Antique Candle Holders

Antique Candle Holders

Candle holders have evolved from simple to ornate; from small cups for votive candles to wrought holders meant to support large pillar candles.

What are antique candle holders made of?
  • Glass: Antique glass candlesticks may be made entirely of clear or colored glass. Or, glass may be used as a decorative element of the candle holder, such as the use of antique glass prisms for embellishment.
  • Iron: Iron candle holders can be either wrought or cast iron. Wrought iron is a low-carbon iron that can be worked into different forms. Cast iron is about 3.5% iron and is poured into molds.
  • Brass and bronze: Brass and bronze are copper alloys. Brass is an alloy of copper and zinc. Bronze is an alloy of copper, tin, and other metals. Some antique brass candle holders use these metals together. Brass candlesticks can be gilt bronze or gold.
  • Tin: Tin is a shiny, silver-colored, elemental metal. Antique tin candle holders should not be kept in very cold temperatures or they will eventually turn to powder.
  • Pewter: Pewter is a malleable, bluish-gray metal. It can be an alloy of tin and lead; or tin, copper, antimony, bismuth, and sometimes silver.
  • Enamelware: Enamelware is any metal that is decorated with paint, and then fired in a kiln. In champlevé enamel, the pattern is carved into the metal, then infilled with colorful paints, and fired. After the enamelware candle holder is fired, the paint is hardened and permanent.
  • Bakelite: Bakelite is a trademark name for thermoplastic resins and plastics. Antique Bakelite candle holders can be brightly colored.

Additionally, some antique candle holders have bases of marble, pietra dura, or an inlay of colored stones or marbles.

What styles of candle holders are there?
  • Betty lamps: Antique Betty Lamps, invented in the 1700s, use wicks saturated with vegetable or olive oil instead of a wax candle to sustain the flame.
  • Queen Anne: Queen Anne candle holders are known for their elegant curves and lines.
  • Gothic: Gothic candle holders often have piecework that resemble the pointed arches and windows of Gothic cathedrals.
  • Candelabras: Candelabras are ornate, multi-branched lamp stands.
  • Girandole: A girandole is a multi-branched wall sconce that often comes with a mirror.
  • Art Nouveau: Art Nouveau candle holders are notable for their sinuous, natural forms.
  • Rush light: Rush light candle holders were first made to hold rushes that were soaked in grease and lit. They were said to give a better light than poorly made candles.
  • Belle Epoque: Belle Epoque candle holders date back to the period between the Franco-Prussian War and World War I. They are usually ornate and come in a distinct Victorian or ArtNouveau style.