When buying antique mirrors, it's important to simply use the mirrors, as it is not environmentally safe to restore mirrors anymore. Learn about the pollution aspect of restoring antique mirrors with help from an antique furniture dealer in this free video on antique mirrors.
A lot of folks come into the store and say, how do I restore the antique mirror? What we advise them is, if you're buying an antique mirror, buy it and use it the way it is. It's really not environmentally safe to try to restore old mirrors anymore. The composition on the back of the mirror is actually mercury, and long, long time ago, people would take an old mirror out in the backyard and scrape all that mercury off, letting it go into the ground, possibly run off into a ground water, or what not. Never dreaming that that mercury is going to be around for ever and ever and ever, and the pollution aspect of it is just, is too too much to even think about. There are and there have been people who do antique mirror restoration but the EPA requirements and everything are so stringent that for the most part, it's just not something that people are are going into or trying to maintain anymore, so if you're buying an old mirror, buy it, use it the way it is, enjoy it, if you need a true image of something then do yourself a favor and just buy a new mirror.