Advice for if you break a treasured ornament

Allan Blackburn, Owner of GB Antiques Centre and Lancaster Leisure Park

Allan Blackburn, Owner of GB Antiques Centre and Lancaster Leisure Park

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Following my mutterings about cleaning valuables, I want to talk more about repairing and restoring such treasures.

What if the worst happens and something valuable is broken? It can be devastating and the most natural reaction is to try to put it back together. However, the most important piece of advice I can give you, is DON’T try to repair it yourself! Time and time again I see visitors coming into the centre, watery eyed, with a beloved smashed piece they’ve tried to repair themselves.

Their attempt at repairing it has often caused more damage than the accident did in the first place.

Not surprisingly, it’s often the pieces that have high sentimental value that people try to repair themselves. It’s almost like they are trying to glue those fond memories back together, but please leave well alone. Modern super glues are very difficult to remove and, if you make a mess of it, this will ultimately cost much more to repair.

It’s also important not to put the two broken pieces together, further damage is often caused as they scrape together. Finally, keep all the pieces, even the tiny splinters. It really is best to then contact a professional to restore your precious ornament. Professional restorers can do incredible things with smashed vases. Even the most shattered porcelain can be rebuilt with epoxy resins. If necessary, it can even be re-enameled and glazed. Delicate patterns too can be re-created.

Full restoration can cost anything from £10 to £1,000. The price is dependent on the amount of damage and the difficulty of the repair, as well as the standard of repair the owner needs. Good restoration can be expensive, but bad restoration is always much more expensive in the long run.

Get a firm estimate before you hand over your treasures. Whether or not you choose to invest in restoration will no doubt depend on the item’s sentimental and monetary value.

Restoration is not just reserved for porcelain and pottery (even if the items are particularly fragile), old furniture, clocks and even Teddy bears all benefit from professional repairs.

So don’t worry. As you’re picking up the broken pieces of Great Auntie Mabel’s coffee pot take heart – virtually any damage can be repaired!