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7 September 2023

Our Silvering Studio: Silvered, Gilded, Antique and Verre Églomisé

Mirror, silvered glass, antique mirror, antique silvered, silver leaf, verre églomisé, and gilded glass are all terms that refer to the placing of a metallic coating on the rear face of a glass panel. In this blog we will explain what these terms mean – and what are the differences between them:

Mirror and Silvered glass

Silvered glass refers to the traditional method of creating a mirror by applying a thin layer of silver to the back face of a glass panel.  Nowadays, silvered glass is still used to refer to when a mirror is created by hand using silver rather than being a machine produced standard mirror. The terms are commonly used in an interchangeable way though.

Antique Silvered and Antique Mirror

Again the same differentiation between silvered and mirror, though commonly used interchangeably. Antiquing refers to the distressed effect that occurs after a number of years when the adhesion between the metallic layer and the glass starts to tarnish.  This is a popular effect in interior design, so new panels are artificially distressed to create this aged effect.

Gilded Glass

Gilded glass refers to the process or applying squares of gold leaf to the rear face of a glass panel. Whilst gilding refers specifically to gold leaf; silver, copper, aluminium, palladium, platinum, and tin are also commonly available in leaf form.

Gold leaf is available in various Carats depending on the style (and budget) of the client. Different shades such as red, yellow, white, rose, etc can also be sourced. Imitation gold leaf is also available, and is significantly kinder on the budget – it can be distinguished as the majority of the time gold leaf comes in squares 80 x 80mm (other sizes are sometimes available) whereas imitation gold leaf comes in squares 95 x 95mm or 140 x 140mm.

Verre Églomisé

Verre églomisé is term that refers to the combination of painting and silvering or gilding (can be spray silvering, silver leaf, gold leaf, copper leaf, etc) on the reverse face of a glass panel.  Traditionally, this refers to when a decorative design is painted onto the glass, then the remaining area is silvered or gilded to create a mirror finish. In modern usage, however, the terminology has expanded to refer to any combination of painting and silvering or gilding.

Examples of these glass types: