The origins of the mirror
Historically we could argue that cavemen originally used large pools of water to gaze at themselves wistfully but the first actual man-made mirror can be dated back at least 6000 years. Found in Turkey, these mirrors were made from black volcanic glass obsidian.
The Ancient Egyptians used polished copper to create mirrors. These were often made with round faces and adorned with shapes, symbols and patterns. China takes the gold as they have the first recorded metal alloy mirror. Made from a mixture of tin and copper called speculum metal, these mirrors could be highly polished to make other reflective surfaces as well as mirrors.
More recently, it’s suggested that mirrors were brought to the UK during the Roman invasion, then they were modernised and adapted into the mirrors we know today. Though we can’t trace when exactly mirrors entered the family home, we do know for a period of time they were considered a luxury owned by the upper classes rather than a commodity carried around in every woman’s handbag today.
What style should I go for?
Whether you’ve got space above the mantelpiece for a large and opulent vintage mirror, moderate space for a freestanding Mid Century piece or minimal room for something small, sweet and dare we say, retro, there’s a vast range of styles and sizes on offer.
Antique mirrors can often be found with bevelled glass (due to age), foxing around the frame and intricate carved foliage. If you’re looking for something a little more low key, retro mirrors are simpler in design. Generally, they come mounted on teak and with little to no engraving or embellishment. Art Deco mirrors can often be found with no frame at all, here the detail is within the glass itself which is often bevelled and shaped uniquely in a scalloped, striped or circular design.
Whatever your needs, get a mirror suitable for your space and be mindful of the lighting in your room. Never put a tall mirror facing or too close to the side of a window as this will only create a silhouette or shadow on your reflection. This isn’t a problem for lower mirrors attached to vanity tables as they benefit from being lower to the ground with the observer seated therefore better lighting, better selfies.
Despite all of us carrying around phones with front-facing cameras, nothing can ever quite replace a real mirror. In our purse, on the bus, in stores and in the home, we have a love-hate relationship with the mirror that isn’t ending anytime soon. Buy a mirror that complements your home, your style and makes you feel like you can conquer the world. If you do need a little help picking a new mirror, then use our filters above to narrow down your choice. You can filter by style, price and condition to find one perfect for you.