Inspired by antiques: Art deco candlsticks

Editorial Staff

This week a striking pair of candlesticks that sold last week at Skinner auctions in Boston caught my eye. Here the brilliant amethyst glass has been molded into an art deco rock formation, reminding me of the current vogue for facets in furniture and design.  The natural formation of rock crystal, both angular and irregular, has found translation in everything from West Elm side tables to high-design light fixtures, but it’s the amethyst color of these candlesticks that feels of-the-moment to me.  Purple often carries royal associations and definitely surged in popularity during the 1980s (think purple taffeta Scaasi cocktail dresses), but it waned as minimalism surfaced in the next decade. In 2009, however, the craggy quality of our inspiration pieces brings humility to the color and reminds me of several items on the market:

Amethyst bookends by McCoy Design, price on request
Essentially an amethyst geode split in two, these would make a dramatic focal point on a bookcase or floating shelf.

Amethyst pyramid glass lampshade by Sea Gull Lighting, $34.11, available at CSN Lighting
A single amethyst-colored prism with ziggurat-like detailing showing through, this small fixture would look fabulous hung in multiples.

“Honeycomb” wallpaper by Tom Dixon, price on request,  available at Cole & Son
I love the pairing of a contemporary lighting designer with the traditionally staid firm Cole & Son.  In this paper soft shades of lavender temper Dixon’s bold geometry.


“Diamond” console by Boco do Lobo, price on request
Can form follow function…and jewelry?  This impressive faceted credenza is like a cocktail ring for your dining room.

Amethyst obelisk, $42.99, from Pelham-Grayson
Though monumental in form, a diminutive purple obelisk makes the most impact grouped together in a collection. 

“Passion” perfume by Elizabeth Taylor, $28.99 for 2.5 oz, at
Like the indomitable violet-eyed actress herself, the spirit of the 1980s can’t be counted out just yet—her perfume packaging looks ripe for a re-launch. 

Though some might find that less is more, now is an opportune time to check out Harvard University’s Museum of Natural History, where the centerpiece of its minerals and gems collection is a massive 1,600-pound amethyst geode!