Mirrors are not all made equally, especially today. New mirrors are often manufactured for a price we think is a bargain but buyer beware. While you can still buy quality mirrors the prices are very expensive. Low priced mirrors can actually be made from highly polished plastic but most often using very thin glass with a synthetic coating to create the mirror image. The frames are almost always plastic to look like old mirror frames that were made from real woods such as oak, mahogany, walnut, maple, pine, and even rare woods such as bird's eye maple. Many old mirrors have beautifully carved frames, artistic painting, and gesso with genuine gold leaf. There are other types that are even more rare but if you live anywhere near Boston it is probable that you can find these beautiful mirrors at prices far below newer inferior mirrors. The best way to determine a quality older mirror is by the weight, frame, and back of the mirror. Older mirrors use much thicker glass and a genuine silver backing so they are quite heavy compared to new mirrors. The frame will look old and rich in color whether it is carved wood , gold leaf gesso, or hand painted. The back of the mirror will show how it is assembled and help you determine real from synthetic. The last and most important feature is the quality of the image. Older mirrors will usually have a much more vivid image but it may take comparing a new mirror next to an old mirror to see the difference at first. After awhile you can recognize new from old when looking for these genuine bargains that are readily available.