GILTY PLEASURES | Add Luxury and Glamour to Your Home


Are you a lover of gilt, like me? GILT …. with an “i” only please, adds instant glamour and luxury to any room.

A little touch of gold makes every room look luxurious. 



And when those touches of gold are gilt accessories, the glamour quotient goes way up!

These little dressing room wonders swathed in real 24 kt. gold have a history fraught with danger, to their makers, anyway.



In the 17th and 18th century, ladies of means wanted a lavish dressing room filled with a vanity table resplendent with costly gold ormolu perfume bottles, mirrors, and jewelry caskets. Often set with real diamonds and precious stones, these opulent boudoir accessories cost half the earth.

They were also very costly in the form of human workers, as the process used mercury. Many if not most of the producers of the ormolu pieces died at a very early age.  Ormolu gilding went out of fashion in 1830, the danger of the process was considered too high.



True ormolu pieces are rare to find, and quite costly today, they are mostly in big museums such as the Louvre.

{I see many people referring to the early 1900 trays and accessories as ormolu, although technically this isn’t correct.}

In the 1900’s {especially the 1920’s -1960’s}, many companies began producing vanity items with a 24kt. gold plated finish.



Apollo Studios was the earliest, and most prestigious firm. A contemporary of Tiffany Studios, Apollo Studios Silver produced many of the same items as Tiffany did, making pieces of exceptional quality from 1909 – 1922.

Apollo Studios was mentioned in advertisements to be manufacturers of hollow ware, boudoir accessories, and gift items in silver plate, gold plate and other metals. Most of the vanity pieces with gold plated finishes date to the 1930’s and after.


Later on, in the 1940’s, other companies did the same. Some of the most well known include Matson, Stylebuilt, Guildcrest and Globe. Production of most of these types of items ended in the 1960’s, only Stylebuilt still creates gold plated pieces today.


Originally sold in jewelry, department and drug stores, gold plated vanity accessories are most often rococo in style, with ornate filigree work, birds, and floral designs.

Feminine, romantic and glamorous, they were meant to make a luxurious statement.

These extravagant vanity accessories were created with considerable attention to detail, which is one reason they remain a favorite collectible for both women and men. {yes, men!}

Collected to create a feminine dressing table or vanity space, or simply to display in a glass case, these jewelry caskets, perfume bottles and dressing table sets covered in a layer of pure 24kt gold are exquisitely made and beautiful to look at and use.


To really make a glamorous impact, display your collection in one place.  A group always makes a much larger visual impact when displayed together.

The more the merrier. One piece is beautiful, but displayed together, gilt accessories truly make a statement.

These gilded vintage treasures are sure to add glamour and sophisticated style to your home.  

A collection of perfume bottles can be the highlight of your bedroom or bathroom, a selection of jewel caskets displayed on a grand mirrored tray will bring elegance to your living room in a grand manner.

Most of the ones that are seen today, outside of museums, are neither very old, nor ormolu. But these gilded accessories from the early to mid 1900’s are a sumptuous addition to your home if you love the luxury and glamour of old Paris!

I took a break from unloading our latest French shipment which is mostly French Country to bring some of these gilded trouvailles to you. {trouvaille=lucky find!}



13 thoughts on “GILTY PLEASURES | Add Luxury and Glamour to Your Home”

  1. Oh how so far beyond luxury and decadence are those pieces. I always learn something here!….Never knew that so many lost their lives making those exquisite French early jewelry and dresser pieces. Oh my how I love your collection…and that hand mirror…be still my heart! Thanks for another truly informative and beautiful post!

    1. Those early pieces are easily recognized, they are not ones you often see for sale anywhere, as the bigger ones {larger than a few inches} cost in the thousands! The gold plated ones are so beautiful, and not quite as costly….they add glamour to any space just as well for us mere mortals.

  2. Gloria

    You never fail to make me see the items I already have in a different light. I have a number of caskets and mirrors. I will definitely change the way I have them displayed and take one out of the closet on add it to my dresser. You alway inspire me.

    1. I know, it’s not for everyone, Linda! But if it’s your style, they are great fun!

  3. Cynthia

    Lidy, thank you for featuring these lovely treasures. I am known as the “Apollo Aficionado” I’ve been a collector for many years and have some rare items. Preparing my toilette in the morning surrounded by these beautiful things gives me confidence, and makes me feel special. I highly recommend it!

  4. Tammy Rey

    Such a feeling of nostalgia for me in this article. My Nana had some pieces on her dresser. They were probably from the 60’s. Thank you Lidy!

    1. They were so popular in the 60’s, Tammy! I think everyone had at least one jewelry box covered with the gold. It was REAL gold, in a very thin layer!

  5. Cynthia White

    OH, yes. . .I am hopelessly “gilty”! Another Cynthia posted how much she love the Apollo brand, well, so do I! Love it!

  6. Charlotte

    I still have the gilt jewelry casket that I received as a child back in 1962. I keep it tucked away in a closet, but you have inspired me to bring it out and display it on my vanity. The pieces you have are gorgeous.

  7. Oh! Charlotte, I’m excited that your pretty box will be seen in all her glory again!

  8. Lidy, I love these gold boxes and have a small round gold jewelry box from my Mom that I cherish. Fascinating to learn how the antiques are vs. the more modern pieces. Would love for you to look at my Mom’s box and tell me for sure what era you think it is from? Love all that you do, gorgeous photographs too! XO

  9. Jean Van

    Hi, Lidy,
    Love these special glass box’s I have some and just think they are beautiful, thanks for sharing this they are so pretty, we have 107 today so this made me feel good to see~~~~~~Have a good week~~~~~~~~~~~

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