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I Antique Online

A Community For People Who Buy, Sell or Collect Antiques, Collectibles and Art

Common Questions

What's the difference between, repair, restoration, conservation & preservation?

The definitions below, in many instances, can be combined for the desired outcome.

• Repair: To fix (best possible outcome) a damaged or worn area on an object.

• Restoration: To either make an object or damaged area on that object look new, or to make it look its age without any noticeable damage or repairs.

• Conservation: Primarily dealing with cleaning an object, doing the least amount of harm to its original finish.

• Preservation: To stabilize an object from further deterioration. This may entail using an archival wax to maintain the surface finish.


When was silverplating invented?

John Wright of Birmingham, England, discovered electroplating. George Richards Elkington and Henry Elkington of England – two cousins who began their research during the industrial revolution – bought the patent rights from Wright and were given the first patent for electroplating in 1840.


Should I lacquer silver so it won't tarnish?

Lacquering silver and silverplate is generally not recommended because of the difficulties in obtaining a uniform coating, even when applied by a professional refinisher. If the coating has not been applied well, it may even have streaks and small holes, so that when the object retarnishes, it could look worse than if no coating had been applied. Lacquer will also eventually yellow and crack, allowing tarnish to form within the fissures and eventually under the protective coating. Lacquer can easily chip or wear off of contact points on objects that have individual parts, such as covers on sugar bowls, coffee and teapots, boxes, salt shakers, and the like. Strong solvents must then be used to remove the lacquer and the piece refinished, not always successfully.

If an object is placed in an open display where surface protection is necessary, an archival micro-crystalline wax such as Renaissance is recommended. Renaissance will not yellow and will last for years if handled properly. Since Renaissance wax is not as durable as lacquer, the object should be handled with cotton gloves since acid from your fingers may eventually remove it. Renaissance wax can be purchased from Cutlery Specialties.


Does silver have health benefits?

Yes. If you’re a silver lover, here’s something else you’ll appreciate about this lustrous metal: it can kill or suppress the growth of microorganisms such as bacteria, mold, and fungus. Silver ions have a toxic effect on these organisms without harm to humans. Its germicidal properties have been well documented through its use in wound dressings to stop infection and promote healing. These properties have the same effect in silver objects. Stainless steel doesn’t offer these benefits nor does it retain its value. Why not buy something that has been staving off illnesses naturally for centuries? Consider drinking from a silver goblet or eating from flatware an elegant way to stay healthier. And when it's time to pass down your silver to the next generation, you can extol silver's health benefits as well.

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C. Dianne Zweig


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