You’ve long dreamed of installing some seriously statement-making chandeliers in your home.
Whether you want to accent your dining room with a stunning crystal chandelier, find the right lighting for your staircase or foyer, or want to liven up any other room in your home, you want to make certain you find the perfect piece. But what type and cut of the crystal are right for you, and what is the best way to care for your chandelier? Above all, how can you find a crystal that gives you the sparkle you deserve?
Keep on reading this post to find out.
In it, we’ll tell you what you need to know about some of the most popular types of crystal. We’ll cover K9, Swarovski, Gemcut, Handcut, and Venetian crystal. This way, you’ll be able to make the best possible decision for how you’d like to light your home.
K9 Crystal (Chinese)
One of the most popular types of crystal used in the construction of chandeliers is the K9 crystal, sometimes referred to as K9 glass. The letter "K" is a reference to the German word for "crown" (Krone) and the number 9 refers to the lead content of the glass (9%). It is the crystal that we use for our products.
It’s a Chinese Optical Borosilicate Crown Crystal and doesn’t usually require many incisions when cutting it down to the perfect shape. It’s also appreciated for its low dispersal properties. It’s made from glass borosilicate crown, and uses an optical crystal as opposed to lead oxide. Interestingly, optical crystal is the same material used in the Hubble Telescope’s lenses. This is because the optical crystal is much clearer than either leaded crystal or glass, as it’s almost entirely free of bubbles and scratches. Its clarity comes from the way in which it’s produced. It’s heated to record-breaking high temperatures and then brought down to cooler temperatures slowly to avoid inconsistencies.
So, what makes K9 crystal the perfect material for your chandelier?
First, it’s about 15% lighter than leaded crystal, which means that you won’t have to worry about the chandelier damaging your ceilings or worse, falling and breaking. It’s also durable, so you won’t have to worry about accidentally cracking the crystals when you clean or move your chandelier.
Because K9 crystal has a high refractive index, it offers more “shimmer” than other kinds of crystal. It also possesses incredible clarity, which helps to create consistently, brighter reflective lighting patterns. It’s ideal for a truly statement-making chandelier that commands attention in any room.
Best of all, however, is K9 crystal’s affordability. Because of the intricacy of the designs and the high reflective content, many buyers expect to be priced out of chandeliers made from K9 crystal. However, it offers a luxury look at a surprisingly affordable price point. It offers a much more competitive price point than many other kinds of crystal, thanks especially in part to its lower production costs. It’s also one of the most common crystal types used in luxury chandeliers -- so don’t assume it’s low cost means having to compromise on quality.
Swarovski Crystals (Austrian)
Though K9 is arguably the most popular type of crystal used to make chandeliers, it is far from your only option.
Of course, you’ve likely heard of Austrian Swarovski crystals, which are pieces of machine-cut glass that have been coated in a solution for extra durability.
They’re known for having perfectly sharp faceting but are certainly on the expensive side. They’re made in the Austrian Alps and come with a lead content of over 30%. These are also excellent options for those looking for crystals in a variety of colors.
However, they’re also on the expensive side, which means you should be prepared to make a bit of an investment. The cost likely has something to do with the history of the house itself. Its founder, Daniel Swarovski, was the first person to ever use a machine to cut and polish glass.
Today, in addition to being used for chandeliers, Swarovski crystals are also used to create stunning pieces of jewelry.
Gemcut Crystals (Egyptian)
You may also opt for Egyptian crystal, also known as Gemcut or Moroccan crystal.
This type of crystal has excellent shine and shimmer, but also requires a good amount of upkeep. However, the upside is that these crystals are especially flawless, and have a good amount of lead oxide in them.
You’ll need to clean the gemcut crystals about once every 2 months to keep them bright and shiny.
Handcut Crystals (Turkish)
Handcut crystals, also called Turkish or Regal crystal, is one of the oldest types of crystal.
As the name implies, it’s cut by hand on iron and sandstone wheels, and polished using marble dust.
Though lovely, handcut crystal isn’t just expensive -- in some cases, the marks from the wheels may be visible. There are also hand-blown options, perfect for those who prefer their crystals to have smoother edges.
Venetian Crystal (Italian)
Venetian glass is famous across the globe for its beauty and clarity.
For quite literally hundreds of years, Venice, Italy has been world-famous for its stunning Murano glass. In addition to using this glass to make tableware, vases, and jewelry, it’s also used to create gorgeous chandeliers.
So, what sets it apart from the rest?
Instead of being polished in a machine or cut by hand, it’s molded and polished by fire. This is what gives Venetian crystal its trademark shimmer.
Compared to other kinds of cut glass, it’s an affordable option as well.
Common Crystal Chandelier Cuts
Now that you know a bit more about the many types of crystals available to you, let’s briefly discuss the different cuts you can choose from.
The truth is that the shapes of crystals are somewhat similar to the cuts of diamonds and other precious gemstones. But instead of adorning your finger, they’re hanging from your ceiling instead.
First, there’s the more traditional octagon shape, with eight sides and a high amount of reflection. If you’d like longer, pointed, and straight crystals, look for icicle cuts. Looking for crystals in the shape of flowers? Ask for rosette-shaped crystal or a chandelier with rosette crystal accents.
Teardrop-shaped crystals are known as either Swedish or pear crystals, and they’ll be on the wider side as compared to other cuts. Baguette or colonial cuts are flat on one side and raised on another.
Ready to Add a Crystal Chandelier to Your Home?
No matter the design or cut of crystal chandelier you prefer, you deserve to have as many options as possible when it comes to selecting the perfect centerpiece for your home.
We’re here to help make that happen -- and to ensure you get your dream design at a fair and affordable price.
Browse through our incredible selection of show-stopping chandeliers ideal for any room in your home and start the process of transforming your space today.