A Guide to Different Candlestick Designs

A Guide to Different Candlestick Designs

There’s a certain quality to candlelight that simply can’t be matched by modern-day electric lighting. If you agree that candles have that something extra about them that’s difficult to place, then this guide is for you. Today, we’re going over some of the different candlestick designs that you’ll find and what they are used for.

Candelabra

These are a fairly well-known style of candle holder, reminiscent of everything high-class and sophisticated. The best way to spot a candelabra – or candelabrum – is by how many lights are held by one piece. Candelabrum are very fantastical and often over-the-top in their design, think of the various fantasy Disney castles and elaborate ballroom scenes that you’re sure to have seen time and time again on the silver screen.

A Guide to Different Candlestick Designs
candelabra designs
sterling silver candelabra designs

Candelabrum were designed to be elaborate and light up a large area, and so ornate decoration is common. The most common design for a candelabra is to hold four candles, although they can hold as few as two, or as many as seven or even nine on the largest examples of this kind. Equally, you can also find candelabrum sold in sets, where you might find two silver candelabra in a set, with each one displaying three lights.

Chambersticks

If you’ve ever watched a Victorian horror story, where the maiden in the billowing white nightgown has to traverse the darkness of some haunted manor with nothing but a single candle for light, then you’ve probably seen a chamberstick. These are easy to recognise because they’re short, often with small, circular trays attached at their base. That’s because these candlesticks were intended for use in the bedroom, or bed chamber.

sterling silver chamberstick designs
antique chambersticks
antique silver chamberstick

The trays, usually fitted with some kind of handle, whether it be a straight handle to hold or a round, loop-shaped handle for placing a single finger through, were intended for catching any melting wax or fallen ash from the candle, as well as keeping the holder’s hands safely away from the flame. These candlesticks are quite popular with collectors as they are unique in their appearance and have a practical charm to them that’s difficult to match.

Tapersticks

The easiest difference to note between tapersticks and your most average candlesticks is in their size. Tapersticks are intended for holding wax tapers, which are smaller sticks of wax than a standard candle. Being smaller and thinner than candlesticks, tapersticks were originally used for melting wax to properly seal letters and other important documents. A lot of the designs you can spot in tapersticks is that they appear almost as miniatures of popular candlestick designs of their respective periods.

sterling silver tapersticks
antique silver taperstick
victorian taperstick

Today, tapersticks make for excellent pieces of antique decoration as well as collectable antiques, due to their size, stature, and quaint design features. They are sometimes used to hold candles as small accent features on bookshelves, tv stands, and sideboard cabinets. These tapersticks even sometimes feature figures as part of their designs that appearing to be holding up the candlelight themselves.

Piano Candlesticks

Similar to chambersticks, piano candlesticks are smaller, stouter designs than the candlesticks we tend to picture. They are larger than tapersticks, having weighty bases and thick columns. Intended to be placed on top of a piano, their large bases keep them steady and secure. The candlestick holding section of a piano candlestick is short so that the pianist can properly see both the keys and the sheet music thanks to the candlelight.

silver piano candlesticks
art deco piano candlesticks
Edwardian silver candlesticks

These candles have a lot of modern purposes, as well as continuing to be an excellent adornment for the top of your piano. A lot of candlesticks that are widely collected today are some form of piano candlestick or something similar. They are small, sturdy, and often decorative die to their original purpose at the focal point of the home.

Antique and Vintage Candlesticks

Although candlesticks are still made today, it is usually the antique and vintage candlesticks that are valued the most. Made from materials like silver, porcelain, and enamel, antique and vintage candlestick are often highly indicative of the styles of their times. Victorian candlesticks, Georgian candlesticks, and Edwardian candlesticks are especially stylistic, emulating everything from Ancient Greek pillars to clean cut Art Deco designs.

It’s easy to see why people get so attached to a certain style of candlestick, or candlesticks from specific eras. With this guide in hand, you’ll be able to tell your candelabra from your taperstick and everything in between with ease. Which type of candlestick is your favourite?

The author’s views are entirely their own and may not always reflect the views of AC Silver.

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