Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Fabulous Opaline Chandeliers

Opaline Glass
Source unknown
After sharing my blue opaline glass chandy on Facebook, someone sent me this photo of their yellow opaline chandelier!  The photo was taken down, so I was unable to source it, however I shared it myself as I found it absolutely stunning!  I had no idea Opaline came in colors other than white and aquamarine blue.  So I wanted to learn more about this romantic glass they call Opaline~
Wikipedia: 
 "Opaline Glass is a decorative style of glass made in France from 1800 to the 1890s, peaking in popularity during the reign of Napoleon III in the 1850s and 1860s. The glass is opaque or slightly translucent, and can appear either white or brightly colored in shades of green, blue, pink, black, lavender and yellow.  The glass has a high lead content which defined it as semi-crystal."  
I will be on the lookout for all the colors of Opaline, but for now I have some pretty Opaline glass chandeliers in blue to share.
This is my new OLD chandelier! I was told it was purchased in Austria a long time ago...look how pretty the color is, very aquamarine!  After I posted on this chandlelier I got an email from Cheryl, who writes the Fresh Vanilla for C blog.  She has one with the same kind of glass and she wanted to know where she could get more glass drops to add to her chandelier.  
Cheryl wants more drops, but the problem is that they don't make them anymore!  You have to hunt around on eBay, and hope to get lucky, or hope you have a fairy chandy godmother like I had (!!), but that part of the story is further down.  I bought some from eBay myself, and they were a complete knockoff, with a glass that is dark and dull and flat. 
But Cheryl's pretty chandelier has a few of those star flower crystals called "rosettes".  I read somewhere that only the French chandeliers have those!  She hangs her chandy in her kitchen and hasn't even blogged about it yet!! So it is making its debut over here at Maison Decor.  I just love the draped beaded garland on these chandeliers!
This was the first opaline chandelier I had seen in person, and it belongs to Designer Betsy Speert, who is now a rising star in blogland (thanks to me).  Here is what she had to say about it:
 "AREN'T YOU JEALOUS???!!! It was the first thing I bought for my new home, and it set the color scheme for the living room and dining room. I got it from a store in North Cambridge, MA called City Lights, it's on Massachusetts Avenue, if you want to go check it out. (The store, not the chandelier. It's an antique, so got it, and you can't have it.)"
Betsy continues~
I LOVE THIS SUCKER!!!!!!
Check out the close up. Check out the tear drop blue crystals. Check out how coooollll this is. 
The little blue beads are called barrel beads. CHECK THEM OUT!!!
I love it! I love it! I love it! I love it! I love it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The reason they are called barrel beads is because.....(wait for it) They are shaped like a BARREL!!!
I learn something new every day~and now because I quoted her, my blog is doing the same thing her screwed up blog does by using crazy sized font~!@!!##$$@
*******
OK, back to Wikepedia~ "The primary influences on this style of glass were 16th century Venetian milk glass, and English white glass produced in 18th century Bristol."  Now this is interesting, and should be to Betsy because she also collects Bristol glass, which is another subject for another day.  Maybe she can write about it on her blog so I don't  have to.
This blurry Betsy pic shows her custom made shades she put on her chandy.
She likes to spend lots of money on her things!
But back to my chandy~
My chandelier arrived in a box, kind of poorly packed by the seller's mover just stuffed with paper around it.  It had a little bit of damage, but I was thankful it wasn't severe. Here is what I saw when I pulled off some crumpled paper on the top of the box~~omg. I held my breath....
Hubs and I got it all unwrapped, and despite two arms being bent and one glass drop broken and one crack in a bobeche,  I couldn't have been more pleased with these pretty old light fixtures.
I have little barrel beads too! Some call them macaroni beads~and they string gracefully across the metal frame that looks like it had been finished in a  rusty gold color.  My beads are connected to little holes in the framework and sometimes they are wired directly to the frame with the thinnest of wire.  I noticed Betsy's beads are wired onto the frame too and then the cascade down to a center point and it is hard to see, but it looks like they all join and get pulled back up a bit creating a rounded apple shaped bottom effect puncuated with one long opalescent  tear drop. Hers has clear and blue beaded alternating garlands.


The frame of my chandelier reminds me of Cinderella's pumpkin coach!

See what I mean?

Breathtaking  Rare Pink Beaded Chandelier Gorgeous
Look at these pink opalescent drops on this beaded chandy for sale in an Etsy shop with a price tag of $800+.  They don't look like they have the translucent quality in the drops and I wonder if the pink was added~perhaps this is a reproduction, which is fine.  But I like old chandeliers so I look closely at the drops to view the wiring and these have tiny holes with thin wire running through it where it is to be attached to the chandelier frame.  Mine has a brass pin that is inserted into the center of the glass drop that appears to be set when the glass is hardening.  Look at the pink drops below~the wire is coming out of the inside of the glass drop. 
This 1920 French antique is listed on eBay and has milky pink opalescent drops that look to be antique and has a tag of $1499.  They aren't giving them away, that's for sure!
4 Purple Crystal Prisms - Raindrop Chandelier Prisms with Top Bead - SET of 4
Even reproduction glass prisms can be made with the wire coming right out of the center of the glass drop~so you have to do a lot of checking if you are looking to purchase only vintage or antique. These purple glass drops are in an etsy shop now, and I have seen vintage ones for sale at etsy as well. Hunt around on ebay or just google what you are looking for and see what comes up in your search.
 These opaline parts were sent to me by a blog reader of mine, Betsy Duggan, as a gift!  uh-huh! Super nice, right?  I took this picture, and it shows the closeup of the way the wires are connected through the beads and the drops.
 I climbed up my ladder and using needle nose pliers I replaced clear crystal prisms with the opaline drops and beads.  See the tip of the tear drop, you can see the darkened tip where the wire comes out the end.
I think these things give clues on the age of chandeliers.
The living room chandy was a standard brass vintage thing I bought on Etsy for $40 and then I added different crystals and finally got the coveted blue opaline and added those.  So you can build your own chandy to your own tastes by buying old or new crytals, with lots of sources online.
Baroque Aqua Blue Opaline Beaded Rosary Chain Aged Dark Patina wire links Czech Glass beads
This seller on Etsy sells chandelier garland with aged chain to capture the vintage look. This is what she is calling Opaline Czech glass beads and she sells it by the foot for less than $10.  She also sells the barrel beads, which she calls macaroni beads, and she had some in white milky glass which was very pretty.
A....oOo.. Vintage Italian Aqua BLue Opaline Beaded Chandelier Sconce...LaYAWaY AVaiLaBLe
This pretty vintage Italian sconce has interestingly shaped opaline beaded garland~price $450.
 This is one of a pair that I purchased with my Cinderella style chandelier.  It was bought as a set by this woman in Austria and they landed in Florida decades later.  I try to imagine what kind of a woman was walking around Europe going to look for a pretty chandelier and sconce set to buy for her darling daughter.  Maybe she bought them for her as a wedding gift~I will try to learn more of the story and let you know.
 The beautiful milky blue color of the drops is more translucent than the beads.
Look at the beadwork on this~it is all strung together in a net to cover the bottom area and then the beads swoop up to the top and across the front with more drops!
And last but not least, the lights came with all of this~
Lots of goblets and champagne glasses, bowls,  a vase..
And one pair of love birds!
I hoped you enjoyed learning a bit of the history of Opaline glass~
to think it all started in France during Napoleon's rein~centuries ago! 
If you have an opaline chandy you would like to share, 
you know I would love to see it!

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