Wrought iron brackets are often used to support bookshelves or other types of shelves, though other wrought iron brackets can be used for other purposes, such as hanging plants or signs, attaching doors to cupboards or cabinets, and securing other materials to each other for aesthetic appeal and overall strength. True wrought iron brackets can be difficult to find, and they are likely to be expensive; more modern "wrought iron" is actually made from cast iron or steel to save on production costs and time. These materials are just as strong and aesthetically pleasing, and actually offer benefits true wrought iron cannot offer.
Picture frames and mirror frames sometimes feature wrought iron brackets at the corners to secure the individual wooden frame pieces to each other. These brackets are L-shaped and can be highly decorative or quite plain. Antique wrought iron brackets on older frames are made from iron that is worked in a certain way upon production: all wrought iron is hand-worked, and a by-product of the metalworking process is slag, which leaves a grain in the finished product that may appear as fine, silk-like threads cast into the iron. This is indicative of true wrought iron, and if this grain is not present, it is likely that the wrought iron brackets are made from cast iron or steel.
Many people use wrought iron brackets to support shelves in the home, while others use them to support the weight of hanging signs outside of homes or businesses. When using wrought iron for brackets used outside the home, it is usually best to buy brackets made from steel that are designed in the aesthetic appearance of wrought iron. Certain types of steel, such as galvanized steel or low carbon steel, can be made to look like authentic wrought iron, but unlike true wrought iron or cast iron, these types of steel will resist rust and corrosion when exposed to the elements regularly.
Wrought iron tends to be fairly ornate, so brackets available for purchase will often feature sweeping curves, points, and leaflike designs. The specific designs are countless and are limited only by the builder's imagination, so choosing the best ones is really a matter of the purchaser's tastes. Some wrought iron brackets are simpler and feature only curves or curls, while others incorporate ornate combinations of curls, curves, spikes, twists, and ornate leaf designs. Many brackets feature hooks or loops through which chains can be run to allow a sign or plant to be hung from it.