WHEN I WAS growing up, my mother’s chandelier was her most beloved belonging and the reason my brothers were not allowed in the living room.
The chandelier was a nine-armed confection of crystal and bronze that was the birthplace of everything that sparkles. When the sun hit it just right, the lead-crystal pendalogues refracted candy-color rainbows on the walls that my Dennis the Menace brothers snuck in to lick.
April was the season for chandelier cleaning, a team sport in which my parents excelled. The two-day event involved painstakingly cleaning each crystal with rubbing alcohol and Q-tips. Then my mother, the team captain, would instruct my father in the proper technique for rehanging the crystal with a special pair of surgical tweezers.
This month, as I remember that happy, twinkly springtime ritual, I wonder why classic chandeliers have lost their luster. It’s true: Nobody wants a grandma chandelier (I can’t believe we’re even calling them that) anymore. Even as the millennials have championed every other vintage-furnishings trend imaginable—from spindle beds to cross-stitching—they have passed over the chandelier.
“The new generation wants nothing to do with crystal chandeliers,” said Michael Lombardo, a Philadelphia chandelier restorer who specializes in cleaning, installing and repairing crystal fixtures.