The fixture is a beautiful addition to our contemporary dining room.. It's a very substantial size and gives off enough light, even with smaller bulbs. The shades are definitely black. The only problem was that it arrived with a chip in one of the three upper cylinders on the central post. I didn't want the hassle of returning it and was able to install it so that it really doesn't show unless you know it's there. Installation was not a problem. If not for the chip, I would have given it 5 stars.