The markings on fine china are just like fingerprints that could lead you to the identity of the manufacturer or the artist, and the piece’s origin and age. Marks may appear as symbols, letters, numbers, dates, logos as well as signatures, depending on the company or potter who made the item. Fine china generally refers to porcelain or bone china, but may include stoneware or other things known as ceramics.
Imprinted, Impressed or Painted Marks
Markings on fine china may appear as an impressed stamp added to the slice prior to its initial firing and inserted into the clay, a hand-incised mark at the clay, along with a mark painted beneath or above the glaze. Painted over-glaze marks typically include the artist’s initials or mark additional during decoration of this slice. Under-glaze marks happen after the initial firing, but prior to the next glaze firing. Fine Chinese china that is thousands of years old may not have any identifiable markings in any way, so you’ll want the assistance of an expert.
Hallmarks or Maker’s Marks
Potteries and producers use many different symbols, letters or images to denote their creation of fine china. Also called *backstamps*, these markings may be found on the base of a vase or figurine or about the bottoms of china plates, saucers or cups. As soon as you’ve found the mark, you can compare it to databases with logos of antique marks, collectors’ websites, novels — or check with websites that provide replacement pieces. English marks, for instance, usually feature a crown, a set of royal lions a lion and a unicorn, or other similar royal symbols.
Nation of Origin Marks
All things imported in the USA since the Tariff Act of 1930 need a **country of origin mark** to identify the country where the product was created. By way of instance, **Tuscan Fine English Bone China** uses these words above a symbol of a crown with two big wings attached to both sides of the crown. Beneath the image, you’ll discover the words “Made in England” as a portion of this emblem.
Mold or Pattern Marks
Fine china dinnerware manufacturers have gotten into the practice of adding pattern numbers on the bottoms of cups, saucers and plates to help in identification of this layout if you need to replace broken things. Other pieces, like vases or figurines, may include a number that identifies the mold that was used to make the piece.
The Oldest European Mark
The company that made porcelain china in Europe called itself Meissen, and is now known as Meissen Couture over three centuries afterwards. In 1708, the company identified itself with city in which the deposits of kaolin clay were found near the banks of the Elbe river in Germany. Its very first maker’s mark, the initials AR, stood to get the name of this king of Saxony at that time: Augustus Rex. In later years, the company altered its maker’s mark to the well-known crossed blades symbol.