Relevant categories: Mirrors
(Above photo - Gilt Chippendale Mirror - Pier Mirrors Ornate Birds )
If you want to improve your home décor, think of buying one or two antique mirrors. When they were first invented, they were valued so high that only rich families and royalty could afford them. It was not the glass that determined its high value, but rather the ornately carved frames. Some even had a gilt finishing, a sign of luxury. No wonder these mirrors are experiencing a high demand from across the world. What are the things to look out for when you go to buy an antique mirror? Here are a few suggestions:
1. Glass Imperfections
When antique mirrors were first made, people were just learning how to make glass. For that reason, antique mirrors come with certain imperfections. Check out for bubbling in the glass as well as wavy surfaces. Some mirrors even have dark spots, especially those with a thin, mercury-coated sheet. They may also have yellowing or graying inside the surface of the mirror. Even so, antique mirrors shouldn’t have uniform mottled patches or spots.
2. Mirror Frames
(Above photo - George II Rococo Gilt Pier Mirror - English Glass Mirrors )
Most of the mirror frames from the past were made from wood. So, check for signs, or wear and age. The frames will have imperfections, no matter how well they have been preserved. If the frame looks too perfect, then the mirror might not be antique. Subtle imperfections include wood darkening, chipping, and staining due to prolonged use. Apart from the frame, the other part that was made from wood is the back of the mirror.
3. Glass Thickness
Compared to modern pieces, antique mirrors usually feature thicker glass. But how do you check for the thickness without removing the mirror from the frame? You may use a key. Once the tip of the key is on the surface, check how close the reflected image is to the actual tip. If too close, then you are dealing with an antique mirror. Modern mirrors, on the other hand, would give you a wider disparity between the object and the image.
(Above photo - Large Chippendale Gilt Pier Mirror Glass Mirrors )
Is the frame held together by screws? If so, then you should remove one to see how it looks. If it has imperfections, then it indicates that the mirror is antique. That is because, in the 17th century, screws used to fasten furniture were mostly hand-made. For instance, the top may not be well centered. If it has new, perfect screws, then it may not be completely original. Some restoration might have been done by replacing the original screws.
5. Frame Details
(Above photo - French Rococo Mirror Oval Maidens Head Gilt Frame )
Antique mirrors had their frames finished by hand. Woodcarvers would take time to cut out the patters. As such, you cannot expect entirely uniform patterns. If the finishing looks too uniform to be antique, it probably isn’t. More likely, you might be dealing with a modern, machine-carved mirror.
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