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Fine Art Restoration/cleaning a gilded metallic frame


Hi Paul, I have just bought a 50's Chaty Vallauris sunburst
mirror. The gilded metal has slight black marks .Could you
please advise me on how to clean it?

Hi Kenza,

For some reason, I've just received this question, so pardon the delay.
Are the marks on the surface, or do they appear to be below the gilding, i.e. corrosion or abrasions?  You might want to look at them with a hand-magnifier or a mini-microscope.  The latter are available from various archival materials suppliers or local electronics retailers.

If they are abrasions and/or corrosion, contact an objects conservator or frame restorer in your area to take a further look.  If the marks are surface accumulations, you can try gently removing them with non-latex cosmetic sponges available at drug stores.  Don't use any chemicals or water.  Gently clean the surface after testing a small area first.

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Paul S. Storch


I'm happy to answer questions concerning the preservation and conservation of three-dimensional archaeological, ethnographic, historic, technological, and decorative arts objects. My materials expertise includes leather, wood, metals, and composite materials.


I have close to thirty years experience as a conservator at three different museums and in private practice. I currently work as a collections manager overseeing 40,000 historic objects at over 20 sites around the state, as well as having a private treatment and consultation practice in the Midwest.

American Institute for the Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works Minnesota Association of Museums The Society for the Preservation of Natural History Collections Professional Picture Framers Association

Journal of the American Institute For Conservation Texas Archaeology University of Texas Conservation Notes Caring for American Indian Objects/Minnesota Historical Society Press The Interpreter/Minnesota Historical Society Journal of Field Archaeology

B.A. in Anthropology/Archaeology; M.A. in Anthropology/Museum Studies with a concentration in Archaeological and Ethnographic Conservation.

Awards and Honors
Recognition certificate from the Institute of Museum Services

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