We have all had it happen to us. We buy something for $50 and at some point it breaks. Should we try to repair a broken figurine our self or have a professional do it? Of course it is much cheaper to grab the glue and try the repair ourself.
I was recently viewing a beautiful crystal Swarovski panther that cost about a thousand dollars. I did not buy it. One, I did not have the money. Two, what would I do if it broke? I know myself and I would have tried to just glue it.
I bring this up so you know I am not against repairing a figurine yourself. The issue is not the price of the repair but the value of the piece after the repair. If you repair a $50 piece of crystal the most in value you will be out is the fifty. If you repair the panther yourself the reduction in value will be about a thousand dollars. Repair a broken figurine, I hope I have made my point.
You must consider why you own the figurine. Are you collecting the piece and will pass it to your children? Is it a decoration and easily replaceable? Did you receive it as a gift and like it but don’t want to spend money on it? Any of these are possible.
I know you are saying that you are an adult and would never break something worth a $1000. What if it was a gift or you inherited the item? If you have pets, children, or a clumsy spouse anything and everything will happen to your precious item. Most of us will move five or more times as an adult. Moving is very hard on the furniture and on figurines. So you are just waiting for that “oh no” moment.
Ok, repair it yourself.
Try the crazy glue. On crystal or glass use some tweezers, toothpicks, and light cotton along with some patience and luck. If you are trying to repair a Hummel as an example what do you do about matching the paint to hide the crack? Hummels are a true collectible with some dating back to 1935. I suggest the following steps:
- Get the item appraised so you know the items true value.
- Visit and arts and crafts store for the right glue and matching paint.
- Use a strong ceramic type glue.
- Use a toothpick to spread glue on the figure.
- Hold the pieces together and let them dry
- As it is drying use a toothpick to wipe off the excess glue.
- Use a fine arts paint brush and attempt to match the paint.
What about a professional repair?
I will list a number of repair and restoration companies. It is not necessary to find someone in your own town. It is acceptable to carefully pack and ship the item for first an estimate and then the repair. Make sure you have included all the parts and broken pieces. Many estimates and light repairs will cost around forty dollars. Major restorations are costly but will allow you to hold significant value in the figurine.
- Crystal Restoration, Green Cove Springs, Florida, Phone (800) 242-7945
- H.A. Eberhardt and Sons Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Phone (215) 568-4144
- Luel Restoration Studio, Brooklyn, New York, Phone (347) 673-8831
- Hamlin Restoration Studio, Ballwin, Missouri, Phone (866) 331-9673
- Crow Restoration, Sleepy Hollow, New York, Phone (914) 734-8410
If the item is valuable I suggest reviewing your homeowners insurance policy. If you have a large collection you may need a fine arts rider. In any event I suggest talking to your agent.
In conclusion, if retaining value is not an issue than try the repair yourself. If the item is valuable then a professional restorer can save you a lot of money in the long run.