Detecting faux from authentic French antiques can be quite challenging, as there are many beautiful reproductions on the marketplace.
Antiques frequently have been repaired or have parts replaced, and so will not have the perfection found in new factory furniture. When you find an authentic piece that you j’adore, you can overlook the defects — provided that the antique is authentic to the period and an outstanding example. Here's advice to help you in your search:
The presence of nails and screws in antique French furniture should arouse suspicion, as none were used in the construction of the period. Furniture at that time was doweled and edges dovetailed. Nails or screws might indicate that a piece has been repaired.
Examine pieces from every angle as well as the insides, backs, and upside down. Antiques have a sense of smoothness that cannot be reproduced.
Study the color of the wood under a chair. Some gilded chairs were painted a yellowish color before the gesso and gold leaf were applied, which hides the original wood color.
There are natural areas of wear on pieces. Edges of tables grow smooth and slightly rounded; hand rests on armchairs show wear or old paint, feet of cupboards and chairs should show wear.
Wormholes are not always a sign of age. Unless man-made, wormholes are always pinheads of varying sizes, rather than uniform as when made by a shotgun.
In general, look at the lines of antiques, and study the furniture periods. A Louis XIV chair has a specific look, as does a table made in the Victorian era. Learn to identify and detect stylistic features. Study the shapes, lines and overall aspect of pieces.