Thursday, February 18, 2010

Sicilian Chandelier - Thursday Sight Hound

What: Hand-made Sicilian Chandelier
Where: Taormina Sicily
Price: XXX Euros = less than a Pottery Barn Chandelier (Not really a thrift find, but a had-to-have find that didn't break the bank!)

While I was on a wonderful trip to Sicily with all these people...

and in the same town where I met this fellow and his frisky pup...

and spotted these people having a friendly conversation in the middle of the street,

and Mt. Etna was erupting just three miles from our hotel,

I spotted this lovely little chandelier...

We passed by the antique shop daily in our week-long stay in the beautiful little seaside hilltown of Taormina. I admired the chandelier which the shop owner would hang outside his shop door every day. Close to the end of our stay, I mentioned it to our wonderful tour "hostess" from the alumni group, and she went with me to see it. Danie speaks much better Italian than I do. I was able to ask the price in Italian, and understand the answer, but not much more than that. Danie agreed it was a pretty special little chandelier and also agreed that I'd never find another like it and it wasn't likely I'd be back to Sicily any time soon! Danie suddenly with ease began bargaining with the shop owner over the price. And she continued to bargain with him until he dropped the price to an amount that made him grumble a bit and what was likely he'd ask a local to pay, versus the "tourist price". I was very happy that Danie took the initiative to get a good price for me, and I happily paid for the chandelier.

The shop owner told me that he designed and made the chandelier himself, the shop contained antiques and new items and that the shop had belonged to his family for over one hundred years. He proceeded to wrap the chandelier with brown paper and packing tape---in a big wad that looked like a bomb! I was concerned about getting that on the plane back to the U.S. without hassle.

My tour companions all ribbed me about the trouble I'd have getting the "bomb" home. They also ribbed me that I'd never get it to function in the U.S. because of the different electrical requirements and designs the Italians have. I was very determined to get this sweet thing home AND make it shine. I received a lot of stares from other passengers at the airport. I was a bit concerned myself the first time it went through the X-ray and you could see this thing with wires coming out of it in all directions! But no one in the security made a comment. Nor was I held up through security in any of the legs of our trip home. I brought it as carry-on luggage and squeezed it safely in the overhead bin.

When I returned to Seattle, I took the chandelier to a lamp shop to see what would be required for installing it in my home. The shop owner pulled out three little items which looked like small light bulb sockets and dropped them into each of my chandelier's light bulb sockets. He said, "This is all you need!" Wow, that was simple and not expensive. A great tip to know when you decide to buy a European light fixture.

The chandelier design is configured like an ancient oil lamp bowl with "ribbons" draped and tied in bows around it. I installed it in my Seattle bedroom and when I moved to SLC, I installed it in my bedroom here. I also brought the rest of my chandelier collection from Seattle to the SLC home.

To diffuse the light for the bedroom, I added the shades.

Happy Hunting Houndies!

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