Posted on February 07, 2018 by the Pebble Grey Team
History of the Mirror
All throughout recorded human history, the mirror has existed in some shape or form. It is a symbol of humanity’s self-awareness, but also a symbol of class in many time periods. An object that legend will tell us originally represented personal reflection, the mirror has undergone many transformations in physiology and meaning, to the point where the mirrors you can buy today are completely unrecognisable from those seen in Ancient Egypt or Queen Victoria’s parlour..
The first mirrors were believed to be used in Ancient Egyptian and Chinese cultures, dating back as far as 2900BC. The ancient Greeks also jumped on to the trend well before the estimated birth of Christ, putting their own spin on the accessory by creating a range of designs with handles, hanging eyelets and covers (i.e. the first compact mirror).
Alongside the material these mirrors were made with, a polished bronze, they shared another similarity. The mirrors from these cultures tended to be adorned with their respective Gods and Goddesses, perhaps tying in with the popular theory that mirrors are portals to another realm.
As the art of mirror-making evolved, new materials were thrown into the mix. Glass mirrors were first made of glass tiles, which were always slightly curved and coloured. Unfortunately, these mirrors only produced a dim reflection, which only improved as clearer glass was produced. These clearer glass mirrors were, again, first found in China.
As mirror-making became a more recognised art, the makers began forming guilds, the first in 1373 in Nuremberg, and then another shortly afterwards in Venice. The guild members’ mirrors were highly sought after and served only the wealthiest clientele.
Whilst the mirror was celebrated by many, others felt that it held a negative power over people. The Orthodox Church in 17th century Russia even went to the extent of banning the possession of mirrors as they viewed the accessory as a source of sin.
Outside of Russia, many others still didn’t get to enjoy the use of a mirror, but this was more due to economic reasons. In the 18th century, when financial difficulties were at their most prevalent, mirror-making regressed back to the prior 4,000 years. The average person would only be able to afford an old-fashioned metal mirror, whilst glass mirrors were reserved purely for the upper classes.
Mirrors resembling those we see today finally arrived in 1835, when the German chemist, Justus von Liebig, experimented with adding a thin layer of silver to his mirrors. This was the first step towards mirrors being mass produced for the very first time for the general public.
It is thanks to these different styles and experiments that we can have a beautiful mirror in our own homes. And don’t think that we have stopped trying to adapt and improve mirrors now! Pebble grey’s range shows just how innovative the world of mirrors is today, with amazing added features such as demister pads, Bluetooth audio connectivity and (most importantly!) illumination.
We are so thankful for the mirrors we can purchase today, and we can’t wait to see what the next invention will be.