Ormolu: from French ‘or moulu’, signifying ground or pounded gold.
I recently purchased 3 small jewelry/trinket boxes at an auction. I have come across many objects made of ormolu in the past, but I never researched the actual history of this process. In France, the technique is known as ‘bronze doré’, and in English, it’s referred to as ‘gilt bronze’or ‘mosaic gold’
It’s a process that is achieve by adding mercury on a brass or bronze base. At the beginning of the 18th century, the Baroque and Rococo style were popular in France and England. Rococo was very ornate, with highly decorated objects. The term Rococo is now use do describe something that is too ornate or overdone.
The original craftsmen used ormolu to decorate furniture, chandeliers, clocks as well as porcelain.
It was outlawed in France around 1830 as it was extremely toxic due to the mercury fumes. However, it was still in use until about 1900.Later on, a new technique called ‘pomponne’ was developed. It was used to refer to imitation gold or gilt metal.
Today ormolu objects are highly collectible. The small box that you see in the photo above measures about 2.5″H x 2.5 W x 2″ D . It’s a great object to decorate your vanity and to store or display your jewelry. As there are usually made of ormolu and glass, it’s practical as you can see what’s inside.
It’s a great holiday gift for any of the ladies in your life, or even for yourself! You may want to start your own ormolu collection! As usual, please fell free to post your comments or ask me any question!
Thanks a lot!/ Merci!
p.s.: This little treasure is available for sale on my etsy.com site: