What You Need To Know About Antique Mirrors

Did you know that there are specific ways to take care of antique mirrors? We have the best tips for you to keep your antique mirror in top condition.

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What You Need To Know About Antique Mirrors

~This article is published in partnership of Mediabuzzer.

Did you know that antique mirrors were first referred to as looking glasses way back in the 16th century? And, it wasn’t until the later half of the 18th century that the framing styles dramatically changed from gilt wood to stunning polished frames.

How Mirrors Came About

Up until the 1700s, those antique mirrors for sale that we see today were rare. As mirror production improved, so the mirrors became larger and grander. From small antique mirrors you could hang on the wall to grander styles and shapes with gliding, Mahogany remained the number one wood used for frames.

As mirrors continued to develop, so new styles were created, such as Chinese ornament and rococo.

Different Types of Antique Mirrors

It was only during the late 17th century that dressing mirrors were available as freestanding. They were first made of silver with trestle, or even silver gilt. During the later half of the 16th century, Parisian and Venetian craftsmen created gorgeous toilet mirrors. And in the earlier part of the 1700s, antique dressing tables were designed with mirrors that you could collapse that were fitted into the top of the table.

Also by the early 1700s, antique mirrors used in toilets had become much sturdier, often found standing on a plinth base with drawers. At this stage, the mirrors were mostly rectangular, and it wasn’t until later that century that oval dressing mirrors made an appearance.

By the 1800s, Parisian craftsman were creating antique cheval or standing dressing mirrors. By then, larger plates of glass were cast. That’s when the freestanding cheval mirror grew in popularity.

How To Look After Your Antique Mirrors

There are a few things you can do to keep your antique mirror in top condition. If the silver backing has deteriorated, make sure investigation is done before you try to repair it. That’s because restoration might devalue the item, especially much earlier mirrors. So, find out from an expert if repairing the silver will cause a devalue first.

As for cleaning the front of the mirror, there are a few different methods you can use. Firstly, wipe the glass using a soft, lint-free cloth that is moistened with methylated spirits. You can also wipe the glass using a lint-free cloth that you have wrung out in lukewarm water mixed with a couple of drops of ammonia.

Finally, you can dampen a lint-free cloth using paraffin and gently clean the glass. This is a great method for antique mirrors. But do take note that the smell of paraffin does linger in the air for a little while after.

Whichever method you decide to use to clean the glass, make sure you avoid moisture getting behind the glass as it can lead to the silvering deteriorating further. Also, if it can be helped, try to avoid replacing the old glass.

Alternatively, you can scrape the old silvering off the back of your antique mirror. Then, using a thin piece of modern mirror cut to the same shape, push it into the old glass to cause a vacuum effect. This will help with a clearer complexion.

As a last resort, and only once you really cannot salvage the mirror, then get a new mirror cut to fit if you want to use the antique mirror in your home.

Michele is a Family Life Educator. She is a mom to 5 kids and loves helping others strengthen their families! When she is not blogging she is spending time with her family and running around drinking Diet Coke trying to get everything done!

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