How to Tell if Your Chandelier is a Genuine Antique

Crystal chandeliers have been around since the 1600s, and it can be difficult nowadays to spot a genuine antique amongst the many cheap (and expensive) replicas cropping up on the High Street and at markets.

In order to tell if your chandelier is a genuine antique or a reproduction, you will need to identify the age, manufacturer and style which can be a difficult thing to do! It could be worthwhile though, as some antique chandeliers could be worth thousands of pounds. Follow these steps to finding out whether your chandelier is a real antique, or a modern reproduction:

Examine the Chandelier

Take a look at your chandelier – if it’s constructed of solid (not plated) metal such as brass, silver or bronze, chances are it’s an antique. Many modern replicas are plated, to make them more affordable.  Older chandeliers were designed to hold wood, oil or candles for burning, so if your chandelier is electric, it’s relatively modern.

Find out who Made it

Most chandeliers were hallmarked by their maker, so look carefully at your chandelier to see if you can find a (sometimes tiny) hallmark. The library or the internet provide great resources for researching the hallmark and tracking down the maker.  Hallmarks are also easy ways to tell what material your chandelier is made out of.  Obviously the more expensive the material the more expensive the chandelier!

Think About how you Obtained your Chandelier

Was it passed down through generations of your family, or has it been hanging in the hallway of your home ever since you can remember? Perhaps you’ve moved house and found a dusty, antique looking chandelier hanging in the entrance hall or boxed up in the attic. Check with the estate agent to see if they know anything about the house’s history or previous owners. Ask neighbours. Or look through old photographs to see if there are any pictures of the chandelier so that you can verify its age. If you bought your chandelier online or from a shop, contact the seller to ask them about the history of the piece.

One way to tell instantly if your chandelier is new is by polishing it. Antique chandeliers should never appear very shiny, and should retain some of their aged metal appearance even after polishing. They may even have rust, tarnished areas and dark edges, if you look closely.  That is not to say that they won’t be shiny – they just won’t have the impeccable shine of a modern chrome finish!

If in Doubt, get it Valued

If you’re still unsure, why not take your chandelier to the local antiques dealer. Be sure not to tell them you are thinking of selling it, this way you are guaranteed an accurate valuation!  You may have to pay for a valuation so do your research beforehand in order to avoid any further costs.  If you are looking to sell it then going through a dealer will probably ensure a quicker sale but bear in mind that a portion of the price will have to go to the dealer as fees.

Finally, do not be disheartened if your chandelier is not an incredibly old antique.  Many Modern Chandeliers are worth considerable amounts of money even if they are not old.  Even if they aren’t worth a  lot of money, at least they look nice in your home!

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