Are Consumers Getting Ripped Off?
Consumers everywhere are often duped into paying top price for merchandise which is worthless. The problem is that consumers are uninformed about materials, workmanship and such, leading them to pay more for less. Getting your money’s worth requires knowledge and savvy, and it all begins with knowing your stuff and what to look out for.
Suspending a chandelier or two, or even three, in your home will add elegance and sophistication immediately. Their elaborate designs and ornamentation, as well as their multifaceted crystals sparkle for instant glamor and can be equally as beautiful in a modern home although a better choice might be to opt for one that would be simpler in design.
Are You Getting Your Money’s Worth?
You walk into a store that sells chandeliers in a wide range of prices, so how do you know which piece is more valuable and why one similar design costs more than another one?
When you buy a quality chandelier, you’re making an investment because such an item will maintain its value, unlike cheaper ones. The chandelier crystals are far better in quality depending on the amount of lead used within them. It’s best to first understand how crystal is made to fully understand how to evaluate crystal.
How Crystal is Made
Crystal, or Lead glass is a type of glass by which lead replaces the calcium content typical glass. Lead glass consists of typically 18-40 % PbO, while modern crystal is known as flint glass because the initial silica source contains at least 24% PbO. Its decorative qualities make it so desirable.
Who Discovered Lead Glass or Crystal
Englishman George Ravenscroft, in 1674 first discovered adding lead oxide to enhance the look of glass and managed to simplify melting using ocean-coal like a furnace fuel. By doing this, he also extended its “working period,” making it simpler to control. Lead is of course a term used in the industry, and is just a technicality, but has maintained its name in reference to crystal in decorative hollow-ware.
Isn’t Lead Dangerous?
Today, alternative materials like barium oxide, zinc, or potassium oxide are utilized, rather than lead oxide because of health risks related to lead. Lead-free includes a similar echoing index, but it’s lighter and contains less dispersive energy.
Lead oxide combined with the molten glass gives lead crystal a greater index of refraction than typical glass, and as a result, much greater “sparkle” by increasing specular reflection along with a range of angles of complete inner reflection. Regular glass has a refractive index of n = 1.5; the addition of lead resuts in a higher index, which also increases the correlating index of dispersion, measuring the degree in which a medium separates light, as in a prism.
In cut glass, that has been cut by hand or machine, with facets, the presence of lead renders the glass softer and easier to cut. Crystal may include up to 35% lead, providing the most sparkle.
Who are the Top Crystal Makers?
When making an investment in a crystal chandelier, it’s good to know where the crystal comes from, as the finer manufacturers are trusted to create valuable gems. Below are some of the world’s leading crystal makers (in no particular order).
Baccarat of France
Kosta Boda of Sweden
Waterford of Ireland
Edinburgh of Scotland
Swarovski of Austria
Preciosa of the Czech Republic
Dartington Crystal of England