Each antique fireplace mantel is valued highly not only for its rareness and antiquity, but also for its exquisitely fine detail and beauty. These mantels can be made of materials such as stone or marble, metal, or wood, each piece offering an individual style of colors, patterns and designs straight from a particular era. Being especially versatile, marble has a very distinctive character; each piece is influenced by the features which adorn it, such as dark veined marble or bronze ormolu. Marble mantels with strong, architectural lines give a stately impression, whilst lighter marble tones and curved surfaces offer a very different feel.
Mantels made of wood are just as decorative and versatile as their marble counterparts, with timber ranging from oak, mahogany and elm, to walnut, chestnut and many others. Their forms and carved detail preserves the enchanting architectural style of the times, from the smallest and most basic mantels to the large oversized ones. The original paint on many of these special pieces is still intact, while others were left to a natural finish.
In comparison, antique stone and metal mantelpieces are more difficult to find. The few that still remain, and are still in good condition, would make truly wonderful investments that can be proudly displayed in any living room. The materials used for stone mantels are usually slate and limestone, though other types of stone can also be found. Just like marble and wood, original stone mantelpieces are artifacts which typify a particular era, such as Victorian or turn of the century, whilst others have been created in likeness to a certain period.
An antique mantel in a living area will be the main focal point. Not only is it decorative, but it is also functional; the placement of much loved family portraits upon the mantel is a great reminder of home. Such an attractive centerpiece would make a much cherished artifact for a proud owner. Antique mantels can be either elegant or cozy, stately or homely, plain or intricate, dark or light but one thing they all have in common is an irreplaceable character that can only stem from their uniqueness, individuality, and old world charm.