One of the things that bug me about indie low budget flicks is that there is never any consideration taken when it comes to weathering props.
One of the best illusion-based tricks to creating a great prop is to give an item a bit of a worn look to it. This is especially needed when it comes from ancient artifacts. But the same principles can be used in costuming as well.
Here is a nifty site that gives some basic pointers to get one started in weathering props, and here is another great site that shows you why doing something as simple as that can make a fantastic prop look way-way more believable.