Words have the power to define anything and everything, well… at least to an extent. And as decor enthusiasts and antique aficionados, some terms often go over our heads, don’t they? Burlap, Ogee, alcoves and patinas… all things reminiscent of the new design magazine on the coffee table, meaning very little to us in the reality of everyday chores.
But should they mean anything to us? For starters, it wouldn’t lessen our love for design and antiques. And in the long run, we would actually be able to differentiate between the smallest of details, making us better at dealing with our passion projects.
So here are a 5 design and antique words to familiarize yourselves with, right before setting that vase down.
This might come as a surprise to most given that it is a loosely used word, but what is it that makes an antique? If you guessed age, you’re right. However, do you know that a piece must be at least a century old to be considered an antique? An antique is defined as an item that is a hundred or more years old.
Often mistaken for ‘antique’, vintage is probably a word you would use to define what your mother has purchased and passed down to you. A vintage item could refer to a quality item from the past that is recognized for its aesthetic appeal, its age, or even its history.
Vintage decor often encompasses elements such as vintage ephemera (notes, prints, etc), vintage decor items such as items that have been handed down or purchased from collectors or even a theme that is artificially incorporated into space.
Provenance is referred to as the record of ownership of an item, usually antiques and vintage products. Most antique collectors find out details of procurement such as region and age and only then do they proceed with the purchase of the collectable. The provenance of a piece is not mentioned at times due to lack of clarity, which could be a result of the improper relay of information before the previous exchange of hands.
Heirlooms are items and artefacts that have been passed down for generations within the family. It is likely that familial heirlooms are antiques, especially jewellery, paintings or kitchen vessels. Heirlooms from estates and ancestral homes are often valued at higher prices as they are retained within the family for a century or more.
A patina is a thin film that accumulates over metal artefacts, wooden pieces or even leather. Antiques are often valued on the extent of patination as well, provided that it is naturally formed. Patinas take time to form over metals and happen when the metals are subjected to oxidation over time.
To learn more about patinas and their safety for daily use items, check out our article Patina On Vessels And Artefacts: Is it Good?
And there you go! These were the top 5 terms we think you need to know to navigate the world of vintage artefacts. Armed with this newfound wisdom, it’s time to become an expert relic hunter! Don’t worry if it’s not your cup of tea, these terms will at least help you get the upper hand when dealing with and handling antiquity.
Feel like we missed some? Let us know in the comment section below!
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