The gold in the gilt mirrors of antique gilt lamps has long fascinated people around the world, and the gold-plated lamps from the early 1900s have long been a favorite of collectors.
But until now, the gold in these antique mirrors had not been known to be in the same gold-laden layers as the gold of the gilts, said John A. Matson, curator of the American Museum of Natural History’s Gilded Mirror collection.
Matson and his colleagues studied the gilded mirrors of five of the most famous gilt lamp manufacturers in the world.
They discovered that some of the gold plates had been plated with gold from a variety of sources, including the United States, Europe, Australia, and Africa, the team reported online this week in the journal Science.
They also found gold-coated glass, as well as the typical gilt plate that had been used for centuries in lampmaking.
“The question is how much gold there was in the original lamp-making process,” Matson told Live Science.
“The answer is, the answer is that there was more gold in them than we thought.”
The team used computer tomography to scan all of the glass and metal plates of each lamp.
“We were able to see all of that in the lamp-maker’s glass,” Minson said.
The team then created an interactive map of all the gold plating from each lamp to show where the gold was coming from.
The map shows the total gold value in the gold that was plated onto the glass plate, Matson said.
It shows that, in the cases of the British Royal and the American Gilt, there was a huge difference between the gold value of the plates and the amount of gold plated on them.
In the British Gilt and the British royal lamp, the plate had a value of roughly $6.5 million, or roughly a tenth of the amount in the American gilt.
In contrast, the value of a lamp from the American Royal had a gold value at about $1 million, the researchers found.
But there were other differences between the British and American lamps.
The American lamp had a slightly smaller gold value than the British one, while the British lamp had the lowest value of all.
“This tells us that these lamps are actually from different periods,” Minton said.
“There’s a bit of a cultural difference between these lamps.
They’re from different times.”
The research team also analyzed the gold values of the silver and gold plates that were used in the British lamps.
“One of the interesting things about these lamps is that the silver plate that is plated is actually very different from the silver plates that are used in other lamps,” Mankett said.
He said this may help explain the higher value of silver plated lamps.
For example, the British gilt plates have the silver value of about 0.4 percent, while a European plate that was used in an American lamp has the silver values of more than 8 percent.
Manktt said the difference in the silver plating between the lamps was probably because the silver was not available in the United Kingdom in the mid-1800s, Minton noted.
The American lamps, on the other hand, had a much higher silver value than other lamps in the U.S.
A lamp made in the 1890s and sold for $20,000 at auction.
This lamp, Mankitt said, had the highest value of any British lamp in the collection.
The researchers say they will continue to study these antique lamps, and they hope to learn more about the gold content of the lamps.