What Is the Meaning of a Beveled Mirror?
A beveled mirror is a mirror with its edges cut at an angle, which gives an appearance that the mirror has a framed edge around it.
If you see a beautiful mirror with a rainbow prismatic effect around its rim, it was probably a beveled mirror. A beveled mirror serves the same purpose as any other mirror: It's a decorative item that reflects light and the image of whatever is directly in front of it. However, a beveled mirror has a nicer finish. Beveled mirrors come in all shapes and sizes; they can be custom-made or purchased in a store that sells home decor items or at an antique shop.
A Fancy Finish for a Mirror
A beveled mirror is a mirror with edges cut at an angle, so that it gives an appearance of a mirror with a framed edge around it. A beveled edge gives the mirror a subtle, embellished look. A beveled glass mirror highlights the frame -- if it has one -- and gives it a finished look that a mirror with a straight edge doesn't have. The thicker the glass used, the more noticeable the beveled edge.
The Basics of a Beveled Mirror
A fabricator uses a glass beveling machine to grind and polish the edge of a mirror to give it a slant. The beveled slant usually measures between 1/4 inches to 1 3/4 inches thick. The exact dimensions of the slant is determined by the mirror's design and the technician who bevels the glass.
The Benefits of a Beveled Mirror
The slant of a beveled mirror catches and refracts the light, acting like a prism, causing a rainbow effect. The slanted-edge appearance also means it is not necessary for the mirror to be framed. It's not only more aesthetically pleasing, but a mirror with a beveled edge is considered safer because the process of polishing and grinding the edge eliminates small imperfections created when the glass was cut. The process of creating the slant also polishes down the sharp edges and corners of a mirror. Antique mirrors with a beveled edge are generally more valuable than those with a straight edge; the edges were typically hand-cut with pumice.
When buying an antique mirror, keep in mind that mirrors can vary by time period, style and type. Generally speaking, antique mirrors are at least 100 years old. A vintage mirror is newer than an antique, but it usually dates from the early to late 20th century.
Rachel Zohn has a semi-obsession with tile, countertops, fixtures and furnishings -- and for that you can blame her work as a design moderator for Zillow Digs, the home inspiration section of Zillow.com. She is also a writer, specializing in blogging about home decor and home furnishing. Zohn has a bachelor's degree in journalism from San Francisco State, and is a former newspaper reporter.