INTERIOR OBJECTS January 30 2014

Interior metal objects are much less vulnerable than those sited outdoors, but may have suffered over the years from improper cleaning, damaging environmental conditions, poor or frequent handling or inappropriate restoration.

Historically, housekeeping practice fell into two approaches. Firstly, those objects in regular use, such as tableware, would have been handled and cleaned often. This had a major impact on the metal surface and carried a high risk of physical damage. Secondly, the finer objects of a purely decorative nature, such as bronzes or jewellery, had significant value then, as now, and so were carefully cleaned, mainly in a similar manner to that of today. For silver and silver gilt objects however the use of less refined abrasives and a more vigorous cleaning schedule may have contributed to wear to the surface and loss of gilding. 

It only takes a short period of poor environmental conditions to do irreparable damage. If the care given to the object is not truly preventative, slow but continued damage will occur. Breakages have always occurred, as metals are not as resilient to impact damage as many believe, and corrosion can also lead to structural failure. If an old repair is unsightly or appears to be weak, professional advice should be sought on the most effective remedy.