Gilding is the art of painting or applying thin sheets of gold or silver to an object (READ: How Gilt Mirrors are Made). It dates as far back as ancient Rome, Greece and Egypt and is one of the cheapest and easiest ways to add luster to an item.
Gilt mirrors became popular in the 18th century and were used as decorative elements in the house. They were embellished with ornate carvings and came in a variety of shapes including square, oval, and round.
To keep antique gilt mirrors in top shape, proper care and attention is required. Because they are no ordinary mirrors, certain measures should be kept in mind when cleaning them. Here are some ways to care for your antique gilt mirrors:
1. Do not spray water directly onto the mirror.
Even small drops of water may wear away the water-based gilt finish of your mirror. To avoid destroying the frame’s lustrous look, spray water directly onto the paper towel or cleaning cloth instead. When wiping the glass mirror, ensure that the towel or your fingers doesn’t touch the frame.
2. Remove dust lightly.
Dust particles may settle in between the ornate carvings of the antique gilded mirror. To remove the dust and dirt, use a feather duster, a dust blower, or a very soft brush. Avoid using a rug on the carvings as the designs are very delicate and tend to fall off with moderate pressure.
3. Keep the mirror away from strong chemical cleaners.
Avoid using chemical or abrasive cleaners. Some of these elements may either scratch or rub the gilt finish away. Use water with diluted mild soap instead.
4. Go to the experts if necessary.
If the mirror is heavily soiled, head to a professional antique restorer. He or she can help clean the mirror without disturbing the gilt finish.
If you’re looking to start your antique collection, Antiques on Old Plank Road has an incredible selection of high quality antique mirrors for sale imported from France and England.