Finials are architectural elements typically used as decorative or ornamental features that mark the top or end of domes, spires, roofs, gables, buildings or other structures, and smaller finials feature on things like curtain rods, bedposts and clocks.
On wrought iron gates and fences, they can also be referred to as “fencing caps”. Wrought iron finials come in a myriad of shapes and design styles (including custom-made versions) that suit a range of property styles — from traditional to modern. Here are eight inspirational examples.
These finials feature what is known as a traditional fleur-de-lis pattern. Commonly used in French architecture, “fleur” means flower and “lis” means lily, and the design resembles a flower with curved ends. It has been used by French royalty throughout history to symbolise heraldry and as a symbol of religious purity. Here, its roughened surface gives it an aged grandeur, and its muted yet variegated colouring pairs perfectly with the vibrant background of greenery.
Over time, the fleur-de-lis design has been stylised and embellished to add individuality and character to the finials on wrought iron fencing. In this example, it has been customised to suit this property owner’s formal yet unique tastes. Scrolls, swirls and more delicate floral accents enhance its character, and its muted, monotone palette adds an old-world effect as well as an understated three-dimensional twist.
This wrought iron fence hints at being situated in a classically-style property, with the owners favouring a perimeter with a historical edge. The apex of the fencing finials used here are known as “Roman spikes” or “spike” finials, and they are majestic and certainly make a grand statement! However, this is a lovely example of a combination of design elements — the lower part of the finials have a definitive fleur-de-lis twist with the curves softening the effect.
If security is the statement you are aiming for when it comes to your wrought iron fence, then visually, there is nothing more commanding than a “flat spear” or “arrow” style finial. Simplistic, dramatic and fashioned in a dark, bold hue, this design hints at medieval battles and no-holds-barred bravery. There are no flourishes here, although the curved arrow edges add a hint of fragility (but not much). Intruders beware
This is a lovely example of wrought iron finials for railings that combine a number of interesting shapes and textures. The tips are “arrow” or “flat spear” style, with their bottoms hinting at fleur-de-lis influences. Straight edges add visual interest, as do the bold swirls that curve inwards towards the right but then change direction! Overall, the elements are non-uniform, which intensifies the aged look, as does the evidence of rust. In this case, its mottled presence doesn’t deter, but enhances the overall effect.
Image from Iron Fence Shop Blog
A “ball top” or ball-style finial in other applications is often mounted to the top of stationary flagpoles. In this instance, it is mounted on a modern wrought iron fence to give it an iconic, contemporary look. Its dark, glossy texture works well with the light coloured brickwork, and its simple, clean lines offer a non-fuss fencing option. Other advantages of these types of finials are that there are no sharp points or edges, and the finials are welded directly to the picket to enhance their durability.
Another beautiful example of ball top finials, this wrought iron fence has a slightly more traditional edge. Swirls on the bottom layer add an aesthetic softness — it’s a great combination of straight and round-edged patterning. Colour-wise, soft grey evokes a feeling of security and functionality, and here, it creates a minimalist yet beautiful backdrop to a garden bursting with Autumn colour.
There is no better way to express your personality than with a custom-designed wrought iron fence with its own distinctive finials. This is creativity personified and a wonderful example of how a myriad of design elements can be combined to produce what is essentially a work of art. The choice of colour (gold, of course) exudes elegance, luxury and opulence, and sparkles against a backdrop of matt black. And the design itself? Rounded bottoms support what can only be described as Gothic-inspired organic-ness. Scrolls and petal and branch-type elements feature filigree etchings, and each one has been fashioned to be divinely unique.
- 2021, Fleur-de-lis, Britannica
- 2021, Fleur-de-lis, Wikipedia
- 2021, Finial, Wikipedia
- Jason, 2015, Authentic wrought iron and aluminium fence – it’s all about the finial tips, Iron Fence Shop