Oil Painting

Zanden signed Yellow Roses Still Life Oil Painting 1930’s

Mantle Clock

Hamburg American Clock Company

Silver Enamel Brooch

Norwegian silver enamel leaf brooch from Aksel Holmsen A/S

Ceramic Pot Lid

Mounted Victorian Ceramic Pot Lid

EasyShine Metal Polish

Environment Friendly Metal Polish

Renaissance Wax

Environment Friendly Micro-Crystalline Wax

Model Car

View Vans Collectable Souvenir Glentworth Hall

Lead Shot

Lead Shot From The Shipwreck HMS Crocodile c.1784

Opera Glasses

Brass and Ivory Opera Glasses 1920's

Cluster Ring

Tourmaline and Diamond Cluster Ring

Silver lapel Badge

Sterling Silver and Enamel Lapel Badge

Silver Cream Jug

Walker and Hall Sterling Silver Cream Jug, Sheffield 1910

Tunbridgeware Box

Victorian Walnut Box with Tunbridge Bands c.1800's

Burr Walnut Snuff Box

Victorian Burr Walnut Snuff Box c.1800's

Carved Oak Hippo

Hand Carved Oak Hippo c.1980's

Wooden Desk Blotter

Edwardian Hand Carved Oak Blotter

Blue Enamel Hair Brush

Blue Enamel and Silver Hair Brush, Birmingham 1929

Silver Visit Card Holder

Sterling Silver Visit Card Holder, Birmingham 1876

Open Silver Salt

Swedish Open Silver Salt with Cobalt Blue Glass Liner, 1952

Silver Serving Fork

Silver Handle Serving Fork, Birmingham 1899

Silver Plate Tray

Silver Plated Tray, Elkington and Co, Birmingham 1948

Silver Candlestick

Silver Candlestick, Arthur and John Zimmerman, Birmingham 1911

Silver Sifter Spoon

Sterling Silver Sifter Spoon, Sheffield 1909

Silver Decanter label

Sterling Silver Decanter Label, Birmingham 1970

Silver Button Hook

Silver Handle Button Hook, Birmingham 1939

Silver Pickle Fork

Victorian Silver Pickle Fork with Ivory Handle

Sunday, 10 July 2011

How To Ruin An Antique

Very few people set out intentionally to ruin an antique, but people regularly make costly mistakes every day when caring for antiques. Why should this be so? In most cases it is simply because they do not know any better, or they follow old wives tales and old fashioned handed down methods. 

Not everything old is good and not everything modern is bad. The technology developed to put a man on the moon and oil platforms into the North Sea, has become available to us for use in our everyday lives.

The following is a list of the five most common causes or reasons why antiques become ruined.

Improper Cleaning
In general cleaning antiques makes them more desirable and valuable, but care must always be taken not to destroy that much desired surface finish known as patina.

Patina can be defined as a surface appearance on something grown beautiful especially with age or use. Just like a good wine where the taste will mellow and improve with age, so similarly with the surface of an antique where it will develop a deep lustre that comes from years of cleaning and usage. Do not confuse patina for a dirty, oxidised or tarnished surface. Both copper and bronze will form a green film when exposed to atmospheric pollution, especially acids. Whilst that green film may look nice on a church roof, it is extremely doubtful that it would be appreciated on an antique copper or bronze piece used in the home.

Before attempting to clean your antique, seek advise about how cleaning will impact the value. Our general rule of thumb is to restore an item to the condition in which it was originally used.

Amateur Restoration
Before attempting to restore an item, seek advise.

Restoring an antique to its original glory might seem like a good idea, and sometimes it is, but unless you have the skills and knowledge leave the job to a professional.

Sewing a rag doll’s eye back into place is one thing but complicated restoration projects involving woodwork, metalwork, tapestry, surface finish repair etc are best left to professional conservators

Displaying In Sunlight
Almost all materials will deteriorate when left in direct sunlight, so place your antique or collectable piece with care.

Paper, including photographs, will yellow and crack, the vibrant colours in textiles, oil paintings and watercolours will fade and furniture will crack and discolour if displayed in direct sunlight.

Take care to display your antiques and collectibles in dimly lit areas or for short periods of time in sunny rooms.

Always avoid direct sunlight.

Refinishing Furniture
In general the least done to an item the better, so before attempting to refinish an item seek advise. More common pieces can be refinished but do the research before you start the job. 

