Antique mirrors: Let's start at the very beginning, a very good place to start
A topic on antique mirrors cannot be complete without mentioning Murano. Not far from where those title words were first sung, about 271 miles due south-west, there lies a little island near the crook of the knee of the "Italian boot". Its name â Murano, Venice; its specialty â glass mirrors. This little island once held the secrets of making glass mirrors; antique mirrors from today's perspective, because in the heyday of the 16th century, this was the only place in the world that made mirrors using glass.
Best shopping spots for antique mirrors of Murano
The glass workers in Murano were highly respected, and were the only working class that was allowed to marry into the noble Venetian families of the time. Of course, they could only leave Murano on pain of death, or worse! The techniques that kept them at the top of their business for nearly two hundred years gradually leaked out, and they lost their monopoly. Murano still makes mirrors, but the glory days are long gone. Venetian antique mirrors are available all over the world today, and if you have a little bit of "heirloom money" to spend on yourself, the resources are aplenty. Online resources can often be the best because your options are greater; you might find something in England or India that's just what you wanted. Indian exporters are reliable sources of genuine antique mirrors of the Murano variety.
Latter-day antique mirrors
There are also antique mirrors from other places such as England, the home of such geniuses like Thomas Chippendale and Thomas Sheraton, both of whom gave their names and their talents to exquisite works of art made of wood. Antique cheval or psyche mirrors were their specialty, and they gave them some traditional designs that are popular to this day. They also introduced several design changes like incorporating desks and drawers, true to their cabinet-making trade. Many of these are also on sale with various antique dealers around the world, and the online option is once again your best source of genuine antique mirrors of this period.
Metal frames on antique mirrors
Antique mirrors come in many other designs, either metal, wood or a composite of both. Metal-framed mirrors generally see the use of alloys like bronze and brass, but can also be made of pure metals like iron, and even silver and gold. The more expensive of the antiques are made of gold and other pure metals and have some very intricate work done on them. In the old days, a piece of mirrored glass was considered to be a valuable work of art, and the purpose of the frame was to shield them from potential damage; this is why many of the older frames are designed exactly the way painting frames are.
Antique mirrors with wooden frames
Wood-framed antique mirrors are even more diverse in nature. Typically, the easier the availability of the wood, the cheaper would be the frame. Conversely, something that had to be imported from a far-off place was given more value. For this reason, a cheap frame from one part of the world could have been greatly valued in another part. But with the consolidation of the global economy, all that changed, and value was standardized â more or less. Ebony is probably the oldest wood used for framing mirrors, but nearly every type of hardwood known to man has been used in antique mirrors. Exotic woods include tropical woods like teak, bamboo, rosewood and sandalwood, and can be very expensive, especially on an antique.
Antique mirrors: Pricing the priceless
Pricing is a little difficult to pin down as far as antique mirrors are concerned because the value not only lies in the material and the age but also, in some cases, in the way in which they were used, or the people who used them. As an example, a cheval mirror that was used in the Palace of Versailles by King Louis XIV himself would fetch millions perhaps, while a similar piece on eBay or Amazon can be bought for a few thousand dollars, or even under a thousand.