What Were Mirrors Made of in Ancient Times?

Mirrors have been in use for thousands of years, and they have a fascinating history. But have you ever wondered what mirrors were made of in ancient times? Let’s take a closer look.

Ancient Egyptian Mirrors

The ancient Egyptians were among the first to use mirrors, and they made them from polished copper and bronze. These mirrors were small and handheld, with a reflective surface on one side and intricate designs on the other. The Egyptians believed that mirrors had magical properties and could ward off evil spirits.

Ancient Chinese Mirrors

In ancient China, mirrors were made from bronze, silver, or gold. They were often round with a handle on the back for holding or hanging. Chinese mirrors were highly decorative, with intricate designs that often included mythological creatures like dragons or phoenixes.

Ancient Greek and Roman Mirrors

The ancient Greeks and Romans also used bronze to make their mirrors. They would polish the metal until it was reflective enough to see your reflection in it. These mirrors were often round or oval-shaped and had handles on the back for holding.

Other Materials

While bronze was the most common material used for making mirrors in ancient times, other materials were also used. In some cultures, polished obsidian was used to make reflective surfaces. In others, polished stone or even glass was used.

The Evolution of Mirrors

Over time, mirror-making techniques evolved, leading to new materials being used. In the Middle Ages, glass became a popular material for making mirrors. However, these early glass mirrors were not very reflective and had a greenish tint to them.

It wasn’t until the 16th century that Venetian glassmakers discovered how to make clear glass that was highly reflective. This discovery led to the creation of modern-day mirrors.


Mirrors have come a long way since their early days in ancient Egypt. From polished copper and bronze to modern-day clear glass, the evolution of mirror-making techniques has been fascinating to watch. Whether used for practical purposes or decorative ones, mirrors continue to play an important role in our lives today.