Porcelain/Pottery Tips

Read these 15 Porcelain/Pottery Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Antique tips and hundreds of other topics.

Porcelain/Pottery Tips has been rated 3.1 out of 5 based on 590 ratings and 2 user reviews.
What is the definition for Porcelain and Pottery?


Ceramic from the Greek word "keramos" meaning clay, is the generic term for all items made from clay and fired in a kiln. Depending on the type of clay, which other elements have been mixed with it and the temperature at which it was fired, the end result may be referred to as porcelain, pottery or stoneware. There are then further terms used to distinquish different types including hard paste and soft paste porcelain, bone china, biscuit, earthenware and creamware. The word "china" is not therefore used in the field of antiques except for bone china, which is a hard paste porcelain mixed with animal bone ash to make it whiter.

What is the best way to display my Porcelain?


Valuable and delicate pieces are best displayed in a cabinet in which the shelves should be stable to avoid vibration. It's helpful to place items on a felt or chamois pad cut to fit the base which will also protect the shelf or piece of furniture beneath.

How should I pick up my porcelain?


Always pick up an item by the body, avoiding an extremity, such as a handle, spout or head. Support the base and be careful of loose parts, such as lids.

How can I remove stains from my porcelain pieces?

Stain Removal

Some stains on porcelain can be removed by applying cotton wool swabs soaked in a solution of 20-volume hydrogen peroxide and a few drops of ammonia. The swabs should be left in position for an hour or two, but not allowed to dry out. Place the object in a plastic bag to retain the moisture and check from time to time to see if the swabs need re-soaking. This solution should not be applied to pieces with a gilt or lustre decoration. Never be tempted to soak stained pieces in household bleach, as this may give a good result initially but will eventually lead to yellowing. Calgon, however, is safe for soaking appropriate pieces.

What is the best way to clean my Porcelain?


Remove dirt and dust from any decorative piece with a dry artists paintbrush before washing. Provided they are unrestored, glazed ceramics can be safely washed in warm water with a little washing-up liquid using a soft brush to coax dirt from crevices, but never use abrasive cleaners or put antique pieces in the dishwasher. When washing, protect the pieces by laying a towel or sponge at the bottom of the, preferably plastic basin or stand one piece at a time on the draining board and wash gently with a soft brush dipped in water with washing-up liquid. Rinse well and leave to dry on a clean towel. A warm hairdryer can be useful for drying intricate items.

How can I find repairs done on porcelain or pottery?

Looking for Damage before you Buy

Looking for damage and repair on pottery or porcelain:

Run your fingertips over the edge of a plate while looking for chips but closing your eyes as you do this. It's amazing how well your fingers can see.

Bring a magnifying glass with you.

Examine a piece in daylight. Repairs are more likely to show up better in true light.

Tap lightly with your nail or pen over edges or spouts etc. A dull thunk instead of a clink will reveal a crack or repair.

Don't assume the seller will be aware of repairs. Check yourself to be sure.

What is the history of Roseville Pottery?


In 1892 George F. Young founded the Roseville Pottery Company in Zanesville, Ohio. The first pieces of Roseville Potter were made in 1900 under the name, "Rozane" or "Rozane Ware." Rozane Ware had highly glossed browns and blues with hand-painted animals, Indians, nature scenes and portraits. This hardly resembles the image most modern day collectors associate with the classic "Roseville" look.

In the late teens and early 1920's Rozane Ware started a new line called Rosecraft. The patterns in this line included Black colors, Vintage, Blended and the much sought after Hexagon. Rosecraft is said to be the precursor of the distinctive style of the Roseville line.

In 1926 George Young's son, Russell T. Young, took over the company and with his sense of style and refined taste he gave birth to what is known as Roseville Pottery.

Where can I find a replacement for my china set?


Need to replace the irreplaceable? Replacements has the world's largest selection of new and old china, crystal, silver and collectibles. Replace broken or missing pieces to make your set complete again or add to a collection. They also do silver restoration, have a bridal registry and you can also sell pieces to them.


Is Fiestaware plate color red safe?

Fiestaware Facts

An interesting fact about the original red plates; the ingredient in the glaze that makes it turn red upon firing is uranium, which is radioactive. At the time it wasn't a problem. The red color was so popular that other manufacturers added uranium red to their own lines. The color was discontinued between 1943-1959 because the Government banned the use of uranium oxide for another purpose-the development of the atomic bomb.

In 1994 it was determined that the red pieces were leaking radon gas through cracks in the glaze at levels that are seven times higher than is considered safe. So it is probably best to stay away from those red plates, but only those made before 1972. After that they started to use other ingredients to achieve that vibrant red.

What is the history of Fiestaware?

History of Fiestaware

History of Fiestaware:

The Laughlin Brothers Pottery was founded in 1871 by brothers Homer and Shakespeare. First specializing in whiteware and placing top honors in 1876 at the Centennial Exhibit in Philadelphia. Shakespeare withdrew from the Company in 1877 and Homer renamed it Laughlin Pottery and then the Homer Laughlin China Company, as it is known today. He retired in 1877 and sold it to his bookeeper William Edwin Wells and a Pittsburgh family named Aaron and even today the company is still owned and run by members of these families.

The company made a splash in 1936 when the Fiesta-line was launched and exhibited at the Pittsburgh Pottery and Glass Show. Designed by the company art director, well known English potter, Frederick Rhead.

What are the early colors of Fiestaware?

Colors of Fiestaware

In the beginning, the line of Fiestaware included 55 pieces issued in six original colors: ivory, yellow, medium green, red and colbalt blue with turquoise being added in 1937. Between then and 1951 five more colors were added: grey and light green in 1943, then rose, chartreuse and forest green in 1951. These early colors are considered the most valuable. The company tried to update the colors in 1969 to a more earthly palette and altered the look slightly, calling it "Fiesta Ironstone", but after four years the endeavor flopped. The Fiestaware line was discontinued in 1973.

Can I place flowers in my antique pottery or porcelain?

Extra Protection

If you want to use antique pottery or porcelain for cut flowers or plants, place a separate container inside the antique piece with a protective pad between the two.

What pieces of Fiestaware are valuable?

General Guidelines of Fiestaware

The original colors of Fiestaware are more valuable than the newer ones. And among these colors, medium green is the most rare and expensive. As for the types of pieces, egg cups are particularly valuable in forest green and chartreuse [90 to 110 dollars]. In general, however, cake plates, vases and footed salad bowls command high prices in all colors.

How should I clean my unglazed pieces of Pottery?

Cleaning unglazed pieces

Unglazed pieces should not be soaked in water, nor should the unglazed foot-rims found on some glazed items. These should be cleaned with a soft cloth or cotton wool soaked in the soapy water. Objects with ormolu or other metal fittings or those mended with iron rivets should also not be soaked in water.

What is an egg cup collector called?

Egg Cups

Egg cups are a popular collectible. By the 18th century they were made out of wood, brass, pewter, silver, pottery, porcelain, and papier-mache. They have also been made in ivory, glass, and rubber.

When railroad travel became popular, potters provided inexpensive ceramic egg cups to the dining cars. Transfer-printed scenes or advertisements decorated the sides.

The collecting of egg cups is called pocillovy.

Not finding the advice and tips you need on this Antique Tip Site? Request a Tip Now!

Guru Spotlight
Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.