Golberg Restoration Co.



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Tortoise shell objects conservation and restoration.

Utilizing time-proven techniques together with traditional and new-age advanced materials, we have developed a new and unique technology which allows us to safely recover the original beauty of work, dirty, and damaged artworks carved from turtle shell.

We offer all types or restoration work, including:

  • Cleaning
  • Bonding
  • Recreation of missing elements, including matching original color and pattern.

Below is an example of proper and safe cleaning of turtle shell. The picture on the left shows how dirty and dull the turtle shell object has become. In the middle, we had cleaned only one half of the mirror as an illustration of the proper restoration technique. The picture on the right shows the whole mirror cleaned, polished, and brought back to its original luster. Note, this is proper cleaning and does not involve "lacquering over" dirty turtle shell.

Tortoise shell - dirty     Tortoise shell - being cleaned     Tortoise shell - cleaning is obvious


Tortoise shell artifacts are semi transparent with brown, red, blond yellow, and amber color are polished to magnificent luster. The final result is half opaque, half translucent. Tortoise shell has traditionally been used in objects such as combs, brushes, musical instruments, inlay for furniture (including Boulle), trays, boxes, decoration for gold and silver artpieces, snuff and tobacco boxes, card cases, cane heads, tea caddies and jewelry. Such complex media requires utmost care to preserve.

Proper restoration of these objects should be done utilizing "museum quality" restoration technique.


Please refer to the article pertaining to care of tortoise shell objects.


Tortoise shell gets dull with time. While a common method to "restore" dirty and dull turtoise shell objects is to cover it in shiny lacquer, there is a clear disadvantage to this method as this is not a "museum quality" conservation. Rather, this methodology does harm the object as the tortoise shell becomes covered in a foreign object which can be difficult to remove. The applied laquer can be scratched or otherwise damaged, thus negating any benefits from this method. Finaly, to a trained eye, this technique does not bring back the beautiful luster of the polished turtle shell.

Our methodology emphasizes preservation of original artwork without doing any harm to the original object. We knew we had to find a better method to bring back dirty and dull tortise shell back to its original luster, while preserving the object. We have developed technique to safely clean and polish damaged tortle shell which does not involve covering the object in lacquer. Our methodology is far superior as it safely restores damaged objects to their original condition.

In addition to cleaning, we offer bonding together broken turtle shell objects, as well as recreation of missing elements.

Prior to restoration During restoration After restoration - perfect!
Turtle shell box - damaged Center section is cleaned. Turtle shell box - cleaned and restored to original condition
Turtle shell box - damaged Cleaned and polished right half. Turtle shell box - cleaned and restored to original condition
Turtle shell box detail - broken and dirty Turtle shell box detail - partially cleaned Turtle shell box - cleaned and restored to original condition Picture will be uploaded soon

Please call, e-mail,or write our office, or follow this link for additional information to place an order.

1484 ½ S. Robertson Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90035
(310)248-2608

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