Sterling Silver Candlesticks And Candelabra Repairs


STERLING SILVER CANDLESTICKS

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These tall sterling silver candlesticks arrived with the candle cup very misshapen and bent (right photo.) The candle cup  is not removable so it had to be slowly burnished back into shape holding on to the entire candlestick. Talk about challenging! After the repair work the candlesticks were polished. 


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smashed candlecup sterling candlestick

This sterling silver candlestick arrived with the candle cup badly dented, crushed and wrinkled as shown in the "before" photo on the right. This candlestick had a lot of sentimental value to the customer so I did the best I could. I can't believe it turned out this great. Repairing damage like this is not an instant process. I am gently reshaping the silver, and rubbing out the wrinkles all my hand.


STERLING SILVER ART DECO CANDLESTICKS

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art deco sterling candlesticks bent

These sterling silver Art Deco candlesticks were a family heirloom given as a wedding present in 1922. They were brought to me because they were bent, tilting to one side and the candle cup was crushed (right photo.) 

This was an incredibly challenging repair. I had to cut a hole in the bottom, remove the core material, spend countless hours straightening the candlesticks, repair the many holes in the faceted edges from 93 years of polishing, and fix the crushed candle cup. Then they were polished and refilled with pitch. Felt is glued on the bottom for an attractive appearance concealing the area I had to cut open for access.


19th century silver candlestick after repair and polishing

19th century silver candlestick after repair and polishing

Broken 19th century silver candlestick in progress  

Broken 19th century silver candlestick in progress  

This sterling silver candlestick was from the end of the 19th century.  They had many beautiful details in the design. Unfortunately, the customer "twisted off" the top of the candlestick breaking off the silver candle cup. It was not supposed to come apart, and arrived with the candle cup completely broken off . This was a huge challenge to put back together. Apart from the difficulties of the repair, there is always the challenge of a the irregularities and wear from 100 + years of use. 

Sterling silver candlesticks are often filled with a pitch material. This has to be removed by slowly and carefully melting it out which took two hours.  You can see the pitch collected in the pot (right photo.)

After the candlestick is cleaned, it was silver soldered back together and refilled with the original pitch. The hours it takes for this repair are the only way to properly repair this beautiful sterling candlestick.

View more details about this repair in a Berman Fine Silverwork Facebook album. 


Sterling silver two arm candlestick after repair and polishing
Broken sterling silver candlestick

20th century sterling silver candelabra are very fragile. The silver is as thin as a piece of paper. On the bottom, they are usually stamped "cement reinforced" or "cement filled." This means that the base, center column and candle cups are filled with a pitch like material. Over time the pitch core breaks when the candlesticks are dropped or handled roughly. The candelabra arms are fragile and vulnerable to breaking. 

The pitch inside the candlestick also makes the repair even more difficult. Repairs can only be made with a low temperature solder, but I work hard to make the repair as attractive as possible. 

Sterling silver candelabra repaired and polished
sterling silver candelabra broken and dark with tarnish

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Sometimes sterling silver candelabra are so broken, ripped and dented they can not be repaired. The sterling silver is very thin, thinner than a piece of paper. 

When this candlestick arrived it was taped together with scotch tape. When I took off the tape you can see that the filling had broken and fallen out, and the base was wrinkled and torn. The bottom of the base came off completely. The top of the candle cup was torn off. The threaded portion is still screwed onto the candelabra arms.
At first I optimistically tried to fix this candelabra. After two hours there was a realization and frustration that it was going to look terrible. Not worth any amount of moneyI was going to charge for repair. I called the customer and said that I didn't think it was worth repair and did not charge her for my time.


Silverplate candlestick after repair and polishing

Silverplate candlestick after repair and polishing

Silverplate candlestick with broken base

Silverplate candlestick with broken base

This candlestick arrived broken with some serious problems, but the customer did not want to re-silverplate the candlestick. She preferred the "shabby chic" worn silver plating and character. The pitch core was removed and the candlestick base was soldering back together. I put a small silver wire on the inside edge to reinforce the repair, and then refilled the candlestick with pitch. The entire silverplate candlestick was polished as is. The silverplating is worn, but the entire candlestick has character.

Not everything silverplate needs to be replated if you don't mind the worn plating and look of old silver.  Not everything 100 + years old has to look perfectly new. This candlestick looks terrific considering the sad condition when it arrived at my studio. 


THESE STERLING SILVER CANDLESTICKS NOW STAND UP STRAIGHT

straightened silver candlesticks
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When these sterling silver candlesticks arrived for repair they were tilting significantly in different directions (right photo.) To prevent this from happening to your sterling silver candlesticks do not let them get hot. Never put them in the dishwasher or let them soak in very hot water. Avoid display in a hot sunny window. The core pitch like material will get soft and they may start leaning over like the Leaning Tower of Pisa.


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Berman-silver-candlestick-broken-candlecup-repaired

The repair for this sterling silver candlestick is neat and makes the candlestick usable, but it does show. Only low temperature solder can be used for this type of repair. The pitch like core bubbles up polluting the soldered repair creating small pits. This is the best that can be done. The candlestick is usable and treasured.

PREVENT PROBLEMS: 
Avoid letting candles burn down all the way into the candle cup if possible. Do not twist the candle cup or candlestick when polishing. Sometimes rough polishing creates the "wrinkles" in the silver, twisting the candlestick until it breaks apart. Polish gently using make-up pads.


ram's horn candlestick Repaired and Polished

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This very unusual ram's horn candlestick arrived broken in two pieces. It also had two previous repair attempts that were poorly done.  The first step is removing all the old repairs to start fresh and provide the best foundation for a quality repair job.

Objects from foreign countries are almost always filled with surprises and challenges during the repair.  This candlestick was extremely difficult to solder straight with a swirly shape of the ram's horn, and the irregular candle cup shape.

The customer said, "I finally had a chance to get to the post office and get the candlestick.  It looks absolutely terrific!  It's better than the original!"

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Restoration of a  MatThew Boulton candlestick

Ripped and broken Matthew Boulton candlestick

Ripped and broken Matthew Boulton candlestick

Matthew Boulton maker's mark on a candelabra base.

Matthew Boulton maker's mark on a candelabra base.

Matthew Boulton Sheffield Plate candelabra arms repaired.

This 225 year old  Matthew Boulton candelabrawas a challenging repair. By the time it was in my studio, one arm was hanging on by a thread of metal, and another arm was very weak. A seam around the outside edge of the center was stretching open and splitting. 

The goal for the repair was to reattach the broken arm, and reinforce the that arm that was breaking. I wanted my repair to be attractive, yet unobtrusive, and authentic to the original design.  

Learn more about how I repaired this Matthew Boulton candlestick, step by step with details shots by clicking here.
 


Silverplate White Metal Candlesticks Repaired and Polished

Silverplate white metal candlesticks  after repair of the candle cup

These white metal silverplate candlestick arrived with the candle cup broken. After studying it closely, I realized it had been repaired before. White metal is very soft and melts at very close to the same temperature as the solder. To conceal the repair and add additional strength, I created a sterling silver washer to help reinforce the repair. After polishing they turned out looking great.