Candlesticks & Candelabra Repairs

Repair of Sterling Silver Candlesticks


20th Century Sterling Silver Candlesticks

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. 

smashed candlecup sterling candlestick

Repairing a crushed candle cup

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.

art deco sterling candlesticks bent

Repair of a Pair of Art Deco Sterling Silver Candlesticks

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.

straightened silver candlesticks

Straightening Sterling Silver Candlesticks

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.

sterling silver candlestick bend and tarnished
tarnished sterling silver candlestick base

Sterling Silver Candlesticks were STRAIGHTENED and polished

Most sterling silver are filled with pitch. Sometimes it is possible to soften the pitch core enough to straighten the candlesticks without taking them apart. While not perfect, they are so much better than they were that it is best to leave well enough alone. The candlesticks were also covered with years of crud, and tarnish which in this case was difficult to remove. The dents and misshapen candlecups were also repaired. The customer was very pleased with the results.

sterling silver candlesticks polished and straightened

Antique Sterling Silver Candlesticks 

19th century silver candlestick after repair and polishing
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. 

Repairing Sterling Silver Candelabra  

"Cement Reinforced" or "Weighted" Candlesticks

cement filled cement reinforced pitch core of sterling silver candlesticks

Many 20th century candlesticks and candelabra are labeled Cement Reinforced or Weighted The sterling silver is very thin, thinner than a piece of paper.  The candle cup, stem sections and base are filled with pitch.  Over time the pitch core breaks when the candlesticks are dropped or handled roughly. The candelabra arms are fragile and vulnerable to breaking. 

Repairs are very challenging.  Contact me to send photos of your  sterling silver candlestick and I will tell you what I can do.  Do not glue. Glue will not hold and can be difficult to remove. 

Broken sterling silver candlestick
Sterling silver two arm candlestick after repair and polishing
sterling silver candelabra broken and dark with tarnish
Sterling silver candelabra repaired and polished
sterling silver cement reinforced candelabra broken
cement reinforced sterling silver candelabra repaired
Sterling silver candelabra broken with ripped and torn candlecup
sterling silver candelabra repaired

The sterling silver candelabra above was leaning sideways and the base had extensive damage. The candle cups were bent and the center candle cup actually had a hole ripped into it from a knife. The right image is restored. Look below for a close-up view.

damaged wrinkled ripped sterling silver candle cups
Center candle cup restored with sterling silver sheet

In the left close-up look at the wrinkled and damaged candle cups of a 20th century cement filled candlestick. Never use a knife to remove candle wax as it can cause serious damage and cuts in the sterling. To remove was, put your candlestick in the refrigerator. After it is cold, use your fingernail to pop off the wax. In the right photo, I fabricated a sterling silver form to cover the ripped hole in the candle cup. Wrinkles can be removed from the sterling silver candle cups, but it is not easy to do.

Repair of Silverplate
Candlesticks & Candelabra

Silverplate candlestick with broken base
Silverplate candlestick after repair and polishing


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. 

Silver plate White Metal Candelabra repaired and Polished

This silver plate white metal candelabra was broken in about six pieces, bent, and very tarnished. Repairing this type of white metal is always a challenge because the white metal melts at very close to the same temperature as the solder. After reassembly, it was polished very carefully to preserve the remaining silver plate while restoring it's appearance. The transformation was remarkable.

View repair examples of silver plate white metal candlesticks and candelabra by clicking here.

Unusual Candlestick Repair


Rare Ram's Horn Candlestick

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 for any repair is to remove all the old repairs to start fresh to provide the best foundation for a quality repair job. Objects from foreign countries are almost always filled with surprises and challenges. The silver is an unpredictable alloy. This candlestick was extremely difficult to solder straight with a swirly shape of the ram's horn, and the irregular candle cup shape (shown in the photo below.)


multiple views of unusual Ram's Horn Candlestick with silver base

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!"

Repair of Shefffield Plate Candelabra 

Matthew Boulton Sheffield Plate candelabra arms repaired.

Restoration of a  MatThew Boulton candlestick

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.

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.