What is Archival Quality and Why Does it Matter?

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We use premium, archival quality materials on all of our wall art (you’ll also see the term “conservation grade”).

Archival products are acid-free and therefore won’t harm artwork. Wood pulp (actually the lignin in wood pulp) contains acid – and of course wood pulp is what most paper is made from. That lignin will turn yellow and degrade over time.

Take a look at the beveled edges of matboard that’s been framed for a while…often, you’ll notice that the edges are no longer crisp white. They’ve turned yellow. Not only does this look unsightly, more importantly, it’ll damage and discolor the artwork that’s touching it. That’s what happens when you don’t use archival quality matboard.

Worse, even if artwork is archival quality, if any of the materials touching it contain acid from lignin, the art will discolor and deteriorate over time.

That’s why the best fine art papers and matboard are conservation-grade and made from cotton, which contains no acid…and that’s why conservation-grade is all we use.

In addition, plexiglass affords another level of protection since it isn’t prone to condensation the way glass is. Condensation is another factor that causes problems inside frames. We finish all of our artwork with acrylic rather than glass (an extra bonus is that acrylic is shatterproof and much lighter weight – both important factors when it comes to shipping).

Have a question? Suggestion? You’re always welcome to write me directly!  rmetschke@thechristiangift.com

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