We look for fabulous details on the pieces we buy to indicate they are high quality and made by master craftsmen. One such detail is Ormolu metal mounts on pieces. We have a number of pier cabinets in stock currently that have this decoration.
Ormolu comes from the French 'Or moulu' which means ground gold. The manufacture of ormolu uses a process called mercury gilding or fire gilding. High quality gold mercury amalgam (an alloy of mercury) is applied to a piece or brass, copper or bronze.
The technique uses a kiln to drive off the mercury and leaves a stunning muted gold guilted metal.
Around 1830, legislation outlawed the use of mercury but it was used right up to 1900. Electroplating of gold over a nickel substrate took over which was more economical and safer.
The French used ormolu extensively on clocks, porcelain and lighting.
Victorian pier cabinets often have ormolu mounts to the front and make the piece to a highly decorative and desired piece.
When we are out sourcing on our travels, we look for these types of decoration which really elevate a piece from ordinary to spectacular. Choosing pieces for an interior can be difficult, but these items are elegant and sophisticated, and will last a lifetime.