Elk antlers are particularly prized because they are longer and the branches are often more numerous and intricate. As such, an elk antler chandelier has a grander presence - a stunning piece of natural art that lends elegance and drama wherever they are installed.
A Bit of History
The antler chandelier first became popular among the medieval aristocracy at a time when the animals were hunted for food and sport. Collected as trophies, the antlered head was stuffed and mounted on walls. From there, the practice evolved as the antlers were used to hold candlesticks and hung on ceilings as a source of illumination and admiration.
A Sustainable Resource
As our environment changed and people became serious about preserving nature, the practice of killing animals for their antlers was replaced with the more sustainable method of gathering the precious materials after they are shed at the close of the mating season.
Deer, moose, and caribou naturally lose their antlers around December. In contrast, elk do so in April or May to help it in competing for the usually scarce food supplies during the winter months. This unique characteristic allows the antlers to grow and mature more, further adding to the mystique and uniqueness of an elk antler chandelier.
Choosing Your Antler Chandelier
Price is often the biggest stumbling block to owning a truly outstanding elk antler chandelier. An authentic piece made of top-grade antlers commands thousands of dollars while manufactured ones made of resin go for much less. Of course, going for an original is the ideal choice, but you need to be able to recognize the distinguishing marks of a real antler chandelier compared to a cheap imitation.
Real antlers are solid and heavy while manufactured ones are hollowed out and light. Antlers are also graded - Grade 1 is given to those who have been gathered within 1-3 months after shedding and exhibit a shiny finish indicative of high quality. Grade 2 is given to antlers that have been found one year after shedding and show chips and cracks from the prolonged exposure. Of course, there are Grades 3 and 4 antlers that unscrupulous traders pass off as the real deal. A close inspection should reveal brittleness and obvious imperfections and you should do well to look elsewhere.
A Few Rules to Follow
An elk antler chandelier shouldn't be purchased on impulse without first determining the physical dimensions of the room where it will be displayed. This is so because an antler chandelier that is too large or too small for the room's size will not only fail in satisfying the lighting requirement but bungle the aesthetic effect as well.
Rule of thumb: allot a two-inch diameter for every foot of floor space. Choose your lighting source, i.e., candles or electric bulbs, making sure to factor in safety and practicality. Finally, be ready to provide regular cleanup of your antler chandelier as they can be a magnet for dust and cobwebs.