Within the world of antiques, few things are as highly appreciated as an antique mirror. Their charm and elegance make the whole room beautiful. But how can you tell if a mirror is antique or not? Read below to get knowledge of what to look for. And if you already own antique mirrors that you want to know the value of, then Value My Stuff is the right option. Our mirror experts are ready to examine your item and give you a value.
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For a mirror to be considered antique, it has to have been made more than 100 years ago. However, to be labeled vintage, it must be between 20 and 99 years old. There are, however, some details to look for if you want to determine if the mirror is antique or not:
Glasses used in antique mirrors were all backed with silver mercury backing, which, over time, will create a cloudy look due to oxidation. You often see this around the edges. This can be imitated on new reproduction mirrors that want the antique look. The reproductions often have a more uniform and almost perfect mottled pattern, differentiating them from authentic antique mirrors.
The Color of the Glass
Another important detail regarding the glass is the color. As with everything – if it's 100+ years old, there will be slight changes in the colors, even if the item is in perfect condition. The glass of antique mirrors is somewhat yellow with a touch of gray. The glass of newer mirrors is color-free.
The Pen Test
As you can see on the YouTube video in this article, there's a clever test you can do yourself; all you need is a pen. It's straightforward! Take a pen and place it against the glass surface. If it's (very likely) to be an antique mirror, then you'll see the reflection of the pen extremely close to the glass. If it's a modern mirror, it will look like the pen is an inch away from the mirror's surface.
The Frame of the Mirror
The frame of the mirror can be a good indicator if it's antique or not. Antique mirrors have handmade frames, while modern mirrors have machine-made structures. The more imperfections you see, the more likely it is to be handmade.
The Back of the Mirror
As with all antiques, it's always good to examine the back side, as it can often give you more information than the front. The first thing you should look for is a maker's mark. There can also be some labels, inscriptions, etc. These details could inform you of when the mirror was made. Other essential factors include screws, nails, and hanging fixtures. These need to be original to indicate if it's antique or not. Sure, you sometimes see antique mirrors that've been serviced with new screws, etc. However, screws are a recent invention; therefore, you usually don't see them in antique mirrors. And let's remember the back itself. For antique mirrors, the back is generally made of wood, while today, you more often see stiff paper or plastic.
The Style of the Mirror
The shape and style of the mirror can often indicate what period the mirror is from. There are plenty of examples. The Baroque style, for example, is often oval-shaped with a gilded frame in gold featuring flowers and cherubs. Another example is the Rococo era, which usually is a rectangular mirror with shell motifs and with frames that often came from darker wood. And lately, in the Victorian era, from circa 1800 to 1900, the mirrors were much more extensive and highly decorated with frames often made of metal or dark wood.
The most essential measure to take in finding the value of your antique mirror is to seek an expert. While even the most painstakingly thorough amateurs are easily prone to error in the process, a trained expert in the field will be able to take their years of experience and knowledge into account in order to find the most accurate estimate possible. Conveniently enough, you can consult a professional and valuation here at Value My Stuff, so that you can find out more about your antique mirror as soon as you deem necessary. Start a Valuation of Your Antique Mirror Here!