Antlers are the horn-like appendages of most deer species, mainly grown by males. Each antler grows from an attachment point on the skull. While an antler is growing it is covered with a “skin” called velvet which supplies oxygen and nutrients to the growing bone; once the antler has achieved its proper size, the velvet is lost and the antler's bone dies. This dead bone structure is the mature antler. Antlers are shed after each mating season.
The earliest recorded use of antler is in ancient Chinese Traditional Medicine. They were ground and used in tonics to treat various ailments.
During the Roman period, antlers are used for decorative and practical purposes such as loop fasteners. Antlers were also given to returning legionaries as trophies for participation in successful campaigns.
From the Early Iron Age well into the Middle Ages some of the objects made from antler were needles, buckles, fasteners, and combs. The ones still existing today date mainly from the 9th-11th century and were found in Vikings settlements.
Native Americans used antlers to create handles for knives and hide scrapers, spear points, bracelets, combs, hairpins, and figurines.
During the Medieval period buttons and beads appear in Europe. Then with the advent of candles, there came a need for candle holders and antlers were used for that purpose as well. Before long, hand held candle holders lead to hanging candelabras. They adorned castles throughout many countries including Germany, England and Scotland.
Today antler chandeliers are as popular as ever. Their timeless beauty transcends styles and trends.