Beverly Hills to Light 16 Crystal Chandeliers High above Rodeo Drive

Christmas trees are so commonplace

Beverly Hills, which turned 100 this year, is slipping into its holiday suit. Chandeliers from Baccarat installed for the season now swing 18 feet above Rodeo Drive, where palm and birch trees are strung with lights. It makes sense that a city famous for its expensive taste (a request-for-proposal for the city’s holiday decor and lighting put the budget at half a million dollars) would ring in the holidays with crystal maker Baccarat, which is celebrating its 250th anniversary and has participated in Beverly Hills’ seasonal festivities in the past. But suspending 16 Plexiglas-encased lighting fixtures above a busy street isn’t easy. Baccarat’s marketing director, Jaime Jimenez, walked us through the installation process. Here’s what we learned:

Mayor Lili Bosse brought Baccarat back
“Before she was mayor, Lili Bosse and I grabbed lunch and talked about the amazing opportunity of having Baccarat and Beverly Hills celebrating anniversaries on the same year. From the very beginning, she had an attitude of ‘let’s do it!’ I still get goose bumps just talking about it. I’ve been looking forward to this moment since I joined the company in 2003.”

The chandeliers look extra sparkly because they feature more than 500 hand-added crystal drops—each
“Inside [each fixture’s Plexiglas] enclosure, the main frame is already installed, but every little crystal drop comes separate and has a specific spot assigned in the structure. The chandelier has thousand of little pieces. Many people think that chandeliers come in a cardboard box and you just hang them. In fact, all the chandeliers were tailor-made for this event and took about four days to be finished.”

The chandeliers were made in France…
“The crystal brand still manufactures its chandeliers in the same town in the northeast of France where Baccarat began over two centuries ago, authorized by King Louis XV to improve the French economy. There are blowers, cutters, and gravers, which are fifth generation.”

…but they’re L.A. friendly (read: earthquake-ready)
“Crystal chandeliers are not designed to be outside, so we had to make sure they are safe and protected. The Plexiglas enclosures shield the chandeliers from the local elements: 90-mile-per-hour Santa Ana winds, [the possibility of] 8.5 earthquakes, and rain. They have to hang high enough that a bus is clear to drive underneath. We had to be prepared for any what-if scenarios. These things are not going anywhere.”

The Rodeo Drive Holiday Lights lighting ceremony takes place this Sunday, November 23, at 6 p.m. in the 300 block of Rodeo Drive near Brighton Way.