By Chirag Sharma
Photography: Courtesy World Wide Web
If you happen to be the proud owner of a piece of gilded furniture, we bring you some useful spot pointers on the maintenance of this expensive and exclusive variety that beautifies your home…
In the eras of the Raje-Maharaje, furniture and accessories finished in 22carat gold were a symbol of grandeur; an epitome of wealth and power. Several antiques gilded furniture items still exist in some lofty households.
Firstly, let us understand that ‘Gilding’ is the technique of applying paper-thin leaves of pounded metal to a prepared surface. Gold, silver, brass, aluminium and copper leaf become bronze, pewter, gunmetal and lead, when simple acid-washes and paint-glazes overlay their shiny surfaces. Real gold leaf does not tarnish and is used when a highly polished and brilliant, durable surface is desired. But when gilded furniture is not of the pure variety, a considerable amount of care and upkeep becomes absolutely necessary in order to enjoy its sheen over a longer period of time.
Here are some spot pointers that are cost, effort and time efficient and are a sure-shot way to making your gilt furniture last longer…
- Show off the pricey piece only on occasion. Due to dust and pollution, the finish generally begins to wear a dull appearance. It is best recommended to keep it covered either with a loose cover or if it is a gilt table – then with a lace cover or doily or runner, which can be easily removed on occasion.
- Establish a regular routine of polishing and shining it –best achieved with a soft muslin cloth. This will not take more than a few minutes everyday but the effects will keep on taking your breath away!!
- Just as you have your supplies of floor cleaner, liquid cleaner, washing powder, etc., keep ‘furniture oil’ handy. While cleaning, when you suddenly notice a scratch on your furniture, rub in a little oil with your duster. Polish off with a dry cloth just as you would do for a shoeshine.
- Water rings and spots are caused by moisture trapped in the finish, when wet objects are left on the furniture. Apply furniture polish on the spot and leave overnight. Wipe off the oil in the morning. With luck, the spot will be gone.
Remember while the damage is on the surface of the wood, there is no problem; but when the gilt shows signs of wear and tear, it is better to seek professional help in restoring it!