All About Crystals
The biggest draw to crystal ceiling fixtures is the reflective properties of the crystals. When people think of these fixtures, they think of their glow.
Crystal chandeliers are simple, classic and sophisticated. They will be sure to dress up any room in the house for that ultra modern elegant feeling. We carry a wide selection of crystal chandeliers that are elegantly trimmed with Swarovski Spectra crystal.
Crystal wall sconces dramatize stairways and hallways and perfectly complement our chandeliers. Many of our wall sconces feature flowing suspended Egyptian crystals. We also carry wall sconces dressed in Swarovski spectra crystals.
Choosing a crystal pendant lighting is a great way to give warm light to a room. They are stylish, elegant and can complement any design scheme.
If you want the beautiful look of crystal, but don’t have high ceilings, you can get a chandelier without dangling pieces. Crystal flush mount ceiling lights will give any room a soft or vibrant glow. Choosing a crystal ceiling light is a great way to give any room a warm, elegant and classic glow.
- Swarovski Strass Crystal
- 100% optically pure pieces with no bubbles or cooling lines. The facet lines precisely meet at one center point and they are razor sharp for peak refraction.
- Strass® combines 30-32% lead; scientifically proven as the optimal amount, with the aforementioned “technical perfection” to produce the world´s most brilliant crystal prisms. Strass® costs more than other manufactured brands but the quality is unsurpassed.
- Egyptian Crystal is a well-kept secret. The pure brilliance level due to extremely high lead content produces unbelievable quality-for-the-price. It is a customer´s decision; optically pure or more brilliant? Nulco´s Fire & Ice and St. Moritz are dressed in Egyptian Crystal and both are wonderfully priced and truly spectacular in brilliance.
- Swarovski Spectra® Crystal is a new addition to our product line and was created as a moderately priced alternative to Strass®. Swarovski was able to produce Spectra® by substituting other metals for lead, which reduces the polishing time required. What Spectra® offers, that Egyptian crystal doesn´t, is 100% optical purity guaranteed in every piece. You get perfect machine cuts with no internal “cooling lines”. With Spectra® you get a technically perfect piece with slightly less brilliance.
- Czech Crystal High priced and much sought-after. Czech crystal is hand poured into a mold. After cooling, it is hand-cut and polished in the Old World tradition. Each of the 16 individual facets on an 18 mm octagon is hand polished. Hand finishing cannot compare to the precision and brilliance attained by machine finishing, but the value is in the history. You get a chandelier dressed the Old World way. The Czech Republic process produces many unique shapes and cuts that are not duplicated elsewhere. For example, the narrow shape of the icicle drop on Nulco´s Winter Palace chandelier has a refinement that is truly unique.
- Turkish Crystal is used in Nulco´s Traditional style dressing and is an excellent balance of brilliance, variety and quality. We offer different choices to suit a variety of tastes and budget.
- Italian Crystal (Venetian) Many manufacturers offer Italian crystal on very large-scale fixtures. Italian crystal is made in a mold, cooled, dipped in acid, and considered finished. It is less expensive as there is no cutting or polishing involved.
- NULCO does not use Italian crystal unless a customer makes a special request for a large order where price is the primary consideration.
Q: When I look at a crystal prism I see the whole color spectrum. Can you tell me why?
A: The pure crystal prism takes available light in and refracts it out in the spectrum. Since the base is clear, you get a perfect, untainted, spectral output. The sharper the cut angles of each facet, the more “spectrum” you will see. If you run your finger over a Swarovski machine cut prism, it is like a razor´s edge on each facet. This is what creates the perfect spectrum colors. (Red, Blue, Green, Cyan, Magenta, Yellow)
Q: How is crystal made?
A: Crystal is formed in a mold. After forming, it is either complete or ready for polishing, depending on the grade of the crystal.
Q: What about lead crystal?
A: Lead creates the refraction of the crystal with the maximum refraction at 30-32% lead content. Lead also adds to the weight of the crystal giving it a more substantial feel.
The Discerning Eye
- Three principle elements contribute to the price and value of a crystal lighting fixture. Within each element there may be significant contributing sub-factors.
- I. Metal Frame: 1-Construction method. Was the frame soldered, silver soldered or tack-welded? Are there bumps, smudges or cracks at critical connection points? Silver soldered joints are strong and clean. By grasping the two arms of the frame is it solid or fragile to pressure?
- 2-Material. Was the material solid brass, steel, or another material? Solid brass is more valued and generally more expensive.
- 3-Finishing methods a. Electroplated – 24K gold or nickel is applied through an expensive process that permanently bonds pure metal onto pure metal by molecular fusion thus creating a more durable finish. Nulco does its own electroplating in-house and uses solid brass in most of its production.
- c. Paint is applied to a frame, usually steel. Problematic long-term concerns would be rust, chipping, peeling, flaking, and scratching.
- Bobesches, columns and founts may be either mouth blown or molded (pressed crystal). Mouth blown crystal is very Old World where master glassblowers handwork each piece in the manner of a true antique. Mouth blown crystal has no etching detail as it is blown and there are inherent slight variations in sizing due to this traditional process.
- The crystal components may have no lead or have a lead content between 8% and 30%. Most Czech crystal is 8% lead and is produced by hand, individually hand cut on grinding wheels (hand-cutting leaves a gray surface on the cut lines) and hand polished on wood wheels (hand-polishing leaves a wood grain impression on the cutting line) like an Old World original.
- A less expensive way to polish crystal is to dip the crystal in acid tanks. Crystals that are chemically polished in acid are brilliant but there is less distinction on the cut surfaces as the acid polishing removes sharpness from the edges.
Stand back from a chandelier to admire the crystal. How “fully dressed” is it, since the amount of crystal has an affect on color, style and price. The $ cost of prisms:
- $- Italian crystal (Venetian)
- $$- Turkish crystal
- $$$- Czech crystal
- $$$$- Austrian Spectra® crystal
- $$$$- Egyptian crystal
- $$$$$- Austrian Strass® crystal
- The larger the size of the crystal prism the harder it is to create flawlessly. Crystal chandelier prices vary widely due to the size and quality of the prisms used to dress the chandelier.
- When looking at a chandelier it is important to see which prisms are used. Chandeliers dressed in all octagons are available but are not as interesting, attractive, or valuable as chandeliers dressed with a variety of crystal shapes.
- A chandelier dressed artistically with a profusion of larger more refractive prisms in an interesting arrangement is dramatic and of much greater value then a chandelier dressed with many small Octagons.
- Look to see if the bobesches are draped with Plugs or with Almonds? Are there any very unusual, unique shapes like Snowflakes, Kites or Icicles? Images 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7