The collecting of antiques is a steadfast favorite in the world of interior design. However, how do you know if a piece is worth the investment? Laura Roland of Fireside Antiques says that it’s all about what you want to see in your home.
“If you look at your pair of French, 19th-century gold gilt mirrors over your mantle everyday with joy, then it’s a good investment. If you love using your old Paris porcelain at dinner parties, it’s a great investment,” she says. “Antiques are still here because they’re being recycled. They are one of the few things we can fix and continue to use if damage were to occur.”
An antique that truly sparks joy, that is, may very well be a part of your life forever. These are pieces that can become family heirlooms that will be passed down through generations.
“Knowing that you don’t need to replace something you bought for yourself is very reassuring and starting to become uncommon,” says Roland.
If you don’t know where to start, she says that solid wood antiques are always reliable. “They are durable, fixable, cleanable, gain patina and add warmth to any interior,” she says.
In bookcases, she looks for old, wavy, hand-blown glass panels instead of new glass. She doesn’t mind marble that’s been repaired because she says it’s better than it being replaced with new stone.
“Marble-top antiques make for a durable surface for any family member or guest to place a glass on without worry of ring marks. We use marble-topped antiques in every room,” says Roland. “The marble used on many of our antiques came from quarries that are no longer in use, so a lot of marbles are vey rare and only found on antiques.”
Roland also says to look for mirrors with their original glass.
“The mirror plates are thicker, making them very heavy, and they were made using a mercury backing which gains patina over time. You’ll see dark spotting—also known as foxing—and/or sparkles or ‘glitter’ in the glass,” she says. “This crystallization from the mercury oxidizing cannot be reproduced and is only found in mirrors over 100 years old.”
So, whether 100-year-old glass, rare marble, or simply a well-crafted chest of mahogany, a piece that has stood the test of time already will likely stand to last plenty of seasons in a south Louisiana living room.
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