If you happen to have a rare antique, or maybe even a furniture masterpiece under no circumstances attempt to refinish the piece otherwise you may end up with an expensive pile of firewood.

The table shown was refinished and the original patina removed which consequently reduced its value by over 50%.

Improper Storage
A museum setting in our homes would be the ideal environment for our antiques and collectibles. In most instances that is not possible, so we have to do the best we can with what we have and be mindful of proper storage in order to preserve an item for posterity.

Keep heirlooms out of unusually damp areas like basements and overly hot areas like attics, if at all possible.

Keep silver away from open fires where they will tarnish more readily and do not store salt in silver containers where it will cause black spotting

Do not hang paintings on cold walls especially north facing walls.

The rule of thumb to apply when storing your treasures is whatever is comfortable for you is likely to be comfortable for them. 

More information about caring for antique items is available at our website: www.rarity4u.com

Friday, 1 July 2011

Are You Green Enough

What makes you green?

Are you green enough, just thinking about being green, or maybe just leaving it to somebody else to do your share?

As we have seen from Kyoto and Copenhagen, politicians are not capable of, or not willing to solve the pollution problem, so it is up to us – the ordinary people of the world - to take the lead and show them how it can be done.

At Rarity4u we take the pollution problem seriously and try to do what we can to help reduce environmental pollution. Antiques and our range of conservation and restoration products are obvious examples, but what about the less obvious.

We host our website at pair Networks Inc. who are based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania , USA , and the following is a copy of their company efforts to reduce pollution to a minimum.

“pair Networks, Inc., is committed to doing its part to protect the environment. From our environmentally-focused activities to our earth-friendly corporate culture, we strive to conduct a successful, profitable business in a responsible manner that does not harm our planet. 

Take a moment to look at the ways that we try to be a good steward of the earth. 

Carbon Neutrality
pair Networks, Inc. has reduced its "carbon footprint" to zero.

As of August 1st, 2007, all of pair Networks and pairNIC's operations, datacenters, support operations, and administrative facilities, are Carbon Neutral. Our status as a Carbon Neutral company is certified through  Renewable Choice Energy   

What does Carbon Neutral mean? It means that we offset the carbon dioxide we produce via our purchase of company-wide carbon offsets. The company Renewable Choice Energy uses this money to invest in projects that reduce harmful carbon dioxide emissions around the world. 

In addition, as a benefit of being employed at pair Networks, employees are given a Road Terrapass each year (from the company TerraPass), which offsets the carbon dioxide emitted by their car.

Reduced Energy Consumption
pair Networks utilizes the latest technologies to reduce the amount of electricity we use. Many of the light fixtures in our offices use Compact Fluorescent Lighting (CFL). CFLs use 50-80% less energy than incandescent light bulbs. 

We also only use flat screen LCD monitors. LCDs typically use approximately 30% of the power of similar CRTs while reducing eye-strain and heat load. Another benefit of LCD monitors is that they do not emit harmful radiation unlike CRT monitors. Finally, LCD monitors contain less heavy metals such as lead and mercury than CRT monitors, which is better for the environment when the monitors reach the end of their life cycle. 

We eliminate waste via a company-wide recycling program. We currently recycle materials such as aluminium cans, glass, household batteries, paper, and plastic. 

While we only use paper when absolutely necessary, any paper that we use, including paper towels, is 100% recycled. 

Healthy Working Environment
NASA studies have shown that certain plants work in a symbiotic relationship to remove air pollutants produced by other people, plants, and the environment. Based on this research, pair Networks has air purifying plants throughout its office space, which improve the indoor air quality and the health of our employees. 

Recently, renovations to our office were made using earth-friendly materials such as cork flooring, recycled blue jean insulation, and biodegradable paint and coatings that contain no Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). 

We also make sure that our office is only cleaned with natural and organic cleaning products, which promotes employee health and does not introduce dangerous chemicals into our indoor environment. 

Earth-Friendly Employee Culture
pair Networks promotes its earth-friendly culture in a variety of ways. We offer our employees a supply of free USDA certified organic fruit in our cafeteria. As another employee benefit, we offer a free membership to the regional Audubon Society, which allows our employees to learn more about environmental stewardship and experience Western Pennsylvania's natural environment first hand. Our employees also volunteer for events sponsored by the Audubon Society and other similar organizations. 

Many of our employees do their part to help the environment by using public transportation, riding bikes, and taking hybrid cars to work. And as mentioned previously, everyone that drives to work has been given a TerraPass to offset the carbon their vehicle produces each year. 

