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Protecting our futures by recycling our past

At Click Antiques and Vintage we passionately believe in promoting the environmental advantages of buying antiques, undoubtedly the most sustainable sector of the retail trade. What other industry keeps the items they sell in constant circulation? Antiques have been eco-friendly long before the word recycling existed.

Many of us try and incorporate more sustainable ways to live and reduce our carbon footprint. We try to shop locally, recycle, drive electric cars and insulate our homes. But fewer people consider the environment when choosing home furnishings.

Buying a new chest of drawers is estimated to create a carbon footprint 16 times larger than buying the classic antique equivalent. This was determined by factors such as where the raw materials were sourced, where it was manufactured and transportation to its final destination and its durability.

The life expectancy of a new chest of drawers is 15 years, a sofa 7 years. Compare that to a 180 year old antique chest and it becomes obvious which one was built to last. Shockingly, 10 million items of furniture get thrown away in the UK each year.

Antiques don’t have to be expensive, in fact, there are some real bargains out there. Even in cases where you pay slightly more for solid oak versus modern veneered chipboard, you will be living with a piece that will likely increase in value rather than depreciate. When you look at the sometimes rare materials, the lost skills of the craftsmen who built them, the individuality of each piece, it’s hardly surprising.

Buying antique furniture does come with another added benefit - you don’t have to assemble it yourself!

Modern furniture is more likely to go out of vogue and stay that way. Even if it does come back into fashion, by the time it does, it’s likely to have fallen apart. If you invest in unique and timeless pieces you’ll have something proven to last and a truly individual home.

How can you make your home more green without it costing the Earth? Next time you are looking to buy something new for your home, think old, invest in antiques and our future.

Antiques are Green

Antiques are Green

1. Introduction

When you think of antiques, you might think of your grandmother’s old china cabinet or that dusty old mirror that’s been in your family for generations. But what you might not realize is that antiques are actually a form of recycling.

In a world where we are constantly being bombarded with messages to recycle, reduce, and reuse, it’s important to remember that antiques are a great way to do just that. By definition, an antique is a piece of furniture or object that is at least 100 years old.

This means that when you buy an antique, you are actually recycling a piece of history. Not only are you giving new life to a piece that would otherwise be forgotten, but you are also helping to preserve our collective history

2. What's the big deal with antiques and vintage items?

The big deal with antiques and vintage items is that they tell the stories of generations past. They are a reminder of a simpler time and often remind us of how far we have come in terms of technology, fashion, lifestyle, and more.

By buying antiques, we are essentially preserving these stories and passing them on for others to learn from for generations to come. From one-of-a-kind pieces such as furniture and art to collectibles and classic items, antiques and vintage items are a great way to add character to your home and to share stories with future generations.

The great thing about antiques and vintage items is that they can often be taken apart and used in new and creative ways. From the old wooden ladder you found in your attic transformed into a coat rack to the kitchen cabinets you uncovered at a flea market, finding ways to repurpose these items is a great way to go green and to inject a bit of nostalgia into your home.

Remember, antiques are not just a form of recycling—they are a way to bring character and history into your home in a unique and meaningful way.

3. The eco-friendly factor

One of the most compelling reasons to buy antiques and vintage items is the eco-friendly factor. By purchasing antiques, you are essentially decreasing the demand for factory-produced, mass-produced items and reducing the strain on natural resources.

Antiques and vintage items require little to no new material, unlike modern pieces that require raw materials. Buying antiques helps reduce the demand for raw materials, since the pieces that are used to create the item have already been produced. As antiques and vintage items can often be taken apart and reused in creative ways, they are a great way to reduce your environmental footprint.

In addition, buying antiques also reduces energy consumption. Since they require little to no assembly, they don’t require energy to be used in production. And when you repurpose the pieces you find, you are essentially reusing energy that already exists and cutting down on energy consumption.

When you choose to buy antiques, you are essentially choosing to invest in a piece that has already been made and reducing your environmental footprint. So when you’re looking to go green, look no further than your nearest antiques store—it’s the perfect solution!

4. Why this is important

Purchasing antiques is important in many ways, but one of the most important is that it helps the environment. By investing in antiques and vintage items, you are helping to reduce the strain on natural resources, reduce energy consumption, and prevent the production of new materials.

Not only does this reduce the overall strain on natural resources and energy, but it also helps to reduce the carbon footprint of production. Antiques generally require little to no assembly and therefore does not require any additional energy for production. And, when these pieces are repurposed and reused, it helps to further reduce the strain on natural resources.

In addition, investing in antiques helps to make the world more sustainable. Since antiques last much longer than modern pieces, you are helping to create a more secure and long-term economic impact. And, by helping to preserve antiques, you are also helping to preserve our cultural heritage.

Finally, purchasing antiques and vintage items also helps to stimulate the economy. By investing in these pieces, you are helping to support local businesses who sell the antiques and vintage items. Additionally, the funds you spend on the antiques are put to use buying more pieces, allowing businesses to grow and creating more job opportunities.

5. How to get involved

Antiques and vintage items can be found in a variety of places, from antique stores and flea markets to online auctions and vintage stores. But, you’ll want to make sure that you are purchasing from reputable sellers. Here are a few steps to take to ensure that your antiques and vintage items are purchased from credible sellers:

- Research the seller. Make sure the seller is reputable by reading customer reviews and searching for further information about them.

