Normally, the summer months are understandably spent out and about sourcing new pieces, visiting fairs, dealers and brocantes and generally enjoying the freedom I’m lucky to enjoy in this job. But – hey, we live in the UK, and it’s always possible that an entire weekend – or even a week – will be lost to rain.
This weekend was just such a weekend, so I had to find something else to do, because while I am at my happiest digging for treasure, constant downpours see me running inside! There’s always mending and restoring to do, chandeliers to rebuild, textiles to clean and press, stock to sort and – my favourite….. cutlery to polish.
I have to admit, cutlery is one of my addictions. I am a great believer in *useful* antiques. We all love the curios; the strange and beautiful things we see along the way, but certainly from my perspective, the majority of what I buy (and therefore my lovely customers buy), are pieces they can use every day, if they so wished.
There’s something beautiful about vintage and antique cutlery that you simply do not get with modern pieces. Whether it’s the engraved blade of a fish knife, the elegant handle on a mother of pearl service or a set of dainty teaspoons, my heart always beats a little faster when I see some tarnished beauties languishing at the bottom of a box, just waiting for a new home.
This sweet little set of teaspoons which I recently picked up was absolutely desperate for a clean, as you can see. There are a number of cleaning products suited to the job on the market, but I always, always use good old silvo. You can buy the wadding, but I find it much easier and cost efficient to buy the liquid.
It’s useful to have a few cloths to hand for cleaning – I tend to clean lots of pieces all in one go, so I lay them out on an old towel, rub in some silvo, a small amount at a time, then leave it to ‘soak’ for a couple of minutes before using a clean, lint-free cloth to rub it off and buff up the piece. Old tea towels are great for this and I always have a little stash for polishing. Handy hint – children’s toothbrushs are fantastic for getting into the details on silver plated and silver items!
I’m sure you will agree – it’s quite the difference!
The same can be seen on this lovely rose bowl, picked up the same weekend, which will also be hitting our etsy shop shortly. The difference between the polished right and the unpolished left is pretty obvious.
So, don’t be put off by the sad, tarnished pieces you see next time you’re out hunting. Most pieces you discover will clean up brilliantly, and if there are a few scuffs and signs of wear even after your attempts…… well, the Hello Vintage motto is always to consider great finds to be ‘perfectly imperfect’ – a little patina simply adds to the beauty of the piece.
Hope you had a great weekend hunting for your own treasure! xx
PS: If you prefer to use new cutlery, or just like to have a matching set, we have the John Lewis Vintage Ivory cutlery at home which we use when we’re ‘being fancy’ and I have to say I absolutely adore them.