Age alone doesn't make lace valuable. There must be a certain level of design, workmanship and rarity. It takes a lot of work and study to find the good stuff. It's much easier with other collecting categories, say, if there's a hallmark on the bottom of a vase. With lace, you have to become reasonably knowledgeable and trust your own judgment. Chatelaine's Antiques Collectibles Appraisals

 

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Chatelaine's Antiques & Appraisals MagazineCollectibles > Feature: Stitching Together A Lace Collection
 


Introduction to lace collecting

Handmade or machine-made lace

The market for lace collecting

Care and storage of lace

Cleaning Linen

 
Stitching Together a Lace Collection

Getting Started in Lace Collecting
Age alone doesn't make lace valuable. There must be a certain level of design, workmanship and rarity.

Art Nouveau lace dress
Art Nouveau lace dress

 It takes a lot of work and study to find the good stuff.

 It's much easier with other collecting categories, say, if there's a hallmark on the bottom of a vase.

 With lace, you have to become reasonably knowledgeable and trust your own judgment.

Some pointers:
  • Become familiar with the differences between common and rare lace. Before you start buying, look at a lot of lace. Go to auctions, museums, historic homes, vintage clothing stores, and shows; look in the linen departments of dime and department stores to see what's being made today, what's ordinary and easy to make.
  • Examine lace with a good magnifying glass to see the level of technique and workmanship.
  • Look for how the individual threads form the design, similar to the lines of an engraving. With really good lace, each individual thread matters; in a leaf-and-floral design, the threads will define the shape of the leaf just like the veining on a real leaf. In machine-made lace you'll find space filled up with webs of thread.
  • Don't assume that a perfectly uniform piece is machine made; while machines do create uniformity, hand lace-makers could be more "perfect" than machines, precisely defining and repeating a design.
  • If you find a box or bag of old lace, look at each piece carefully. Don't disregard the condition, but realize things can be washed and come out really beautiful.
  • Animals and figures always add value; another rare and collectible area is Art Nouveau, which often combines novel techniques with exquisite design. Late 19th century Chinese-made drawn, open work lace created by making holes in fabric and embroidering them is a genre where collectors can pick up bargains.
  • Kurella's A Guide to Lace and Linens is a valuable reference. She reveals how to determine machine versus handmade lace, and includes a price and value section. Kurella uses a star system to classify lace, and includes a list of experts to help determine value.



Guide to Lace and Linens
by Elizabeth Kurella

 


 

 

Guide to Lace and Linens
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