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Mini Pendants

About Mini Pendants

Mini pendants are downward-facing hanging lights that are typically less than 10 inches in diameter. The advantage of mini pendants is their flexibility to put light where needed, often in tight spots. Most have shades made of glass and hang from the ceiling by strong electrical cord, chain, or rigid metal tubing. The metal tubing comes in various lengths such as 6-inch, 12-inch, and 18-inch pieces that screw together. This makes it easy to achieve the desired height of the light no matter what the ceiling-to-floor measurement. Chain works in the same way--you can add or remove links to raise or lower the mini-pendant. On ones that suspend from electrical wire, there is a mechanism hidden behind the ceiling plate that enables you to lengthen or shorten the wire. All these fixtures come with a canopy that hides the electrical box in the ceiling.

One use of mini-pendants is to align three or four of them over an island in a kitchen. They can be adjusted to the perfect height to light the area where food is prepared. Another use would be to place several over a bar area. In fact, quite often they are used in commercial bars and restaurants. A single one can provide just enough light for eating at a small table. If you have an area in the house where you need a spot of light like the corner of the living room, bedroom, or small entryway, these will do the job. In the family room or game room, a series of mini-pendants hung over a pool table will illuminate the playing surface.

There is a variety of shapes and materials available. Cylindrical shapes work well in a contemporary setting and come in many different colors and materials. These include colorful blown glass, clear glass, frosted glass, pieces of shell, ceramic, fabric and metal, crystal and metal, and pierced metal. Cube shapes and polygons with straight sides also lend themselves to contemporary design and come in linen fabric stretched over frames, glass embedded with natural organic fibers and plants, granite stone, marble, organza fabric, multi-crystal panels, ceramic, clear or colored glass panels surrounding a frosted glass cylinder in the center, or hand-formed art glass with modern designs. Finishes on the metal parts tend toward chrome and nickel but there are instances of a bronze-brown finish paired with a modern shape.

There are other contemporary looks that utilize shapes such as cylinders with the top a closed curve, three-quarter spheres open on the bottom, elliptical shapes with open bottoms, football shapes with open tops and bottoms, truncated cones, and simplified bell shapes. All of these are made with cased hand-blown art glass (a layer of white glass inside fused to the colorful outer art glass). This method of glass-making produces even light through the sides of the shade without hotspots from the bulbs. The glass patterns produced in this manner are all one-of-a-kind, created by artisans one at a time, rather than by machine in a production line.

Traditional style mini-pendants often feature bell-shaped glass shades with or without textured patterns in the glass. Finishes are brown and often the glass is a beige color. Some shapes start out bell-like at the top but rather than flaring out at the bottom, bend inward slightly. This shape is more transitional--a cross between contemporary and traditional. Whereas the stems of most mini-pendants are straight and plain, some traditional ones include intricate curved details.

In addition to traditional and modern mini-pendants there are craftsman, tiffany style, crystal, and casual forms.