What would you do if your precious ceramic item was broken into many pieces? That was a question faced by one of our recent clients when a vintage cigar ashtray was accidentally damaged. Instead of being one complete intact ashtray as it had been moments earlier, it was now broken into 10 jagged pieces. Quite understandably our client wanted to try and repair the ashtray as quickly as possible at home.

Rallye Monte Carlo ceramic ashtray before and after restoration following a breakage

Although this idea, unfortunately, didn’t go quite according to plan. Our client had attempted to repair the ashtray with epoxy to glue the pieces back together, leading to it seeping out of the sides where the pieces should re-join.

Luckily, our client was able to gather all of the broken pieces so no new substantial pieces would need to be created. Once the ashtray arrived in the studio, our ceramic conservator first removed the epoxy and disassembled the ashtray. The below picture was taken by our client after gathering all of the broken pieces. The ashtray has the logo for the ‘Rallye Monte Carlo’, a rallying event taking place each year in Monaco.

Once we had carefully reversed the glued sections, we cleaned each of the ten parts to remove all residual traces of the epoxy and then to remove any contaminants and ensure no dirt was trapped in the joins. The broken pieces were then re-adhered securely back together, with only minor missing fragments needing to be re-created.

Minor pigment match and retouching were also required on the logo of the ashtray, where the broken pieces split through. With the ashtray being mostly pure white, the results of this seamless restoration speaks for itself.

There are no marks or crack left on the ashtray – achieving a result where it looks as if no damage ever occurred is always our objective. Our client was delighted with the result, and gave us some fantastic feedback; ‘Absolutely wonderful! Thank you so much, it looks new! The end result of the project far exceeded my expectations.’

We were very pleased to restore such a unique item, and allow it to be safely enjoyed at home once again. For further insight into the restoration of ceramics, you can read our advice on how to deal with a breakage, learn more about the ceramic restoration process, or contact us if you would like our recommendations and a quote for your own items.