Sparkling Style

By Karen Parr-Moody


It seems that from an early age, women are attracted to all things sparkly; like the ravens and magpies, we yearn to feather our nests with shiny items. And when it comes to décor, there is an array of sparkly items to infuse any room with glamour, from chandeliers to crystal table lamps to candelabras. 


For my antique piano, my mother gave me some brass candlestick holders that are nearly identical to those shown in the photo, right ($48; Booth B-113). However, these have been painted white. Some antique-loving purists bristle at the recent trend of using opaque paints to “refresh” older items – but the white gives this set a chic twist on basic brass, particularly in contrast to the grey-colored crystals.  


This gorgeous candelabra – also called a “girandole” – in the photo, left, is done in the Art Nouveau style of the early 1900s that gave way to Art Deco ($125; Booth B-113). Such designs included sensuous female forms inspired by nature and, oftentimes, ancient Greco-Roman goddesses, as is seen with this candelabra. The design called “girandole” dates back much further; they first came into use during the second half of the 17th century in grand French homes. 


At the top of the sparkling food chain is the chandelier. Designer Jonathan Adler suggests putting one in a closet as a surprise, while designer Kelly Wearsler loves them in a kitchen. The first true chandeliers appeared in Europe during the 16th and 17th centuries; they were made of irregularly-cut quartz, which was incorporated to enhance the modest power of candlelight. In 1676, an English glassmaker named George Ravenscroft developed lead crystal, and the rest is history. 


The photo, right, features a dramatic chandelier that is located in GasLamp’s Booth B-106 ($650). This is a cascading French Empire style often called a “waterfall” chandelier. This style has a round bronze frame encrusted with multiple tiers of elongated, graduated prisms. 


Fans of the 1939 classic “Gone with the Wind” will remember the Atlanta mansion Rhett Butler bought for himself and Scarlett; its rooms were lit by lamps similar to the French one in the photo, left ($575; Booth B-234). Today such lamps are often called “Gone with the Wind” lamps. Many feature hand-painted flowers on glass globes, but some, like this one from France, are table lamps made of crystal that include a chandelier-style trim of crystal prisms.


Mirrors were highly-polished pieces of metal until 1835. Then a German chemist, Justus von Liebig, invented a chemical process by which he coated a glass surface with metallic silver.


Today, mirrors’ uses go far beyond practical; take the one at right, for example. The clever designer has figured out a way to amplify the mirror’s innate sheen with a sparkling trim of crystals ($120; Booth B-103). It would fit into a variety of decors, from transitional to shabby chic.


Nothing says elegance in a room like a little bit of sparkle. It lends itself to everything from traditional to modern décor. Fancy French crystal items can be easily juxtaposed with Lucite barstools, for a maximalist twist on the notion. And since sparkly items come in an array of luxurious shapes and styles, there’s a look to suit everyone.



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