A few days back, I was poking around Magart, a local store that specializes in Mexican art and furnishings. It's a terrific place, absolutely stuffed with wonderful finds.
Along with vintage furniture, paintings, statuary, and hardware, the owner buys old chandeliers, which often have missing crystals. He has buckets and buckets of loose crystals for sale.
I picked up a few beauties to add to the little chandelier in my closet:
Three faceted teardrops:
Three heavily faceted teardrops:
Three leafy shapes:
And this unusual shield shape:
If you don't like the darkened old wires that most of these crystals come with, change 'em out! New copper or silver wire would be beautiful. Almost-invisible fishing line is great, too.
Don't be afraid of a little grime; most crystals in junk shops are grubby when you buy them. I wiped off the teardrop on the right so you could see how much they sparkle when clean:
This was my entire cache, all for $8. And I didn't even try to bargain.
Vintage crystals are fun to drip all over a chandelier or sconce. But try them in other places, too: Tie them with satin ribbon on a Christmas tree. Sew them onto a garland. Attach one beautiful crystal to a bow on a special gift. Or just set them out in a bowl to be admired and handled.
However you use them, crystal chandelier drops are easy to find, relatively inexpensive to buy, and lovely to have.