Home Treasures: Part 4 – Facets

“Cutting” glass into desirable shapes and creating facets involves pressing the completed glass object against a swiftly rotating iron or stone wheel. This cuts grooves with sharply angled sides into the glass. The effect of the grooves and other cuts, or facets, is to greatly increase the sparkle of the glass by adding more light-reflecting surfaces. The new lead crystal was used to make chandeliers in the 17th to 19th centuries.

The advent of more effective light sources such as paraffin and electric incandescent lamps reduced the functionality of the crystal chandelier. It was propelled to a new standing as a decoration unto itself, even when unlit. Demand grew for chandeliers as luxury objects and gave rise to the complex designs seen today in mansions and palaces.

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