We had to go to the Dimplex factory in Toronto to find out how they make a smoke-and-mirrors fireplace look really really like a real wood fire. It is quite amazing. The flames are a rotisserie of aluminum foil reflecting lights up and off a mirror.
The bricks on the back of the fireplace are actually only a reflection of bricks painted on a one way mirror that acts as the glass door of the fireplace. The flames are reflections of very ordinary chandelier light bulbs, reflecting off of very extra-ordinary rotating flame reflectors. And if you want some real heat, there is an electrical heating element that has nothing at all to do with the flame.