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Removing Paint from Vintage Chandeliers & Candelabras

Q. I just purchased a Pairpoint (from New Brunswick, MA) candelabra for my sister for Christmas.

44251-1a   44251-1b  

Seller stated Art Deco. Wanting to get it looking as good as possible before gifting it to her. Seems to be painted gold. She said she wanted brass but now I'm wondering if it's even brass or gold plated. Reason being, I find like candelabras are 5x silver plated. Most importantly I'd like to know what products to use to restore the finish. Additionally, if anyone knows whether it's silver plated or gold plated; year it was produced; and or type of metal base, please advise.
Thank you.

Denise H Taylor
- Carmel, Indiana
December 13, 2023

A. Hi Denise. Yes, other Pairpoint candelabra on eBay [on eBay] seem to all be quadruple silver plated, and the term 'quadruple plated' on your piece seems to refer to silver plating as well.

But the thing is, when you buy an antique like this without provenance, no one can say what a previous owner did -- they may have painted it brass colored or gold colored, or they may have commissioned a plating shop to electroplate it with gold or brass. And it's very hard to say what something is from a photo, especially when there are no everyday objects in the photo to help judge size and tone (remember the famous photo of "the dress" which half of the internet felt was blue & black while the other half thought was gold & white).

To me, it looks like the insert with the engraving is gold plating which has partially worn away (if it were painted you would not be able to clearly read the engraving). And I can't understand how a paper label could survive any finishing process, and must assume it was removed and then re-applied.

Again, pictures can be deceiving and I am having a hard time reconciling, the flashy bright gold-tone picture of the underside of the candelabra, with the dull, muted, brass color of the topside ... sorry, but it's just difficult to guess what you have from the two photos :-(

But you can't do electroplating yourself, and you probably can't get it electroplated by Christmas. So I'd probably suggest removing any old paint that you can (using the materials and methods described on this page), then hand repainting a couple of coats with the best brass colored paint you can buy, leaving the engraving insert unpainted.

Luck & Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Striving to live Aloha - Pine Beach, New Jersey

⇩ Closely related postings, oldest first ⇩

Q. Hi,

I bought a pretty vintage French cage chandelier and some heathen has re-painted the whole frame in gold paint such that it looks kind of brand new. It is definitely old...but how do I now go about removing this horrid paint to try to get it back to something like where it would have been before...? is there any way of 'dipping' this as I can't imagine removing it all with wire wool...?


Susan Shaw
- Chester, UK

sidebar Ed. note: Hmm, is "heathen" acceptable or is it a derogatory term that we should strike from the page? :-)

thumbs up sign I vote for keeping it; when taken in the general context of the posting :-)
James Watts
- Navarre, Florida

A. Heathen: OED(2) An unenlightened person; a person regarded as lacking in taste or moral principles. Seems a perfectly good description of someone who would paint a vintage chandelier.

Susan: Visit B&Q and and ask for their advice on the paint section. You need a paint on, wash off paint stripper. (Nitromors is a good brand).
Unless the (supply your own adjective) perpetrator used an epoxy paint, these work well with a little patience.
Don't play with home brews unless you have facility to get rid of the remains when you have finished.
geoff smith
Geoff Smith
Hampshire, England

A. You can use any good proprietary paint stripper, or if you like do it yourself way, immerse it in 20% sodium hydroxide solution (if there are no soft soldered parts!,use rubber gloves [on eBay or Amazon] and safety goggles [on eBay or Amazon]). Ammoniated acetone [on eBay or Amazon] can be useful too. Hope it helps and good luck!

Goran Budija
- Cerovski vrh Croatia

Removing brass paint from a gold plated chandelier

Q. I have a beautiful fine crystal chandelier, the metal is gold plated. Someone who was supposed to clean the chandelier instead spray painted dull brass paint over all the gold. Is there any way that I can now remove that sprayed paint and keep the gold undamaged. I have had this chandelier for 45 years and it was in pristine condition. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Lily

Lily Flacks
- Toronto, Ontario, Canada
May 2, 2018

A. Hi Lily. Organic paint strippers do not hurt metal, so the previous advice should be fine. Try mineral spirits [on eBay or Amazon] first; if that doesn't work, Aircraft Stripper almost surely will. But aircraft stripper (methylene chloride) is truly noxious stuff and, in addition to the previous warnings and suggestions about chemical gloves and goggles, you'll only want to do it outside, standing upwind, and with no children or pets about.

pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Striving to live Aloha - Pine Beach, New Jersey

thumbs up sign I do agree methylene chloride is noxious whereas a few paint strippers in the market are way more toxic and hard to handle that evaporate at a snap. Looking forward to a more effective way to remove the paint from metal (G.I, Al, S.S) at lower cost.

balentine stone
November 21, 2022

Ed. note: Welcome! and please feel free to read everything here anonymously; we have a great search engine for that ...
But this isn't a consulting service -- it's a community with a 30-year legacy of aloha incompatible with anonymity; please don't post without your real name :-)

A. Hi Balentine. Airlines and bathtub refitters would not use drums of that toxic stuff if there was -- in general -- a "more effective way to remove the paint from metal". Nor would dozens of different products, methods, and services be available if one was best.

Please name what it is that you want to strip and in what volume (a couple for personal use, or thousands in your factory), and then people may be able to suggest the most effective method/product. Thanks! Luck & Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Striving to live Aloha - Pine Beach, New Jersey

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