Jean McClelland: Restoring valuable china and crystal pieces
Putting our best foot forward over the holidays can sometimes end with a precious piece of ceramic or silver accidentally broken, chipped or scratched.
Don’t so readily throw away the pieces of Great Grandmother’s broken turkey platter because there are solutions if you are willing to pay to have it restored. Unlike yesteryear today there are more restoration possibilities with the advances made in this type of technology.
Before going down the trail of restoration first consider the value of the item and if it is worth it to you to have it restored. The intrinsic value may be that you won’t care how much it costs to repair Granny’s turkey platter. Another avenue to consider is replacement with a duplicate that may not be as expensive as restoration you just have to find it.
As you look at the restoration process take note as to whether a restored item will retain its monetary value. Some will and some won’t and often it will depend upon how well it is restored. Some tableware is more valuable as a damaged piece than as a restored piece so do the homework prior to spending the big bucks to restore. Many times a restorer will want to evaluate the piece and that evaluation will often offer information about value after restoration.
As mentioned pretty much anything can be fixed whether its china, pottery, crystal or silver but be sure and save all the broken pieces for the repair process. There are a multitude of folks who restore these items listed on the Internet so check out references, number of years they have been in business and ask for some before and after photos of their work. Once settled on a restorer get a written estimate and a contract stating the details of the deal such as when the piece will be completed. This can be a lengthily process and you don’t want to get lost in the shuffle.
The best prescription for no chips, cracks or damage to surfaces is to take proper care of the item from the get go. Use your pretties but wash them by hand dishwashers are hard on antique china and silver. Clean the silver with a good polish forgoing the easy chemical dips that many suggest leave a dull lifeless appearance. The bottom line is just to use common sense and handle these old friends with the care they deserve.
Jean McClelland writes about antiques for The Herald-Dispatch.