Antique gates are usually made of ornamented wrought iron. They can provide the perfect finishing touch for a stone or wrought iron fence installation or can stand alone as decorative installations. The term can refer to gates that are genuine antiques and which have been salvaged for their architectural value, but it may also be used to refer to gates manufactured in the style of a particular architectural period, which conveys a sense of age despite being new construction. Victorian, French and Italian Renaissance are among the most popular styles of antique gates. Genuine antique gates, which most often take the form of small garden gates, large estate gates or modest entryway gates, are a limited resource, and can be quite expensive.
Gates dating to the Victorian era, or reproduced in that period style, feature heavy and durable ironwork with some ornamentation, although often less than other styles. Regions that were once European colonies, such as Egypt, are good sources of antique gates. These gates were meant to be both functional and decorative, and hence, combine excellent durability with limited ornamentation.
French gates tend to be more richly ornamented than their Victorian counterparts and the fleur-de-lis frequently appears on them. French antique gates often feature intricate, repeating metalwork patterns, and smaller gates can easily serve as interior art or design elements in a home.
Gates from the Italian Renaissance, while occasionally available on the market, are true art treasures, and very expensive. Most Italian city-states developed distinctive artistic styles during this period, and gates dating from later eras, but executed faithfully in those styles, are available as are high quality reproductions. Venetian gates, for example, often feature very intricate panels and facades. They often depict the lion of St. Mark in reference to the city’s protector, or repeating patterns of metal discs. Antique gates in patterns based on the architecture of Florence, Milan or other Italian cities are also available and possess a set of distinctive artistic characteristics.
True antique gates are uncommon, and well-preserved examples can be quite expensive. They are generally quite durable, as they were originally made by hand to very exacting standards. Modern antique-style gates may be more suitable for unusual installations, as true antique gates would likely be impossible to find. In situations where security is a great priority, modern antique gates can be manufactured out of high-quality steel and possess excellent strength.