains and trimmings. There is nothing wrong with this practice as long as the final client is aware of this fact and is OK with it.
  • Crystals on the older chandeliers are what I call aged – scratched and chipped due to incorrect storage, careless cleaning or any other manipulation that took place during the years.

 

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Also look at the quality of the crystals as you may be paying more than you should for the given quality.

  • Electrical wiring – often the seller leaves the rewiring responsibilities to the buyer which is, unless you are an electrician,  can be a rather time consuming affair. Not only  have you spent time on the internet to find someone near you who does these at reasonable price, but you also have to take it there and pick it up again. Before you know it this little job takes  a day out of your life without even asking.
  • Hidden structural faults – we were doing a simple rewiring job and as we lowered the chandelier down we noted a broken structural rod which had to be repaired.  In the workshop we found out that three of the four iron rods were fractured in such a way that they could not be repaired and had to be replaced.  I shall never know how the chandelier held together.  This was actually rather complicated as due to the unusual size of the thread we had to have a tool manufactured in order to replace the rods and the project stretched from 2 to around 10 weeks.

 

 

Disadvantage of new chandelier

  • no interesting history

 

Advantages of new chandeliers

  • not chipped crystal

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  • good quality materials – our manufacturers are using brass as base material 
  • good quality finish – as with any progress, manufacturers have improved finishing processes so you have your chandelier like new for longer.
  • no hidden faults – manufacturer one year warranty
  • great selection – nearly all new chandeliers come in variety of sizes and configurations and you will not have any problems finding identical chandeliers should you require more then one chandelier for your room.
  • made to measure – width can easily be adjusted by changing arms for larger or smaller once.
  • choice of finish – you can have any chandelier in either gold, antique gold or nickel finish,

 

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some manufacturers do 23.6 carat gold plating

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  • choice of crystal quality – most chandeliers can be either in 24-30%PbO, Swarovski Spectra or Swarovski Elements

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  • matching wall lights, table lamps and candelabras – most chandeliers have these in one, two, three or five arm option
  • no need to rewire
  • buy from reputable manufacturer
  • easy to get spare parts

 

I have not included the more generic points such as the manufacturer.  There were good and bad manufacturers hundred years ago as is the case now.  An old chandelier from top manufacturer will look as if it was made yesterday whereas newish chandelier from poor quality manufacturer will look bad well before its time. 

So keep your eyes open what ever you are buying and if in doubt make yourself a list like mine.

 

Renata

Chandelier installation

Although chandeliers installation isn’t difficult it has to be done by a competent person. There are two main ceiling structures: concrete and wooden. Chandeliers have to be hung from a structure capable of carrying the chandeliers weight, never from the plaster board.

Concrete is my least favourite ceiling structure due to a) the complexity of anchoring the chandelier hook into the concrete and b) overcoming the awkward void which can vary from 1 inch to 3 feet. Unless you are a very practical person or were overseeing the construction/reconstruction of the actual room you will not be aware of the voids existence not to mention the size. For the small voids you can use the plate hook, for the larger voids there are various types of brackets available.

First of all you need to find out the exact construction so a thorough site inspection is critical. You need to know whether there is under floor heating and if so how deep it is to make sure there is absolutely no chance you could drill through the heating pipe. If you cannot be 100% certain then do not proceed with the installation because damaging the under floor heating pipe would release gallons of water which cannot be stopped and the thing you can do is to put bucket under the flow, stop the feed to the tank and empty the buckets for an hour or two. Next is to call your insurance company to agree the commencement of repair works which basically means digging up some of the concrete, repair of the pipe and restoring everything to the original state. This would cost you hundreds of hours on the phone and thousands of pounds in damages and delays so your insurance premium would go up ten fold. Other hidden dangers are various cables and in older properties gas pipes which can be literally anywhere and I actually hang one of my chandeliers of a disused gas pipes which was just in the perfect spot.

Another difficult aspect is the actual anchoring so please make sure you are using proper concrete fixing

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and taking into consideration the distance between the holes on the plate hook

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because if these are too close together you may have to make a separate base plate of 4×2 or similar to avoid jeopardising the integrity of that particular concrete spot by the close proximity of drilling.

And yet another difficult aspect is accessing the concrete ceiling. There are many types of suspended ceilings and the larger the void the larger the access point for the installation is required.  A competent project manager will have all the necessary chandelier fixings done prior to the suspended ceiling installation going up however such creatures are few and far between and I would say almost mythical. A great way and sometimes the only way is to hide the access holes by a ceiling rose. Just make sure the ceiling rose is suitable for the room.

Wooden ceilings are easy in comparison

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however as you have to attach the chandelier hook to a joist if there is none in the right position you may need to access the joist to fit a noggin. Access can be either from above or below depending which option is less destructive. On a recent installation we had to move a double bed, a cot and newly laid carpet to put in a noggin, which was easier than taking off the new ceiling rose, cutting a hole in the ceiling to get to the joists from beneath, putting new plaster board piece in, re-plastering and putting the ceiling rose back up. Both options are time consuming and any unnecessary work could be avoided by careful project management or just a bit of common sense –do the messy hook installation before you put the tiles, hard floor or new carpets down, before the plaster board goes up and most certainly before the ceiling rose.

Whatever the structure, please take few minutes to think and plan ahead and if you struggle to come up with a solution just call us to see if we can come up with something.

Take care.

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