All in the Details

All in the Details

When it comes to Antiques there are so many elements that make a piece unique. The common definition of an antique is a collectible object such as a piece of furniture or work of art that has a high value because of its considerable age, yet it does in fact vary depending on the source, product, and year. We have a number of different Antiques in our showroom and all of them have something interesting about them.

Antiques are usually objects that show some degree of craftsmanship, collectability, or a certain attention to design. It’s these details that make them so desirable.

Look at the Joints:

The joinery of a piece is a sure sign of its quality and age. Dovetail joints are the most common joint in antiques. They are strong and require skill to produce, so they’re generally a sign of a well-made piece. Hand-cut dovetails can also date an older American piece to before 1890.  Not only are they strong but they’re also a beautiful detail.

Start with the Feet:

There are a number of foot styles developed over the years from Europe and the United States from the Renaissance to the Empire periods. All are distinctive and can tell you the age of your piece. Use them as a starting point and one possible indicator of age rather than making a conclusion based only on the foot style.

Materials & Hardware:

Look at the backside of your piece, including the insides and backs of drawers if applicable. Solid wood backing indicates a piece is likely pre-1880s; plywood came into vogue around the turn of the 20th century. Antiques are sturdy pieces and usually well made.

Look for Original Hardware:

Does the piece have its original hardware? What style is it? Solid cast-brass or wooden pulls mean the piece is likely old; using a collectibles reference guide, you can identify their style and hence their age range. Common style examples are Chippendale, Sheraton, Federal, Depression-era, Victorian, and Queen Anne.

The Art of Inlay:

While not used in all antiques marquetry, veneer, and inlay are all great markers of traditional furniture. Detailed marquetry, patterns and pictorial designs built up from a variety of different woods or inlay, which achieved a similar effect using pieces of tortoiseshell, mother of pearl, ivory and ebony are a beautiful addition to an antique