Chandeliers are lighting fixtures attached to the ceiling which are often decorated with light refracting elements creating a noble impression and a special light display. However, chandeliers have not always been as modern.

The earliest ones originate from the Middle Ages. Medieval chandeliers had the form of a wooden cross and were lighted with candles which were secured on spikes sticking out of the wood. From the 15th century on more complex chandeliers with a ring or crown design were created and became a symbol of luxury. Therefore especially palaces and homes of the nobility, clergy as well as merchant class were decorated with them.

Developments in glassmaking in the 18th century made the cheaper production of lead crystal possible. Due to its intense light-scattering properties this highly refractive glass quickly became popular and led to the crystal chandelier.

In the 19th century many candle chandeliers were converted to gas and later whenever electricity appeared for illumination many used both until the use of electricity was so widely spread that chandeliers were created only for use with electricity. Towards the end of the 20th century they were increasingly used as decorative items only and may not give any illumination.

The world’s largest Bohemian crystal chandelier is located in the Dolmabahçe Palace in Istanbul. It was a gift from Queen Victoria and counts as many as 750 lamps with a total weight of 4.5 tons.