The History of Chandeliers

January 21, 2022

Here at the Contemporary Chandelier Company, we specialise in providing unique custom designer chandeliers, whether large drop staircase chandeliers or sculptural light features for a foyer or room centrepiece using crystal and LED lights. Although largely contemporary in design, chandeliers have a long, rich history. Today we are going to delve into this history, so read on to find out more.

It’s All in The Name

The word ‘chandelier’ is derived from Old French, itself a variation from the Latin candelabrum which means ‘candle holder’. You could argue that the earliest form of chandelier was this, featuring a basic wooden platform upon which animal fat candles were affixed. Prior to the invention of electricity, these were hung to a suitable height, and ropes or chains were used to secure it in place. Examples of this have been found in ancient Greek times, made in bronze. The candelabra is still used in modern times, but is purely a decorative choice.

From Candelabra to Chandelier

The movement from candelabra to chandelier dates back to the 1600s when crystal glass was incorporated into hanging light fixtures, producing attractive crystal chandeliers.  Decorative crystal glass had been used for ornamental purposes for hundreds of years prior to this. The source of light (whether candles, gas lights or electric bulbs), the crystal’s prismatic qualities meant that the chandelier would amplify the light, producing intricate patterns as the light dissipated. With the invention of electricity in the mid-1700s and Thomas Edison’s light bulb patented in 1879, the bulbs used for chandeliers have typically imitated the flame of a candle, linking back to its origins.

Contemporary Chandeliers

The chandelier has moved through different phases over the years. In the 15th century, they were a symbol of wealth and status, with complex gold-gilded chandeliers an essential item in the homes of the rich nobility. By the 16th and 17th century, they became a feature in home across all classes, with working class households making do with wood, wrought iron or tin versions. It was then that the first crystal chandeliers appeared, increasing their opulence once again. Nowadays, combining the tradition of such crystal chandeliers with LED lights, you can enjoy increased efficiency and controllability with our designs, able to brighten up any room without a high demand for energy. You can choose from LED glass or LED crystal and opt for our jellyfish or falling leaf designs. Alternatively, we also carry out special commissions, in order to provide you with a completely unique and bespoke chandelier design, whether for a residential or commercial building.

Contact Us

To discover more about our range of chandeliers and to discuss which design would work best for you, get in touch with us by completing our online contact form or emailing us at You can call also us on 01939 232 652 in order to speak to a member of our team directly and we will be glad to assist you with any queries you may have for us.

To learn more about our custom chandeliers and our company, contact our team today.
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Tel: 01939 232 652