When set up properly, crystal displays can be some of the most beautiful and enchanting centerpieces a homeowner can put together. Because these pieces are usually transparent, they offer a unique challenge, and opportunity, to build a unique lighting setup. When working with a transparent subject, though, the most important consideration is how the lights are arranged. Color temperature and intensity are also parts of the equation, but it’s fixture arrangement that will make the biggest impact on a setup. That’s why lighting experts prefer flexible fixtures that can be placed in a variety of ways when working with transparent subjects. The extra positional flexibility means every subject can be displayed optimally and in any setting, whether it’s a basic shelf or a special case made just for the collection.
What is the best way to showcase crystal displays?
With transparent or even semi-opaque subjects, the thing to keep in mind is that every pinpoint of light will create a reflection, and this reflection will look like a sparkle. Of course, it is possible to overdo it and turn the subject into a mirror. Some lighting experts, though, prefer a different approach when setting up fixtures for a transparent subject. Instead of beaming in a few points of light, these experts set up fixtures that produce soft light and take advantage of the subject’s natural qualities. For example, installing a light under or behind the subject can give it a glow that appears to come from within. This effect is particularly impactful when the subject is mounted to a pedestal, because it looks like the light is coming from nowhere. There is no fixture mounted to the ceiling or wall, which are the spots observers will look first.
Picking color temperature for crystal displays, though not as important as fixture arrangement, will also determine how the subject looks. When light passes through the material, it spreads and becomes more diffuse. A perceptive lighting expert can take advantage of this to produce a soft wash of warm or cool illumination.
Care must be taken when considering how to position the lights in the display for the best results. Depending on how the cabinet is built, you have options from both horizontal and vertically mounted fixtures. If the cabinet is over 30” wide or has glass shelves, consider mounting the lights vertically on both sides. For cabinets with wood shelves, mounting the lights horizontally provides the best uniform illumination.
Phantom’s Elite and Ultra LED lights are highly customizable, which is what makes them perfect for crystal displays. They are highly compact, so they can be placed anywhere the fixtures have some cover. And if the cover isn’t already present, Phantom can provide it in the form of an aiming trim. Aiming trims are particularly helpful when installing the fixtures inside cabinetry or on shelves. Phantom’s LED lights are also available in a range of color temperatures and hues, from warm incandescent to natural white, from red to blue. The right color can create a peaceful or dramatic look, or fit in to a large color scheme in the room or home.
Crystal is beautiful on its own, but with the right lights, it can shine even brighter.