20 Must-Know Terms for Buying the Perfect Mirror
The first known mirror was made of polished obsidian, and provided just enough of a reflection to check out your caveman hairdo. We’ve come a long way from those days, but our fascination with mirrors has stayed the same. However, finding the right one or knowing what to look for at a flea market is another matter entirely. Prime yourself for purchasing the perfect mirror with this helpful guide. We promise you’ll love your reflection even more once it’s educated.
Antiqued Mirror – Coatings or tints applied to make a mirror look as if it has deteriorated with age.
One Kings Lane Carved Wood Chinese Chippendale Mirror ($1275)
Chippendale Mirrors – Often smaller, more decorative mirrors featuring Gothic or Chinese themes.
Concave - When the glass is curved inward, and then coated, creating enlarged reflections. Most commonly used in small vanity mirrors for grooming.
Convex - When the glass curves outward, creating reduced reflections. Most popularly used in a round Federal-style mirror (or at the corner of a parking garage).
Eglomisé – Decorative painting on the back of glass before it is mirrored. Popularly used during the Rococo era.
Federal Mirrors – Feature Roman motifs, most popularly an eagle or griffon. Round convex mirrors with an eagle crest are an icon of this period.
Georgian Mirrors – A simpler and more architectural design often featuring a broken pediment, side scrolls, and lacy details. Very refined and proper.
Louis Philippe – A French mirror circa 1890 featuring a simple gilded structure with rounded top corners.
Mercury Glass – Originally used as the reflective coating for mirrors (aluminum is most commonly used today), now the term often refers to a faux-antique finish on mirror.
Miles Redd (designer and source)
Mirror Mastic - A tar-like compound used to glue mirrors to walls. A must-know term if you’re going for that ‘70s mirrored wall look.
Neo-Classical Mirrors – Feature elements of classical architecture such as pediments, fluted columns, urns, and medallions. If it reminds you of a presidential monument, it’s most likely Neo-Classical.
Nate Berkus (designer and source)
Rococo Mirrors - Known for carvings or “gadrooning” that’s heavily gilded. Often more asymmetrical and curvy, featuring fancy leaves, flowers, birds, and ribbons in the carvings.
Trumeau Mirrors – Designed to hang between windows for extra light, often depicting a scene of some kind in the area above the mirror.
Ultra-Clear Mirror – Made with glass of a reduced iron content so the glass doesn’t have a slight green tinge, as is common in standard mirrored glass. Best when used in all-white interiors, when clarity is a must.
Venetian Mirrors – Although Venice was a main hub for mirror production and design of all sorts, this term often defines a mirror with a frame made of cut glass pieces
What’s your favorite kind of mirror? Sound off below.