The fleeting flicker of a candle's flame as it is nestled into a candlestick or candelabra is a timeless and
tantalizing feature of an evening dinner table. When those candelabra are honed from crystal or cut glass,
the allure is amplified as the glass reflects the flickering flame to create a dazzling play of light.
While such elegant candlesticks might seem commonplace today on the well-set table, they were
considered a dining table innovation in centuries past. The candle as we know it today first appeared in
ancient Rome in the 6th century B.C. During these early days, candles were relegated to ceremonial
functions, but as time progressed, the potential of the candle was realized. By the peak of the Middle Ages,
candles had become popular, if not essential, across much of Europe. Thus, the necessity of the candlestick
was born, and over subsequent generations, so too did the demand for increasingly elaborate and elegant
candelabra options for the aristocratic and regal classes.
In addition to elegant porcelain options, crystal and cut glass candlesticks and candelabra became the
favorites of Europe's royal houses. Some makers, such as Belgian company Val Saint Lambert, continue to
create designs for royalty today. Others, such as Tiffany, have expanded into elegant yet more affordable
crystal candlesticks, which make for ideal wedding or housewarming gifts. Regardless of price point,
antique and vintage crystal and cut glass candelabra are a brilliant complement to any refined table.
- Though the Romans gave us the first of what we call a candle, evidence tells us that the
Chinese were experimenting with a type of candle made from whale fat as early as the 3rd century
- The name "candelabra" originates from the old French word "chaundelabre," which roughly translates
as "candle tree"
- A pair of rock crystal and gilt-copper candlesticks sold for a record price at Christie's London in 2002.
Created by an Italian craftsman in the 18th century, the pair sold for $203,677