Most antiques and collectibles, especially those handed down through multiple generations, have minor or even major defects – or as they say on the Antiques Roadshow “condition issues”. The important question is – are they worth fixing?
The crucial factor in the decision to fix or not to fix is the degree of personal attachment that you have for the broken object. An extreme degree of remorse is caused when you break a family heirloom – especially if it was a gift or was handed down by a loved one. The best way to assuage this guilt and remorse is to have the item expertly restored.
A secondary factor is financial: will the increase in value of the object more than pay for the cost of restoration?
Our experience is that the sentimental factor is far more important than the financial considerations. Many people will restore a completely valueless object if it was given to them by their beloved grandmother.
The unfortunate fact is that most antiques will lose all or part of their value if they are damaged. As the saying goes “Condition is Everything”. However, there are some categories of collectibles where expert repairs can restore most of the value and this post will explain.
The Philosophical Justification for Repair
Feng Shui has a lot of wise things to say about harmonious living, and this advice is well worth heeding:
According to Feng Shui
“broken things have no place in your home: either fix them or get rid of them soon –
they will cause a loss of energy”
Sentimental items include souvenirs of memorable vacations or family events, wedding flutes, paintings, family china and crystal and other belongings passed down through the generations. Follow this link to learn about sentimental items
If the broken items have no real sentimental value, the decision to repair depends essentially on whether the cost of the restoration is less than the monetary value of the restored object. Read this post to learn all about the viability of repairing.
“I’m finally back in Santa Fe after some time in Europe. I unpacked the porcelain lamp you repaired for me and am enjoying it every day. It is truly a joy to me, the last heirloom I have from my mother. Thank you for your good work and safe shipment. Thank you! And may you continue to prosper. Blessings,” Diana Thatcher , Santa Fe, NM
To Repair or Not to Repair?
Learn what is worth repairing
- Inexpensive items (not worth fixing)
- China Dinnerware
- Expensive items (worth fixing)
- Cautionary tales and advice
Cheap pyrex kitchen bowls or Mexican drinking glasses are seldom worth fixing because the cost of grinding and polishing a chip is much more than the value of the glassware
A Painful Lesson
Never lend a valuable punch bowl to a neighbor for a party – you will lose a friend and a family heirloom. Crystal is very easy to chip by careless handling! It as also easy to break by thermal shock – never rinse with hot water immediately after emptying out the ice-cold contents -the bowl will crack!
China Dinnerware – Changing Fashions
A source of great disappointment for many baby boomers is the lack of affection shown by their children and grandchildren towards their cherished family china and crystal. Millennials prefer experiences to objects and many use disposable plastic rather than china plates.
The change of fashion away from formal dinnerware means that complete china sets are now available on eBay and Craig’s list at very modest prices. So, unless the china has sentimental value it is not worth repairing
Repaired dinnerware cannot be used for dining
Our restored china & porcelain can only be used for decorative purposes! This is because the adhesive and paint cannot be fired in a kiln and will eventually stain and discolor with use.
If you need to replace a broken dinner plate – try Replacements
As noted above – our repaired china is for display only – so for dinner plates that you can use check the link below – Replacements has an enormous inventory.
Knowledge is Power!
If your figurine is not sentimental to you –investigate its rarity (consult an expert appraiser if necessary) to decide whether it is worth restoring. The value will be less than that of a mint example but a professionally restoration is well worthwhile.
Waterford & Baccarat crystal are worth repairing
Fine crystal stemware and barware from makers like Waterford, Baccarat, Orrefors & others is definitely worth fixing because the retail, and even replacement prices approach $100.00. Chips are expertly ground and polished leaving the glass slightly shorter than the original.
“My wife (and I) were astounded at the quality of your repair work on the broken nativity ceramic! If you didn’t know it had been broken, you’d never know! You and your staff are truly fine, accomplished craftspeople!” Rich Pfisterer, Tucson, AZ.
What Materials Can We Repair?
Answer: pretty much everything
Instructions for Broken Sentimental Items
To find out if your item is repairable:-
Call Artistry in Glass and describe your broken items. If necessary we may ask you to email images to us: take an overall view of the object and detailed shots of the damage ideally with a ruler or object for scale. Use a plain white background (or a dark background if the object is white). Send medium-sized images (<1 Mb) if you know how to choose the file size.
On receipt of your images, we will let you know our expert diagnosis: either the object can be fixed, cannot be fixed or maybe (you will have to bring it in to find out).
Price of your repair
We cannot give firm restoration prices from photos because we need to hold the damaged item in our hands and make a careful examination to determine the degree of perfection that can be achieved. The problem is that if there turns out to be a missing fragment the repair may be more difficult than anticipated and the result less perfect.
Pack your items carefully
and bring them into our mid-town studio. Do not attempt to glue them yourself – it will cost more because we will have to remove the adhesive.
At Artistry in Glass, we are very friendly and will give you our honest appraisal as to whether the piece is worth repairing or whether you can more easily obtain a replacement online.
How long? … normally 3 to 5 weeks
Restoration time depends on the complexity of the job. A complete restoration can take from 2 to 5 weeks. To polish a chip from a vase or wine glass may be done in a week. Please do not call us constantly on the progress of your project: we will contact you when the job is done.
It is very bad karma to hang on to broken items in your home. They bring unhappy and remorseful feelings. Solve the problem by contacting Artistry in Glass – 520-320-0104
“Thank you!! My Murano bowl looks amazing!! I appreciate your expertise in the repair. Words alone cannot express how pleased I am to have my Mother’s bowl to enjoy every day!! Thank you again.” Karen Duncan, Oro Valley AZ
See our other informative repair guides!
- How to repair a broken china plate
- How to repair a broken china teapot
- How to fix a broken marble slab
- How to repair a broken china coffee mug
- All about repairing stained glass lampshades
- How to care for your stained glass skylight
- Is stained glass worth repairing?
- To repair or toss out?
- Tucson crystal & china repair a division of Artistry in Glass
- What to do with broken antiques