Top Ten Antiques   to Buy in Belgium
French Palm D'or Lamp Base, ready for rewiring and selecting a new lampshade

French Palm D'or Lamp Base, ready for re-wiring and selecting a new lampshade



No. 3

Lamps can add a small personal touch or become  the main attraction, depending on the scale of a room. Take for example a small office with a large desk, appointed with and interesting base topped off by a red lampshade. 
And you may ask what for an interesting lamp base would I be scouting?  Pieces or pairs of things you can easily have made into a lamp but also one of a kind bases that started out very elegant, lost their glory and  just lack a new owner with a creative spark and little elbow grease to shine it up like silver plated candlesticks. For the rustic or informal look we like French confit pots (warrants another blog, (just google for now) or ceramic whisky kegs with likewise rustic fabric on the lampshade like larger weave linen. For student rooms and and music enthusiast, convert a  trumpet or clarinet  picked up at flea markets or a brocante for a song.  Changing an antique object into a lamp is actually not such a great deal and provides you with a unique decoration at reasonable cost. A little warning however. If, for instance, you decide to have a valuable vase made into a lamp base, please make sure the vase itself is not altered or damaged with serious loss of value as a result. For valuable items like this, special techniques are available which are always reversible.  


Old lamps and lighting found at  brocantes often still have their original wires, fittings and plugs. Please realize these lamps may have been out of use for many years. As corroded wiring and pre-1960 plugs and fittings can cause electric hazards it is highly recommended to have your local (antiques) restorer or electrician to have a look at it before you actually put the plug in the power. Bringing an old lamp up to today’s safety standards is a relatively inexpensive exercise and having this done now provides you with a lamp that can be used world wide. Lamps done in Belgium are prepared for 220volts but work perfectly in the countries with 110volts. The one thing you may have to change locally are the plugs (or use adaptor NOT transformer) and of course you need light bulbs with the voltage of your specific country.

Local dealers will also be able to assist you with finding the perfect lampshade. Many stores in Belgium offer a wide variety of shades readily available for your specific lamp style, but even so you can opt for having a lampshade made to your liking. The advantage of going this route is that you are in control of exact shape and color to match your specific lamp or even the decor of your room. Having a shade made to your liking will not cost an arm and a leg and the eventual additional cost is easily compensated by the fact that you have a unique one of a kind item. Always allow for a couple of weeks incase you decide to have an old or antique lamp re-done. All may sound to add up seriously, but new, quality lighting is expensive and having an old or antique lamp re-done rewards you with having something vintage and quality which you know is safe today without the feeling you have one of the millions sold at the mega store.

My favorite lamp in Belgium is the 40’s Palm D’or lamp. Regularly found in flea markets, these lamps were designed after those used in hotels in Cannes and Nice. They are recognized by he 24 carat gilt palm leaves in the middle emanating from a block-shaped base, standing minimally about 20 inches tall. The base material may vary from black metal, chrome steel and some rarer with Baccarat crystal. They can look grim when at the market, but after restoration they are fantastic and stand proud in formal as well as in a contemporary decor. This lamp base when  topped off with a black (outside) and gold metallic (inside) shade, rimmed with a thin piping on the edges for a “tres chique”  can easily become the crowning  jewel in any room.



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