Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Any of several copper and zinc or tin alloys resembling gold in appearance and used to ornament furniture, moldings, architectural details, and jewelry.
  • n. An imitation of gold.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Golden or gilded brass or bronze used for decorative purposes.
  • adj. Made from golden or gilded brass or bronze.
  • v. To decorate with gilded ormolu articles.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A variety of brass made to resemble gold by the use of less zinc and more copper in its composition than ordinary brass contains. Its golden color is often heightened by means of lacquer of some sort, or by use of acids. Called also mosaic gold.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. Gold-leaf prepared for gildingbronze, brass, or the like.
  • n. Hence Gilded bronze prepared for metal mountings of elegant furniture and similar decorative purposes.
  • n. Fine brass, sometimes colored and treated with lacquer to give it brilliancy: used for imitation jewelry, chandeliers, and similar fine metal-work.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. brass that looks like gold; used to decorate furniture

Etymologies

French or moulu : or, gold (from Old French; see or3) + obsolete French molu, past participle of moudre, to grind up (from Old French, from Latin molere).
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
French or moulu (literally: ground gold) (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • He discussed woods with him -- rosewood, mahogany, walnut, English oak, bird's-eye maple, and the manufactured effects such as ormolu, marquetry, and Boule, or buhl.

    The Financier, a novel

  • This crimson room had two doors upon the side facing the three windows: The innermost opened into a large supper-room, in which a table was spread covered with the usual refreshments of European parties, -- tea, ices, lemonade, and et ceteras, -- and the other opened into a ball-room which is a sort of miniature of the 'salle blanche' of the Winter Palace, being white and gold, and very brilliantly lighted with 'ormolu' chandeliers filled with myriads of candles.

    Complete Project Gutenberg Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. Works

  • He discussed woods with him — rosewood, mahogany, walnut, English oak, bird’s-eye maple, and the manufactured effects such as ormolu, marquetry, and Boule, or buhl.

    The Financier

  • The room was filled with hothouse flowers, twinkling electric lights, gilded candelabra, potted palms and crystal and ormolu chandeliers hung with pink roses and asparagus vines.

    The Bradley-Martin Ball | Edwardian Promenade

  • Still, he remembers one space offering a welcome caesura from the ormolu and swag: the Blue Room, which the Count used as his personal sitting area.

    Museum Quality

  • From the Grand Hall will come a striking gilt-bronze and ormolu center table from the late 18th-early 19th century attributed to one of the renowned cabinet decorators of the time, sculptor Pierre-Philippe Thomire.

    The Soul of a French Palace

  • A suite of four 19th-century 12-light candelabras are also a monumental feature from the Grand Hall, with classical women in flowing, dark ormolu robes standing on a green marble base, balancing the golden candle holders on their heads estimate: €200,000-€300,000.

    The Soul of a French Palace

  • Where viewers might see shiny patterns, McMillan sees ormolu mounts.

    Oscars 2011: Will the Brits win big in the technical categories?

  • Another Baroque highlight is a decorative Florentine cabinet embellished with ormolu and Sicilian jasper plaques estimate: £25,000-£40,000.

    Pinto Coelho's Daring Style

  • For a refit, we were told, and we went to the pre-sale gathering at Bonhams and saw the 1950s painted panels, the chandeliers, the ormolu light fittings, the fret-worked tables and the lattice chairs, all somehow sadder and more tatty away from their legendary surroundings, marking the end of an era.

    The Smartest Hotel in the World

Comments

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  • "The contrast was apparent even in the lighting fixtures: a 'very rich ormolu gas chandelier' and a 'splendid 6-light ormolu chandelier' were found in the parlors, while the dining room below was furnished merely with an unadorned 'gas pendant.'"
    —Susan Williams, Savory Suppers and Fashionable Feasts: Dining in Victorian America (New York: Pantheon Books, 1985), 53

    April 13, 2010

  • "Even personal experience of these facts was not always a protection from the chill that descended on one in the high-ceilinged white-walled Madison Avenue drawing-room, with the pale brocaded armchairs so obviously uncovered for the occasion, and the gauze still veiling the ormolu mantel ornaments and the beautiful old carved frame of Gainsborough’s 'Lady Angelica du Lac.'"
    - Edith Wharton, 'The Age of Innocence'.

    September 19, 2009

  • An alloy resembling gold, an imitation, implies deception

    June 14, 2009

  • from Carlyle's "Sartor Resartus"

    January 11, 2009

  • Ormolu (from French or moulu, signifying gold ground or pounded) is an 18th-century English term for applying finely ground, high-karat gold to an object in bronze. The French refer to this technique as bronze doré, which is used to this day though the item may be merely painted with a gold-tone paint... The manufacture of true ormolu employs a process known as mercury gilding or fire gilding, in which a solution of nitrate of mercury is applied to a piece of copper, brass, or bronze, followed by the application of an amalgam of gold and mercury. The item was then exposed to extreme heat until the mercury burned off and the gold remained, adhered to the metal object. Most mercury gilders died by the age of 40 due to exposure to the harmful mercury fumes. This gilding technique is similar to that also used on silver, which produced silver-gilt objects known as vermeil.

    June 10, 2007