Everything You Need to Know About Porcelain Restoration

What do you do when a ceramic piece, an heirloom or a piece of art is shattered into pieces? Logic dictates that you simply pick up the pieces, clear away the mess and move on. However this is easier said than done. Many pieces hold a lot of sentimental value to us and letting go may deem to be too difficult. Luckily there is a way to restore porcelain and repair antique china pieces.

Many believe that all is lost when it comes to repairing and restoring china and porcelain pieces, but that is not the case at all. There are plenty of experts in the field of restoration and repairing of your antique porcelain valuables. These experts specialize in various repair and restoration techniques such as invisible repair, museum restoration, or partial repair (gluing and bonding the broken pieces, sculpting additional fragments but without airbrushing and glazing, which are important steps in invisible repair.) This is a porcelain restoration exercise where the broken pieces of china are augmented together with no attempt being made to mask the cracks or at times gaping holes on the surface of the porcelain. A good example of such a repair job can be seen in the ‘broken pots’ that one looks at in museums.

Invisible Porcelain Restoration

In this repair job, all efforts are made to ensure that cracks are masked and in addition, that colors, designs and prints are replicated on the item. When invisible porcelain restoration has taken place, it should be impossible to tell with the naked eye that the item had been broken or damaged. Invisible repair is by far the most expensive and time consuming repair job for porcelain restoration purposes.

Museum Quality Porcelain Restoration

The invisible repair route is a complete porcelain restoration process as opposed to museum quality, which involves sculpting, gluing and bonding using the conservation method, but does not mask hairline cracks or discolorations in order to show that the work of art has been damaged and how.

Partial Porcelain Restoration

A partial repair job involves joining back the broken pieces or fragments using glue and bonding materials. The distinction between a partial repair and an invisible repair is that a partial repair fails to mask the cracks of a given ceramic piece.

These three methods are the basis of the foundation of most antique china repair jobs as well as for porcelain restore projects.

Consulting a porcelain restoration expert who has years of experience in the field and who has a portfolio of previous restoration work is imperative because restoring and repairing of ceramics is a highly skilled task. Always collect all pieces of the porcelain that has been damaged and store them in a box or plastic bag. Do not attempt to glue or bond the broken pieces yourself; it will cost you more money to restore the damaged item professionally if you do.  A consultation with the expert will be able to guide you in the degree of repair work or porcelain restoration that needs to be done.

Typically a repair job will depend on the nature and circumstances of the item. At Luel Restoration Studio the process takes between three and four week, unless the damage is very severe. It’s always best to discuss costs with the restorer before any work is undertaken and also be prepared to pay for shipping charges in the event that you are dealing with an out of town expert. With much expert advice and skills available today, do not be disheartened if your precious antique china and porcelain are cracked or broken, help is always there.


  1. John. C. McNamara says:

    Love your site. I’ve been looking for a ceramic restorer in Michigan but can’t find anyone locally. I’ll email you some photos of the doll I would like you to restore.
    Thank you.

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