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How to Preserve the Artistic and Historical Value of Antiques

Aug 19, 2008
One of the most significant characteristic of any antique item is its age. Since antiques have been passed down from one generation to the next, these items easily undergo daily wear and tear. Thus, any antique item demands considerable care to preserve and protect its timeless value.

While a professional antique restorer is recommended for more intricate and detail-oriented method of antique restoration, you can also do your part to help maintain the artistic and historical value of your collection. Read on some tips on how to clean precious antique pieces.

Direct sunlight is a no-no for antique furniture. You should never display antique furniture in direct sunlight or beside air-conditioning or heating units. The heat that comes from these sources will deteriorate the fragile state of the antique piece. Place antique furniture in cool areas or better yet ask antique experts of how to properly display your piece. Note that different types of wood require different temperature to maintain its elegance.

Use soft, lint-free cloth for polishing. Soft and lint-free cloth should be used when polishing antique pieces. You should never polish antiques the way you may polish your modern pieces. Remember that antiques are old and can easily be torn, scratched or broken if mishandled.

Move antique furniture with care. Because of the furniture's sensitive condition, you should only move antique pieces when you really have to and only with utmost care. Otherwise, let the furniture stay in one corner of your house to lessen the probability of accidental breaking.

Use your hands when dealing with antique ceramics or glass. Cleaning antique ceramics and glass is quite simple just by using lint-free cloth for regular dusting. However, unlike antique furniture pieces, wearing protective gloves in handling antique ceramic and glass is not advisable. It is more appropriate to handle antiques of this type using your clean hands. It is good to know that sunlight and humidity would not affect the condition of some antique ceramics and glass. To determine sensitive antique items, you must seek the advice of an antique expert.

Store antique ceramics or glass in sturdy shelves. The most common problem with antique ceramic or glass is breakage. Therefore, extra care must be given in its storage. You must never place antique ceramic or glass in unstable cabinets. In case of accidental breakage, place each piece even the smallest one in acid-free tissue and bring to an experienced antique restorer. You must never repair damaged antique pieces on your own to avoid devaluation.

Regularly polish antique silver and metal pieces. Antique silver and metal items are extremely delicate. Antique items made from these materials can react to natural conditions and may result to corrosion, scratches, dents and fractures. Regular and proper cleaning through polishing with soft cloth will reduce the difficulty of maintaining the items' patina. You should use protective gloves when handling antique silver and metal to avoid tarnishing due to body sweat.

Store antique jewellery separately. Antique jewellery is extremely delicate. A piece of jewellery is possible to be made up of several types of precious stone or metal in which one would adversely affect each other through time. This is why you should not store several pieces of antique jewellery in just one box. Make sure that you have a separate box for each piece to avoid chemical reaction.

Hire the expertise of an antique jeweller. Small jewellery pieces make it almost impossible to clean, so an experienced jeweller specializing in antiques is recommended to handle these items.
About the Author
Driscolls Antiques is a leading supplier of quality antiques and antique furniture. Benedict Yossarian is a freelance Internet Marketing Consultant that can help maximize your exposure online.
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