As a collector, it is important to fully understand the quality and condition of your objet d’art prior to making a purchase. Both quality and condition directly contribute to value, and a black light is a great tool to use on fine art, antiques, collectibles and other objects of curiosity. Overall, contemporary paints and repairs become evident under black light, and it is a fairly simple method to put into practice, requiring only a black light (either big or small) and a dark room. Note that the use of the black light should also be fortified with additional research, and in many cases, a professional should be consulted. Be careful not to over expose your fine art and collectibles to ultraviolet light.
Paintings: A black light can be used to inspect paintings for touch-ups and repairs. Tiny cracks in oil paintings will also show under ultraviolet light, and illegible signatures can often be deciphered.
Glass: The uranium oxide in collectible Depression and Vaseline glass will glow under a black light. American colorless pressed glass made before 1930 is said to fluoresce with a yellow tint, where as reproductions in most cases will not. It has been said by various professionals that American brilliant cut glass also casts a yellow hue under ultraviolet light (see image). Others say it glows in a pale violet or blue hue. Because of the difference in opinions, it is important to follow up with additional research to ensure authenticity.
Documents & Manuscripts: Chemical bleaches and dyes used in modern documents and manuscripts will also glow under the black light.
Antique Toys: Cast iron was used to make many early 20th century toys. In order to determine if the toy is a modern replica or not, use a black light to check and see if the paint glows. If it does, then the toy is a modern replica.
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MIR Appraisal Services, Inc. is a fine art and personal property appraisal company dedicated to serving clients throughout the United States and abroad since our incorporation in Chicago in 1994. We specialize in the multi-faceted field of appraising fine art, jewelry, antiques, and decorative items. We also provide professional fine art restoration and conservation treatment for various media, including but not limited to, artworks on canvas, board, masonite, and paper.
We offer professional and precise appraisal services carried out by our team of accredited appraisers for the purposes of insurance coverage and claims, charitable donations, estate planning and probate, equitable distribution and fair-market value.
We started our art commentary blog site as a venue for colleagues and fellow art enthusiasts to share their experiences within the art community.