Aarian Marshall is a transportation reporter at WIRED and former CityLab contributor. She lives in San Francisco.
Jewelry made from chandeliers lets you get your hands on a sparkly piece of the Plaza Hotel’s history.
Since 1907, fancy New York travelers and locals have resided at the Plaza, the city’s landmark hotel. (It’s literally a National Historic Landmark, one of two hotels in New York to attain the designation.) Eloise lives there, and the Beatles, Miles Davis, Ethel Merman, and Truman Capote all passed through. And many of them dined under the Plaza’s Baccarat-crystal chandeliers—24 of them, worth between $2,500 to $4,000 each, according to the New York Post, but taken down during a remodeling in 2005.
What use is learning about history if you can’t get your grubby little hands on it? After leaving the massive chandeliers to languish in storage for nearly a decade, the hotel’s head of retail showed the crystal behemoths to the jewelry designer Heather Morra in 2014. Morra was inspired to create the eight-piece Legacy Collection, now on sale through the hotel’s gift shop.
Each jewelry piece—necklaces, bracelets and earrings are available—features crystal from the Plaza’s chandeliers, which Morra estimates date back to the 1920s and ‘30s.
Many of the handcrafted pieces are finished in 18-karat gold, and cost between $150 and $500.
“[P]eople who were engaged there, or had coming out parties and other celebrations like to have a keepsake,” Morra told The Boston Globe of her collection. “The Plaza is such a part of New Yorkers’ lives. There’s an emotional attachment to this place and people have an emotional attachment to jewelry as keepsakes.”
Chandelier jewelry, $150-500 at The Plaza Boutique.