Crystal lighting

Fashionable addition to your home

Today's crystal lighting can incorporate modern light emitting diode (LED) technology to create beautiful, subtly coloured lighting effects, but modern chandeliers are not that much different to their ancestors. The chandelier, from the French meaning "candle holder", can be traced directly back to the early part of the 15th century. Jan Van Eyck's painting of 1434, Giovanni Arnolfini and His Wife, features the first known visual representation of one, and it is surprisingly similar in appearance to modern day crystal lighting chandeliers.

Crystal is a type of glass that contains lead oxide, usually in quantities of at least 10%. This gives it a greater refractive quality than ordinary glass, which imbues it with added sparkle and brilliance.

It is also prismatic, which means it can split light into its component parts to provide a natural cascade of subtle colour. However, not all crystals are the same; some are more favoured than others. The modern method of construction can differ too as they are normally either machine cut, hand cut or hand blown.

While chandeliers are probably the most common type of crystal lighting found in most homes, you can also have crystal table lamps and crystal floor lamps, either with LED lighting or standard lighting. A chandelier of any type is undeniably beautiful, but crystal table and floor lamps also have a stylish elegance and graceful sophistication usually sadly lacking in other types of lighting.

Swarovski Strass crystal is widely considered to be the finest and highest quality of crystal you can obtain. Other high quality crystals that are highly sought after include Spectra Lead Crystal, Bohemian Crystal, Murano Glass Crystal and Venetian Crystal. While the technical difference between glass and crystal is merely the addition of lead oxide to glass to create crystal, the visual difference is simply stunning.

In an all-white environment, glass is colourless, but high quality crystal will still retain its essential sparkle of red fire and lightening-blue glow of acute brilliance. Add direct light, especially subtly coloured light, and the immediate effect is hypnotic. You will get a sudden explosion of colour that permeates your very being, bringing you alive and alert. No wonder that crystal lighting is so popular today.

It could be argued that crystal lighting chandeliers work best in any home. They certainly provide a fascinating centrepiece for any room with lighting that is sharp, clear and brilliant. However, don't overlook the power of a well-placed crystal table lamp, or crystal floor lamp. Their lighting effect is usually more confined to a particular area, but they can do so with a style and demeanour that is truly unique and extremely pleasing.

Crystal lighting tends to be more expensive than ordinary glass lighting, but it is obvious why as soon as you see the difference for yourself. The quality of lighting is vastly superior to ordinary lighting, and your visitors and guests will also notice this immediately. Even in daylight when the lighting is switched off, the crystals stay alive, vibrating with coloured light beams that wait patiently for night to dance to their own unique rhythm once more.

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