"'Mainly French work,' Leo said. 'Ormolu. "
Sèvres porcelain vase with ormolu mounts (1782)
Public DomainSèvres porcelain vase with ormolu mounts (1782) - Credit: Walters Art Museum
Ormolu-decorated corner cabinet (c.1785)
Public DomainFrench ormolu-decorated corner cupboard (c.1785) - Credit: Daderot

 Ormolu was originally a technique for applying powdered gold to bronze to produce what was known in French as bronze doré ('gilt bronze'). This was then used to make mountings and decorations for items such as furniture, clocks, porcelain and lighting devices. The use of ormolu was particularly popular amongst 18th and 19th century French furniture and cabinet makers.  However, because the ormolu process involved the use of mercury, it was made illegal in France in about 1830.

Over time the term ormolu came to be used more loosely to describe various types of copper alloys  which were made to look like gold, and used for mounting and decorative purposes.