Victorian gift box

Top 10 best antique gifts

20th October 2021

When choosing an antique gift for a friend, loved one, or colleague, there are so many different options available, it can be hard to decide on the perfect purchase. Antique gifts are popular due to their uniqueness and beauty. With some antiques kept in good condition for centuries, your gift could even be passed onto future generations, making an antique gift a symbol of a long-lasting friendship, family union, or business partnership.

At Nimbus Antiques, we have an extensive range of antique gift options to choose from. To help you get started, we have compiled a list of the top 10 best antique gifts for any occasion.

1. Antique mirrors

Antique mirror

Antique mirrors are a popular purchase for those seeking a decorative antique gift that can be placed in a variety of locations around the home or workplace. From free standing dressing mirrors to wall mirrors and smaller handheld mirrors, antique mirrors come in various styles, shapes and sizes.

Most antique mirrors will have been designed to align with the style of that period. When considering a prospective gift, the style of the mirror can help you identify the era the mirror was designed in. For example, oval, Regency-style mirrors have distinctive features, such as flower/leaf designs, that were popular during the Regency period. 17th-century Baroque-style antique mirrors were known for their silver or gold gilding, as well as carvings featuring angels, leaves, flowers, and other decorative touches. With an array of elegant and distinctive designs, an antique mirror remains a popular gift.

2. Antique lamps

Antique gold lamp

Many antique lamps date back to an era before electricity was the main means of lighting, which is why these lamps are frequently oil-based. Oil lamps have a control to adjust the level of light emitted in relation to the speed of the burning oil. A brighter light consumes more oil, while a dimmer light consumes less.

Desk, table or floor lamps may be given as gifts. The authenticity of an antique lamp can be assessed by checking for a manufacturer’s label on the base or identifying a hallmark with the maker’s name or symbol. If you are thinking of giving a gift to someone who is renovating their home or workplace, or who simply appreciates antiques or lighting accessories, an antique lamp can be a welcome addition.

3. Antique clocks

German Wall Clock

Antique clocks have retained enduring popularity throughout the years, due to their highly collectable nature and growth in value as they age. There are many clock styles and designs available that can be purchased as a gift, with brass lantern clocks being one of the oldest types of antique clocks available.

Antique wall or mantel clocks are also a popular choice, due to their distinctive appearance and ability to stand out as a centrepiece of a room. For those looking for a smaller, more subtle gift, carriage clocks are a good option. Originally designed for travelling, these types of clocks are known for their varied décor, with some featuring precious gems along with their musical chimes. If you know someone who would appreciate an antique clock as a gift, you can choose a clock with a design that complements the existing style of their home or workplace.

4. Antique jewellery boxes

Attractive Victorian Rosewood Jewellery Box

An elegant gift for those who appreciate antique items, jewellery boxes have established themselves as a popular category of antiques. Whilst some jewellery boxes are sought as collector’s items for decorative or investment purposes only, some boxes are used by the new owner as intended, as a beautiful home to store their jewellery.

For those looking to capture the romance of a certain age, jewellery boxes from the Victorian era can make for a memorable gift. Made during a time known as the Romantic period, early Victorian jewellery boxes often feature a wide array of ornate hand-crafted decorative touches, including gemstones and pearls. For jewellery lovers and private collectors alike, an antique jewellery box is a great gift for any occasion.

5. Antique hat stands

Victorian Mahogany Hall Stand

For those looking to give an original antique gift that will make a statement, an antique hat stand is worth consideration. Available in varying styles and sizes, a large hat stand can support scarves, light coats, and umbrellas, as well as hats.

A hat stand is a piece of furniture from a certain era that can blend in or stand out in any room, depending on the existing décor and design of the stand. For this reason, this antique gift can be used to complement the existing design tastes and preferences of the recipient.

6. Antique chest of drawers

Georgian Chest of drawers

From a British-made antique chest of drawers to a 17th-century French commode, these storage units can really stand the test of time. Made from mahogany, walnut, or other materials, with chest-tops finished in a variety of touches from polished wood to marble, an antique commode or chest of drawers can be a key feature of any room.

As a gift, this type of furniture can be placed in multiple spaces. From a purely decorative piece to an item with drawers actively used for storage space, there are many places an antique chest of drawers can be located.

7. Antique desks

A wonderful gift for antique lovers and those who appreciate the traditional style of writing letters by hand, antique desks are made from a variety of woods and come in varying styles from different periods.

Some examples of antique desks include a slant front desk or secretary desk that slants up and can be unfolded before use. A bureau à gradin writing desk is famed for having multiple small compartments and drawers. A pedestal desk is known for a large writing surface with two supports or ‘pedestals’ on either side, so the writer can work between them. When shopping for an antique desk to gift, whether for antique office furniture or the home, be sure to enquire about the provenance of the piece, to add an extra layer of history to your purchase.

8. Antique chairs

Victorian desk chair

From a relaxing chaise lounge to a traditional British Windsor chair or an exquisitely hand-painted Louis XVI chair, there are many styles of antique chairs to choose from. With different frames, designs, and upholstery on offer, it’s easy to gift an antique chair that will suit the interior design style of the new owner.

One thing to consider when purchasing an antique chair is the location the chair might be placed in, and if a set of identical chairs might be more suitable than a single item. Whether you are interested in buying a gift for decorative or practical purposes, antique chairs are one of the most popular types of antique furniture.

9. Antique coffee tables

Early Victorian Mahogany Coffee Table

If you are looking for a statement piece to delight someone as a gift, an antique coffee table is one way of gifting an item of furniture that can really alter the look of a room. From ornately patterned brass-legged tables to solid oak varieties, a new antique coffee table can be a good conversation point for guests visiting a home or workplace reception area.

If you know someone who is interested in finding antique coffee tables with a design that complements their space, this can be a wonderful gift to display as a centrepiece.

10. Antique sideboards

Victorian sideboard

The first sideboards date back to the 17th century and were designed with practical use to store cutlery and plates used for serving meals, as well as table linens, candles, and other items. Antique buyers looking for an item with practical, as well as decorative use, appreciate the versatility of a sideboard, which can be placed in a dining area, lounge, kitchen, or elsewhere around the home.

A prospective gift buyer may consider antique sideboards with elaborately carved design details, which can make for a stunning stand-out piece for the home of the new owner.

Buying an antique gift

An important part of giving an antique as a gift is sharing the historical story behind the item with the new owner, including the period of history the item was made in. At Nimbus Antiques, we are happy to provide information on the provenance and authenticity of our items.

If you are considering purchasing an antique gift, you can view our current range online or from our showroom. All items purchased online are eligible for free delivery across the UK.

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