As you can see we at Rarity4u do what we can to ensure all the products and services we offer and use are as green as possible.

For more information visit us on the following links:
Rarity4u Website             -  Website
Rarity4u Facebook Page  -  Facebook Page

Beware There Is A Thief About

Thieves broke into an antiques centre in Cardiff, UK and escaped with a haul of antique silver valued at thousands of pounds.
The burglars scaled a 10 foot fence and smashed a ground-floor window to break into the Pumping Station on Penarth Road, Leckwith, Cardiff, on the afternoon of Wednesday, April 2, 2011. Dealers at the Pumping Station were kept busy examining their stock to establish what exactly had been stolen, whilst detectives were urging antiques dealers to exercise vigilance.
Was this just another burglary, or did the high price of silver trigger the crime?
PC Mike Brinkworth from Cardiff Bay Police Station said: “We are keen to get a message out to the community as soon as possible, particularly to any antique dealers who might be offered these items for sale.” Generally high scrap metal prices have also been linked to the theft of bronze garden statuary and sculpture in recent years.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Cardiff Bay Police Station on +44 029 2052 7231.

Does Your Candlestick Look Like This

Do you want your candlestick to look like this?

By using old technology, eco unfriendly metal polish and equally old fashioned cleaning methods your candlestick may end up looking like this. Why, because the metal polish you use probably contains acid or ammonia as the liquid component and this will be the result.

Too many antique metal items are being defaced and destroyed by ignorance and down right cussedness. pH Neutral eco friendly metal polishes are available but people are reluctant to change from their good old traditional methods and metal polish that are both time consuming and expensive.

Not convinced, then read further.

Do you regularly wash in horse urine?
Do you regularly splash acid all over your skin?

If the answer to these questions is no, then why subject your brass candlestick to this treatment?

During the 1700´s, metal polish was not available so the butlers and servants made their own polish. The horse was the major means of transport, so large houses had a stable full of horses and hence a regular supply of straw bedding and urine. The straw was ground into a coarse powder and then mixed with the urine to make a paste. This paste mixture was found to be a good cleaner for brass and copper items.

Similarly the cooks would make pickles, jams and marmalade in the kitchen with the produce from the fields and garden. Copper and brass were used extensively as cooking implements during the 1700´s and 1800´s, and during the cooking process it was found that the acid from the fruits and the vinegar used for preserving made the copper and brass items clean.

Thus the metal polish industry was founded. Acid or ammonia was used as the liquid component and coarse ground straw as the abrasive component and the technology has changed very little during the past 300 years. What the metal polish industry does not tell you is the more you use their product, the more you have to use it – good for profits but not so good for your wallet. Also the polish you use systematically destroys the item you are trying to preserve.

The acid etches the surface of the metal and can cause the conditions for pitting and crevice corrosion to begin. The acid also speeds up the oxidation process, so you have to polish more often. Ammonia is an extremely bad liquid to use on brass because brass is an alloy of copper and zinc and the ammonia dissolves the zinc creating the holes known as pitting.

If that was not bad enough, the abrasives used are usually too coarse causing surface scratches but worse still wears away the metal item.

At first glance pH Neutral metal polishes maybe slightly more expensive when compared with the cheaper alternatives, but on closer examination this may not prove to be the case. So what are the advantages and disadvantages of these polishes.

Subject                   Eco Friendly Polish     Eco Unfriendly Polish
Cause pollution                        No                               Yes
Cause pitting                           No                               Yes
Cause wear                             No                               Yes
Polish shelf life                    Indefinite                     Goes Hard
Cost to buy                            Higher                Seemingly Cheaper
Cleaning frequency           1 or 2 per year          25 to 50 per year
Bottle lasts                   1 every 3 to 5 years      2 or more per year
Health hazard                           No                   Can cause skin

From the above you can calculate the true cost of the eco unfriendly polish and then compare it with the cost of the eco friendly polish. If you calculate the time spent polishing and then add in the cost to repair or replace the damaged item you then get the true cost of using the eco unfriendly polish. Perhaps you want to spend your free time polishing antique metal items over and over again, but it is not my idea of fun.

Easy Shine is a pH Neutral metal polish that does not harm the environment nor the item you are trying to conserve.

For more information about environment friendly conservation and restoration products visit:

Rarity4u Website             -  Website
Rarity4u Art Fire Shop      -  Art Fire Shop
Rarity4u Facebook Page  -  Facebook Page


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