Not quite sure what is was used for but it already had the charm of a faux fireplace it just needed some tweaking.
Wax can also be somewhat sticky, and finger prints can stand out. Dirt can easily adhere to it making it harder to clean. Also, wax is suggested to be reapplied about every year so it is not a low-maintenance option. Wax is used typically more for looks rather than as a durable protectant.
Guide to wood finishes. Types of top coats
Patina is color & texture of the surface produced by age & wear. In wood furniture the varnish, shellac, or oil has a tendency to deepen yet retains the transparency.