A lady who loves dragonflies brought me her two damaged Tiffany lamps for repair and refurbishment. They had both been the victims of energetic grandchildren and the smaller lampshade had a big dent in the vase cap (the metal part on the top that supports the shade).
I set to work knocking out the damaged vase cap, which was tricky as there wasn’t much room to move inside. Then I started removing all the cracked and broken stained glass pieces. Sometimes it is possible to use the old pieces to make a template for the replacement glass. Otherwise it is a matter of measuring the space and carefully cutting a new piece.
Both lampshades featured dragonfly wings made of brass filigree that was coated in solder. The glass behind the filigree on the smaller lamp was undamaged, but several wings on the larger, white, Tiffany lamp had been broken. In keeping with the sparkling nature of real dragonfly wings, the original stained glass had an iridescent surface that glowed in the light. While I couldn’t match it exactly, the replacement stained glass I used had a lovely pale turquoise colour and an iridescent surface and blended in perfectly with the unbroken wings. There was certainly a lot of damage to this shade – with 26 pieces needing replacement!
The owner admitted that she had made a temporary repair to the white shade using white sticky labels. While these blended quite well from a distance, I wouldn’t recommend them as a replacement for real stained glass in the longer term.
Gradually, I removed all the cracked and broken pieces and replaced them with new glass. It was certainly quite a marathon to complete the task.
However, the end result was a pair of stronger and revived lampshades that were ready to return to their home. The owner kindly sent me photos of them (below) and commented that she was delighted with how the wings of the white shade matched so well with her newly decorated lounge.