Vintage sunburst mirrors



2015-06-26 10:34:09

Vintage sunburst mirrors are circular mirrors created in the form of a sunburst, the frame representing rays.

Background and Description

It is thought that the first sunburst mirrors were designed during the French Revolution. While monasteries were stormed and plundered, and many shrines and motifs were smashed. Gilded aureoles, the celestial rays that had haloed icons, were bought up by antiques dealers and made into mirrors.

These then became popular during the 20th century. Gilbert Poillerat, the French metalworker, made the sunburst design his own and brought it into vogue by 1940.

Metal gradually became replaced by plastic, and these examples are also considered vintage collectibles.

Sunburst mirrors come in a variety of materials and designs. For example, as well as metal or plastic forming the rays, designers have played around with the norm. Tony Duquette used automobile hubcaps to form the sunburst, and Jonathan Adler used vintage Barbie dolls.

Collecting vintage sunburst mirrors

Sunburst mirrors can make an enjoyable and diverse collection, as the designs are so varied and interesting. Others may choose to focus on one era or designer.

Antique examples, or those by a famous designer, will inevitably be more sought-after and valuable than anything mass produced.

Many people create their own bespoke sunburst mirrors. They make an excellent DIY project.


From the cheap plastic mass-produced items, to the top end designer mirrors, value can vary hugely from one sunburst mirror to another.

A notable sale was that of a federal giltwood sunburst convex mirror, sold for $17,625 at Christie’s in October 2000.

Others have sold for several thousand at auction, while cheaply produced and unexceptional examples can sell for as little as $5.

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