How do I Choose the Best Waterford Crystal Chandelier?

C. Mitchell

The most important thing to consider when choosing any chandelier, particularly a chandelier as expensive and as stately as a Waterford crystal chandelier, is how it will suit your space. If your room is small, a big chandelier could be overwhelming. In an expansive open area, however, a chandelier too small could go unnoticed, and its light might prove inadequate. Once general size is determined, other elements such as personal taste, cost, and long-term value come into play. Choosing the “best” Waterford crystal chandelier depends as much on your own tastes and circumstances as it does on the quality of the light fixture.

Consider the size of the room in which the chandelier will be placed.
Consider the size of the room in which the chandelier will be placed.

Waterford crystal chandeliers are available in a variety of sizes with a corresponding range of price points. The family of chandeliers starts with small fixtures made of half prisms on a single tier and progresses all the way up to elaborate and enormous displays the likes of which have been installed in Windsor Castle in Great Britain and The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. Identifying the appropriate size for your needs is the very first step to choosing the best chandelier.

Crystal chandeliers are made by hanging crystal prisms together to capture light, and generally include multiple tiers of crystal prisms that either surround a central luminaire or support individual luminaires throughout. The ways in which the prisms are cut, designed, and arranged greatly influences the overall look and feel of the chandelier. Half-cut prisms, or prisms where the crystal is only partially angled, are generally less expensive to use than full-cut prisms, where the crystal is intricately angled all the way around. The angling of the prism will impact how light is reflected and distributed in a space. If you are unsure of which prism or prism combination you want, take some time to look at both options, and do some research into what the differences will mean for your use of the chandelier.

You should also consider your purchasing options. Waterford chandeliers can be custom built or ready-made. They are, as of 2010, still being produced new, but the re-sell market is also generally robust. Some styles have been produced for generations, while others are retired in favor of newer designs. A bit of research can help you determine whether the style you like the best is still being produced and, if so, whether you wish to purchase it directly from Waterford or from a second-hand seller.

The bulk of your purchasing decision will inevitably relate to your reasons for purchasing a Waterford crystal chandelier in the first place. Waterford began as an Irish company, and all crystal — chandeliers, goblets, bowls, and the like — was originally made on-site in Waterford’s factories in the Irish cities of Dungarvan and Kilbarry. In 2009, however, the Waterford company was placed in receivership, and most of its assets were ultimately acquired by an outside manufacturer, WWRD Holdings Ltd. WWRD Holdings still produces crystal under the Waterford name, but no pieces are made in Ireland.

Of course, not all re-sellers who claim to be selling old Irish Waterford are in fact dealing in the genuine article. If you are considering purchasing a Waterford crystal chandelier from a down-market seller, be sure to have the chandelier evaluated by an appraiser before purchasing to be sure that it is an original. A chandelier that looks like a Waterford but actually is not is worth far less than an authentic piece.

Choosing the best Waterford crystal chandelier involves a lot of decisions and a bit of research, but when done carefully, it can carry big rewards. Waterford crystal is well regarded as an heirloom. A Waterford chandelier can enliven any space, and, if cared for, will last for generations.

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Discussion Comments


I didn't know that no Waterford was made in Ireland anymore. I guess it's made in Asia, like everything else.

I don't know that I would buy any new Waterford, for that very reason. Ireland certainly isn't benefiting from it, so I don't know why there's really an advantage to buying more these days, unless someone just wants the name. Well, to me, if it's not made in Ireland anymore, then the name doesn't mean much. But that's just my opinion.

I'd definitely check estate sales for a real Waterford crystal chandelier. They're probably one of the few places where you might get an older, Irish one for an affordable price.


If I had the money to spend on a Waterford chandelier, I'd make sure it was the real thing. If you can afford Waterford crystal, you can afford an appraiser who can make sure you're getting the genuine article, if you're buying from a re-seller say, or from an estate sale.

I might be inclined to say an estate sale might be a best bet if you want a Waterford crystal chandelier that's less expensive, but still authentic. Most estate sales have appraisers who have already looked at the items and have established their authenticity. But I might still bring in an expert of my own, just in case.

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