Ormolu is a gilded bronze decoration used in decorative arts as an ornamental trim. Also widely used in furniture, it was first noticed in France in the 17th century and was made from a paste made from high carat gold and mercury amalgam. But it was hazardous and "most gilders did not survive beyond 40 years of age."(5) Truly art to die for! Later gilded bronze was made with 50% copper and zinc, but today we see more electroplating than the handmade ormolu of yesteryear. Still, when you see ormolu on a case good or decorative art piece, you'll know what to call it and how it was made. It is truly an art form. Ormolu artisans achieved their highest artistic and technical achievement in France and were then copied by others. The silver gilt form is called vermeil.
Here is another type of ormolu called Manga Ormolu where manga wood ornamentation is added to a chinese porcelain vase. This is so cool!
Must be the old art teacher in me, but I hope you enjoyed learning about this as much as I did!