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Antique Dealers Guide

Why are Ceramics and Glass Items Exposed to So Much Damage or Deterioration?

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They give us so much of joy, yet are so fragile in nature! The antiques we are referring to here are ceramics and glassware. If not maintained properly, they can suffer from deterioration or damage; sometimes, permanent and irreversible.

Let us check out all the ways this can happen—

(1) Glass containers or vessels are not meant to store liquids for lengthy periods of time. These liquids can aid certain constituents of the glass itself to dissolve. You will realize this when you notice a turbid interior or residue forming inside. This residue cannot be removed. Your antique is now lost, for the internal surface of the glass has been etched away. The tiny cracks on the surface will soon widen and destroy the entire object.

(2) Even antique ceramics and glass objects may have come from dubious manufacturers. Who knows if inferior materials were used? Were the methods correct? Naturally, there is bound to be deterioration over time.

(3) A porous ceramic body may consist of soluble salts. The dissolution and re-crystallization (expansion) of these minerals is entirely dependent on humidity. And you are well aware that relative humidity keeps fluctuating. As the salts expand, they demolish the surrounding ceramic material. If you have ever watched a flower pot getting destroyed by fertilizer salts, you will understand the process.

(4) Do you leave your ceramic items standing outside during the harsh winters? A freezing temperature, plus moisture, are bound to have an adverse effect on porous ceramics.

(5) As a matter of fact, earthenware is the most susceptible to harsh weather conditions, considering that it is highly permeable to water.

(6) The most delicate ceramics are porcelain pieces. Delicate and paper-thin walls, plus a highly vitreous (becoming glass-like) nature, makes them excessively vulnerable to cracking and breaking.

(7) Do not go to extremes when judging the quality of your artifacts. They can neither be too brittle nor too strong. If you want to test this theory, pour hot water into a cold mug or glass; watch it break into a million pieces!

(8) A slight chip here, a small crack there—all due to careless handling—and your precious pieces are heading for disaster! They will steadily weaken, and finally die!

(9) Are you very fond of gesturing while talking? Do not stand too near ceramics or glassware then! For even a tap or a push without thinking can result in complete destruction of things that can never be replaced.

(10) There can be accidents galore when you are trying to ship your antiques elsewhere. Are you sure you have packed them compactly? Even carelessness while displaying them for visitors or improper storage will lead to heartache later on!


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