Large antique gilt mirror, used to hang over the firplace in my Father's large dining room. 57" tall by 32" wide with a Cherub on top and fish at the sides. The mirror sparkles and has a blue gray backing, indicative of mercury backed glass.
How to recognize a mercury mirror?Mercury mirrors were made with thicker glass plates than those used today. Therefore, one must look for the depth of the glass layer to know if it is mercury or not. Tip: Place a rod (pen or toothpick) on the mirror. If the point touching the mirror looks like it is directly “touching” its reflection, the glass layer is thin enough and the mirror is probably modern. On the other hand, if the point is separate from its reflection, then it is probably mercury (prior to 1835).There are other visual techniques that are harder to evaluate, but that connoisseurs will be able to identify at first glance. As previously stated, tin is used in mercury mirrors. The mixture of the two materials produces a kind of explosion, and the tin particles projected to the surface of the mirror sparkle. Tip: - The mirror must be directly lit; if it sparkles, it is undoubtedly a mercury mirror. The reflection in a later silvered mirror is mat.- The back is a silvery (blueish) color and looks slightly grainy.