Did you know that mirrors used to virtually cost their weight in gold? A few centuries ago, a looking glass was a sign of great wealth, or extremely high status, or both. So, we should feel lucky that we have a few of large mirrors at home – there were times when not every king could afford it!
Mirrors through the Ages
The earliest known man-made mirrors are about 8000 years old. These mirrors found in Anatolia (modern-day south-central Turkey), were made from obsidian (volcanic glass). Archaeologists have excavated mirrors, aged mostly 2000-4000, made of bronze, gold, silver, and copper all over the world, from Egypt and Mesopotamia to China and South America. Actually, these mirrors were flattened metal sheets, meticulously polished until their surface became reflective.
The earliest glass mirrors came into being in the late Middle Ages, but at that time their production was difficult and expensive. In the Renaissance, the Florentines worked out a technique that allowed making low-temperature lead backing. A bit later, the Venetians ruled the mirror-making trade thanks to the unique glass-making techniques, developed by artisans from Murano (a tiny island in Venice). Venetian mirrors were really the best in the world at that time; most of them were custom made for royalty and nobles. This technology predictably was kept top secret; foreign spies were eager to steal or buy this know-how at any cost, and the craftsmen who wanted to get rich quick by selling their knowledge, were assassinated.
Mass production of mirrors started when the technique called silvering came into existence. A thin layer of silver is sprayed onto the back of a clear glass sheet. Justus Von Liebig, a German chemist, invented this process in 1835. Silvered-glass mirrors are still widespread throughout the world today. However, the vast majority of present-day mirrors are made by heating aluminum in a vacuum and applying it to a cooler glass sheet.
Mirrors as Utilitarian Objects and Decoration
As you can see, times change, and nowadays any home has a few mirrors. We place a looking glass everywhere we may feel like looking at ourselves. Many people consider a mirror in the bathroom, in a walk-in closet and somewhere near the entrance door a must-have.
But that isn’t all. Reflective details made of the mirror glass can be used for decorating, say, furniture pieces. For example, Bellavista Collection – a renowned producer of Italian luxury furniture and other items for interior design, including mirrors – has a number of such pieces in its inventory. Just a couple of examples are mirror glass inserts at the inner back of TUDOR and ZEUS bar units, and, of course, RIFLESSI. This impressive item, not displayed in Bellavista standard proposal but available upon request, is somewhere between a mirror and boiserie. A metal frame with antique bronze finish puts together numerous pieces of clear and smoked mirror. They beautifully reflect the lamp light, making the interior look really exclusive.
Mirrors and Mirror-Glass Details from Bellavista
Let’s take a quick look at luxury mirrors from Bellavista. Just open Products section of the company’s website, and you can find them in Mirrors sub-category of Home Décor product category. The handy sorting function allows you to sort all these mirrors by name (default sorting), by popularity, by price (low to high or high to low), or put the most recent products first. Bellavista’s mirrors look superb and are so diverse that you will surely find at least one that will perfectly fit into your home. Whatever size, shape, or style you prefer, you will find a mirror to your liking.
Bellavista’s mirrors greatly vary in size – from relatively small wall mounted mirrors to large floor standing ones.
As for the shape, there are round mirrors (such as MARTA), oval (GRIMILDE, VANITY), square (VASCO, AIDA), and rectangular (MARRIOTT).
Designs of Bellavista’s mirrors are also different indeed. Some are strict and modest, with their thin metal frames; some look outwardly chic, just like PASCAL, whose sophisticated frame with studs looks sophisticated and elegant. By the way, PASCAL comes in three frame options, one of which is square and two are rectangular.
Also, an optional variant of AIDA Mirror with crisscrossed engraved lines is very interesting, being somewhere between a mirror and a panel picture.
In addition to their utilitarian purpose, these mirrors can well add spice to the apartment décor, making your room look special.
Besides, some of Bellavista’s mirrors are so sizeable and look so luxurious that simply can’t go unnoticed. Look at BOHEME, and JASMINE – aren’t they grand, in both senses of this word? So is YO, a floor-standing looking-glass, designed in 2019. It is beautiful – and impressively large: it’s 235 cm tall and 200 cm wide (92.5 x 78.7 inches)!
What makes Bellavista’s mirrors special is that they are elaborated to the smallest detail. Here are a few examples. Design of MARTA, a round wall-mounted mirror 90 centimeters (35.4 inches) in diameter, is modest but elegant. But there is a detail that makes MARTA special. Its hanging knob, made of cast aluminum with antique bronze finish, bears an image of a hippopotamus – Bellavista Collection’s mascot.
Also, if you look closely at the floor-standing mirror named JASMINE, you will notice that it rests on feet shaped as lion paws or hippo hooves. They are made of cast brass with an antique bronze finish. The mirror itself is rather large: 240 cm (94.5 in.) tall and 180 см wide (70.9 in). Its massive wooden frame is available in five kinds of wood – ebony, grey sukupira, and natural and stained American walnut.
There is one more piece worth mentioning here, although it is not a mirror. MI-SERVO is a stylish valet, designed in 2019. An oval mirror about 30 centimeters high (optional) is placed on its top. When MI-SERVO was showcased at Salone Internazionale del Mobile, it got plenty of visitors’ attention – actually, as lots of other showpieces from Bellavista Collection, including mirrors. No wonder: mirrors from Bellavista Collection are equally pleasant to look at and in.