Simple tips to keep glass and ceramics beautiful
Vintage and antique glass and ceramic objects can be maintained for years of use and enjoyment provided that some basic care and attention is given to their preservation. The first step in the care of collections is to understand and minimize or eliminate conditions that can cause damage. The second step is to follow basic guidelines for care, handling and cleaning.
Glass and ceramics are among the most durable antique collectibles. Breakage is by far the most common form of damage that occurs to both. Improper use, display, cleaning, or repair can cause additional damage in the form of stains and discoloration. In rare instances, poor manufacture or harsh environmental conditions lead to degradation.
Shine on! Keep your vintage and antique glass and ceramic pieces looking great with some easy and simple tips.
Handle with care
The careful handling and storage of glass and ceramic objects is the surest way to provide protection. Always use two hands when lifting or moving objects, being careful to lift them from their strongest points. Never lift objects by their handles or spout. This is particularly important in the case of objects that have been previously repaired. Even the best repairs cannot completely restore the structural strength to a broken glass or ceramic item.
Display with caution
The use of spring-type metal plate hangers should be avoided. These hangers place a great deal of stress on objects and can lead to the development of cracks. Metal hangers also scratch the surface of the object. Plate stands constructed of hard plastic or painted wood that allow the object to rest at a tilted angle are preferable.
Although ceramics are generally considered to be stable materials, a certain amount of caution must be used when cleaning them. Some antique ceramics contain fragile painted or gilded surface decoration, which can be removed or damaged by harsh cleaning solutions. Use only diluted cleaning solutions, applied with soft cloths during cleaning. Cleaning involving the removal of tenacious stains or dirt should be left to a professional. Glass can be cleaned in much the same manner as ceramics, with the addition of diluted ammonia as a cleaner. Weeping glass and archaeological glass should only be cleaned by a professional.
Do not attempt to repair vintage or antique glass and ceramic yourself. To preserve the integrity of the item, seek a professional with help in repairing an item. Many times, leaving cracks or chips alone adds to the beauty of an item.
When you are shopping for vintage or antique glass or ceramic items, the typical rule applies: buy what you love. If you notice imperfections, just note that this can add character to an aged item. Nothing ages with perfection and this includes glass and ceramic items. Be sure you know how to take care of your treasures going forward and you can be sure to have them for a lifetime.