- Ask questions. Before making your purchase, ask the seller questions about the piece and shipping.

- Check the condition. Inspect the item closely to make sure that it is in good condition and free of any major damages or defects.

- Buy from certified dealers. If you’re buying online, look for dealers who are certified or have some sort of seal of approval to guarantee the authenticity of their pieces.

By taking these steps, you can make sure that you are purchasing quality pieces at a fair price. Additionally, you’ll be supporting the economy and maintaining the cultural heritage of our society.

6. In conclusion

As the demand for sustainable goods and services continues to grow, more people are turning to antiques and vintage items as a way to reduce their carbon footprint and support sustainable consumption practices. Placing a renewed focus on sustainability and the shared heritage of mankind, antique and vintage items provide consumers with an opportunity to support the sustainable consumption of goods and services.

At the same time, antique and vintage goods can help to preserve the environment and reduce waste. Rather than buying new goods and having them manufactured from new raw materials, buying antique and vintage items helps to eliminate the need for additional resources, which greatly reduces the amount of pollution in the environment.

By incorporating antique and vintage items into your lifestyle, you can enjoy stylish, unique and sustainable goods, while simultaneously maintaining the shared heritage of mankind, and protecting our environment.

Bringing antiques into a contemporary home

With 2022 behind us, many are thinking about changing the look of our living spaces. In these times of watching every penny, it might be something you’ve considered putting off, however, incredible character can be achieved on a small budget. 

Try looking at tucked away inherited pieces in a different light or visit your local vintage shop. Antique prices are at their lowest since the 1930s, so it’s a good time to snap up a bargain.

A lot of people seem daunted about bringing antique or vintage furniture into a home that is predominantly contemporary. In this piece we talk you through a fewtips and tricks to make it work.

If you are feeling bold, take the leap by obtaining a statement piece such as a chiffonier or a big oak dining table. They will create a focal point in the room and add some individuality to your living space.  

If you’re a bit more cautious in your approach, antique accents work just as well. A chair, a stool, a pair of end tables or a big rug are all great starting points and can be easily added to in the future.

The key to pulling the look together is by adding smaller antique features elsewhere in the room, such as mirrors, lamp tables, lighting or ornaments. Don’t put your old and new in separate groups - mixing it up is a lovely way to enjoy the things you’ve purchased or inherited.

Colour is also a great way to unify a look. Choosing a palette of one or two strong colours adds cohesion. This doesn’t necessarily mean redecorating, it can be achieved with reupholstering, adding cushions or throws, rugs, artwork or some colourful glass pieces.

Antiques can add drama into even the smallest contemporary room. Be brave and break away from the identikit formula we’ve seen so much of over the last two decades. 

In the words of Interior Designer, Erin Williamson : "A home should be a collection of things you love and find meaningful, not a catalogue of coordinated furniture."

Antiques: Commonly Used Terminology

When wandering around antiques & Vintage shops and emporiums such as ourselves, you’ll see or hear various words and phrases associated with the antique and vintage industry. This months editorial is designed to give you the buyer, an insight into what these often confusing words mean. Whole books have been written on the subject, this small glossary is designed to give you an overview of the main phrases and a start point for further research should you wish to delve a bit deeper.

Antique – This word is a basic but often mis-attributed term. An antique is officially an item which is 100 years old or older. Anything less than 100 years old is not an antique.

Vintage – Unlike antique, there is no official definition for the term ‘vintage’. It is very much a case of buyer beware. We have seen items as young as 10 years old labelled as vintage. Here at Click Antiques & Vintage, we define vintage as any item between 50 and 100 years old.

Retro – As with vintage, there is no official definition for retro, although it is broadly taken to mean any item from the late 1970s to the 2000s. We define retro as items between 10 and 50 years old.

As Found (A/F) – This is predominantly seen on price tickets around antique & vintage outlets. This indicates there is a flaw with the item and therefore needs closer inspection.

Hallmarks – This is the labelling system used to label solid silver, gold & platinum. They are used to verify items are precious metals and not silver plate or gold plate. They also show where it was tested and what year it was tested. Different countries have different systems., but the British hallmarking system is arguably the most comprehensive.

Silver plate – This refers to silver looking items which are constructed of a base metal (copper, brass etc..), they are then given a thin coating of silver. These items were made to look like solid silver but without the cost. They carry marks such as EP, EPNS. EPBM or A1. The same applies to gold plate only you'll see Rolleed Gold or Gold Plated as descriptors.

Silver Gilt – This is an item, usually jewellery, which is constructed of solid silver and is thinly coated in gold. It looks like gold but without the gold price.

Treen – Usually refers to small domestic wooden objects such as egg cups, boxes etc…

Marquetry – Ornamental wood designs where veneers of wood are used to create floral, landscapes and other designs.

Parquetry – Similar to marquetry, but using geometric designs for decoration rather than pictures.

Chinoiserie – A term used to describe European adaptations of oriental designs and decorations. An item labelled as chinoiserie may look from the Far East but they are actually crafted closer to home.

Flatware – This is the term used to describe items such as knives, forks & spoons. Also known as tableware.

We hope we’ve given you a brief insight into the terminology used within our industry and furnished you with some useful information for next time you’re out seeking treasure. 

Everyone here at Click Antiques & Vintage wish you well and happy hunting.