The haute couture of crystal
Corps de ballet
It is in the great hall, the hot-glass workshop, that the expert waltz of the glassmakers around the incandescent susbtance begins. They glide around like a corps de ballet, with confident and well-rehearsed movements that have been passed down through the ages, each time renewing the wonder that is crystal. It is a fierce battle between heavy matter and time, which is short because crystal hardens at room temperature.
Trial by fire
Flushed by the heat, the most powerful of the glass-blowers plunges a heavy iron rod into the incandescent mass, gathers the glowing molten substance into the ball and then carries it to the master glass-maker. Standing, he shapes it with a wooden board. Sparks fly.
Nearby, another glassmaker holds the blowpipe, turns it, and twists, hollows out and stretches the thich mass into a fine coil. Together the workmen slide the red-hot crystal into an S-shaped mould, where it hardens instantaneously. That's it! The last branch of the largest chandelier ever to come out of these workshops has come to life.
A steady hand
Having endured the trial by fire, the piece of crystal is separated from the craftsman's rod with a drop of water. It may now leave the great hall for the cold workshop. The craftsman can proceed to cutting and decorating the crystal. Under his expert fingers, the rough outline of the patterne to be cut takes shape. A steady hand and a perfect eye are required!
Assembly, disassembly, reassembly...
In the chandelier workshop, the test assembly of the chandelier has already begun. The construction plan is complex. Then, gradually, the cut crsytal branches, bowls, cups, clothe the metal skeleton. Standing at the top of the ladder, the fitter screws on the light bulbs and positions the hurricanes on the crystal arms. Light and gold flash in the facets of each of the 3 000 pieces of crystal that make up the chandelier. Turn on the lights!