Bell Jar Pendant Lights (and My Love/Hate Relationship)

Bell Jar Pendant Lights

(Bell Jar Pendant Lights – Photo by Steven Cabinets)

Back when I was designing my home, I decided early on that I was going to put bell jar, pendant lighting above my kitchen island. I have always loved the way they look – a little bit medieval, a little bit elegant. However, if you are in the market for lighting and you are considering bell jars, you are going to want to read this article.

Bell Jar Pendant Lights…

Bell Jar Pendant Lights

(Photo by EJ Interior Design, Eugenia Jesberg)

As you can see, bell jar pendants are shaped like an upside down bell. They (mostly) all hang from a three chain system. A typical fixture has the lighting suspended inside the bell jar and held in place by the nipple that is attached to the bottom of the glass. And it all looks very beautiful…. at least it does when it is clean. And, there lies the rub. :-/

Bell Jar Pendant Lights

(Photo by Becker Architects Limited)

Unfortunately, the design allows for these fixtures to become very dirty, very often. After a period of time (just 3 months for my lights) the bell jars become gloomy looking – as the image above demonstrates. This is because the upside-down jar collects all the dust that settles around the house. Then, the heat from the lights bake it on. eww!

What’s more is that because of the guts inside the jar, you really can’t get into it by just reaching down from the top. So, I take my bell jars off 4 times a year to clean them. That gives me about 1 month of sparkling clean, 1 month of so-so, and 1 month where I am really noticing that they need some attention. (like the above image)

Cleaning a light fixture is not really something that most people think about when choosing lighting; however, with bell jar lights it would behoove you to do so. You should also know that cleaning these babies means unscrewing the nipples, unhooking the chains, and VERY carefully taking down the jar.

But, I still love my pendants and would do it all over again if I had to. I just thought that my experience may be something that could benefit someone shopping for lighting.

Bell Jar Pendant Lights – Alternatives…

Bell Jar Pendant Lights

(Photo by MuseInteriors)

If you don’t want to go to all the trouble of removing the jar, you might want to look at a few similar designs that won’t get dust on the interiors – like these closed globes. You will, of course, still have to occasionally clean the exterior of the globe, but at least you won’t have to remove the glass to do so.

Bell Jar Pendant Lights

(Photo by Precision Cabinets)

Another option, is a jar that opens from the bottom. Sort of an upright bell jar. Again, because glass always shows dirt the most, these will require the occasional dusting. However, dust should not settle on the insides as quickly as an inverted jar.

Bell Jar Pendant Lights

(Photo by Tim Barber Ltd Architecture)

Finally, a frosted, or milk glass, bell jar will help to hide the dust for a bit of time. You could probably get away with just an annual cleaning for this pendant.

Final Thoughts…

At any rate, I thought this might be something to consider when shopping for these types of fixtures. But, if you are like me, and you are okay with regularly cleaning the jars, then go for it!