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How can I tell a fake antique from the real thing?

The question

When shopping for antiques, how can you tell a fake from the real thing?

The answer

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It is difficult when you're shopping at a local antique market unless you are an expert who can tell the markings of the silver, the age of the wood or the period of the glass; otherwise, you are at the mercy of the dealer. The trend now is to buy at a vetted antique show, where the dealers are required to extensively label every object displayed and have binders full of backup research for serious buyers.

The best shows, such as the International Fine Art & Antiques Show in New York, have outside experts authenticate the items and verify that each is appropriately labelled and priced. When purchasing at this level, you know that you are getting the real deal. This is a great place to invest in valuable pieces – they will last a lifetime and longer.

If you are visiting country flea markets this summer, buy what you love and hope for a hidden treasure. Whatever you find, remember that the best interiors are a mix of styles – I love an antique console with modern art hung above.

Dee Dee Taylor Eustace is an architect and interior designer. Follow her on Twitter: @ddtaylordd. Have a design dilemma? E-mail style@globeandmail.com.

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