Antique restoration is a skill that requires great attention to detail and respect for the item being worked upon. Silverware ranging from antique hollowware, including cups, bowls, and the like and flatware such as trays, plates and dishes are all ideal candidates for restoration. Due to their age, antiques are often fragile and require a delicate hand. However, just as important, is the attention to preserving the original integrity of the piece. Interestingly enough, what gives an antique its charm and value, often referred to as patina, must be matched carefully when performing restoration. This way, the antique will be preserved rather than ruined.
One way to restore silver antiques is by re-plating the old surface with a new one. Commonly employing silver plating to do so, antique restorers will cover the old, damaged surface with a new coating of silver. Easy in theory but in practice a lot more work is usually involved. In the example photo above you can see how an item often comes in to us for restoration. This antique flatware required a large amount of prep work including four polishing stages before the electroplating took place.
Finally, the application of silver was done through a process known as electroplating. Electroplating involves coating a conductive surface with an electrolyte containing the actual silver. This is an excellent method to brighten up and restore new life to antique silver pieces such as silverware, bowls, teapots and like items. In preserving the original shape of the object, its function is preserved while its look is greatly enhanced as you can see in the image of the finished item above.
The trick with antique restoration is to take away or cover just enough of the damage in order to allow the natural age, and the beauty that comes with that age, to shine through. One must keep in mind that they are restoring rather than remaking. If the owner of the antique wanted a brand new sugar bowl for their table, they would simply go to the store and purchase a new one. Instead, they choose to retain their antique piece and, with a little gentle antique restoration, bring out its unique and original charm.
For more information, or if you would like your antique silverware restoring, please use our contact form.