Avoid extreme changes in atmosphere: Extreme heat, cold or humidity might change the color of the surface of the bronze, called the patina. Cracks in the bronze might even appear as the metal expands and contracts.
Stick to Dusting: Bronzes do not usually need cleaning, apart from dusting with a soft cloth or vacuuming. If necessary, you can spot wash a dirty section with mild soap and distilled water but do so with extreme caution. Avoid abrading the surface by using any cleaners that remove the color or scrape the patina. If left alone, the surface patina will age nicely, adding to the piece’s value.
If unsure, consult a professional: If you observe any serious changes in the patina or need any repairs, call a professional. Fixing them on your own will reduce their value.
Ceramics & Glass
Rule of thumb: no liquids. Try to avoid putting liquid in your glass pieces. If you do choose to put a liquid into your glass piece, do not put extremely hot or cold liquids as it may cause the glass to crack. Also, do not leave the liquid in for a long period of time as it may leave a stain.
When cleaning your ceramic and glass objects, never fully immerse in water or put in a dishwasher. Strong items can be washed gently (if necessary) in lukewarm water with a bit of gentle dish soap and a soft rag and then let it air dry. If the structure is not strong or you are unsure of its structure, gently wipe with a damp cloth.
Avoid metal prongs for ceramics’ display: They can damage the surface of your ceramic piece over time.
Have a secure display: Select a location that is safe from rattling and bumping. An area without direct sunlight is ideal.
When moving your glass or ceramic pieces: Try to grasp the whole piece firmly and carefully by the base and not by a small protruding detail as it may break off.
If a piece breaks: Collect all the pieces possible without scrapping them together and take your broken or chipped pieces to a professional for repair. A conservator will be able to tell you if your piece is salvageable and will let you know what kind of repair costs and results you can expect. Fixing them on your own will reduce their value.
Storing silver: Silver is best wrapped in dry, acid-free tissue paper and placed inside cotton or tarn-proof bags. Lacquered silver can be stored without special protection. However, covering each piece with acid-free tissue paper will protect items from dust.
The less you clean the better: Silver should be cleaned as little as possible because of the abrasive nature of polish.
When cleaning silver: Silver dip and silver polish can remove the dull, gray or black film tarnish that occurs over time. Silver polish leaves a protective layer on the item’s surface, providing a more long-term solution. Make sure you are using a solution that is specific for silver and not other materials. Hot soapy water is also an option, as long as you have a soft cloth specially made for silver to bud and dry the object. Never put silver in the dishwasher.
Use the right tools – when using silver dip, apply it to larger items with cotton wool and then dry the pieces with a soft linen tea towel followed by polishing it with a silver cloth. Use a hog’s hairbrush or cotton bud when applying silver dip to small objects; a toothbrush or household paintbrush is too abrasive.
Rest the silver item in your hand as you clean it and work in a gentle circular motion. It is best to wear cotton gloves so as not to leave fingerprints, which contain potentially damaging acids.
Reduce tarnish by drying multiple times: After drying with a soft linen cloth, the silver should be dried again. Silver can be placed in a drying cabinet at 50-60°C for 15-30 minutes. If the item does not have handles or other fittings of wood or ivory you can dry it using a hair dryer kept at least 15cm away from the silver.
Silver Tableware: When using silver tableware, clean it relatively soon after they come in contact with the following foods: eggs, brussels sprouts, vinegar and salt. These foods will tarnish the material very quickly.