Limoges Collectibles

Limoges collectibles are products made of hard-paste porcelain that were produced in or around the city of Limoges which is in central France. Limoges is known mainly for its porcelain which they began making in the mid to late 1700s. This type of porcelain is still manufactured today and both the antique products and the newly produced porcelain have become sought after collectible items that are available in a diverse array of products and styles.

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A History of Limoges Collectibles

Limoges porcelain was first made in France in 1771. Other types of pottery had been made in this region for a long time but it was not until a certain material was discovered by French economist and Baron Turgot. This material, called kaolinite, is a white clay mineral that was used to manufacture Limoges porcelain. It is unique in its coloring and consistency from other porcelain products.

Limoges collectibles quickly became increasingly popular with their attention from the king. King Louis XVI actually purchased the manufacturing site from his brother in 1784. In the early to mid 1930s the style of production changed greatly. Collectors generally seek items that were made from 1771 to 1939. At one point in the early 1900s there were more than forty factories making Limoges porcelain in the Limoges, France region. As time went on, Limoges collectibles became a famous item for collectors all across the globe.

Limoge porcelain was first produced in 1765. A chemist’s wife was hoping to find am substance to use for soap, but instead found nearly pure kaolin. Kaolin is a type of white clay that is one of the ingredients of fine porcelain.

Limoges factories began to open six years later. The clay used to create the Limoges porcelain was readily available in the French region where the discovery was made. Cheap labor was also plentiful, since farming the infertile clay soil of Limoge was not an option.

By the early 1900s, the original Limoge factory employed 8,000 people and shipped 80% of its production to locations around the world. Nearly 48 factories operated simultaneously in France. People of high-profile families made it fashionable to have their initials or coat-or-arms painted onto Limoge items, such as dinnerware and trinket boxes.

When selecting a Limoges piece, the most important thing to consider is the quality of the decoration. This is because the Limoges factories largely produced white porcelain blanks for export worldwide. Although many Limoges items have high-quality decoration, many of the blanks were painted by unskilled artisans. Additionally, a form of transfer was sometimes used and often combined with handpainting decoration techniques to produce the finished Limoges

The age of Limoges products is less important than the quality of their decoration, but factory markings as well as artisan signatures can increase the value of your Limoges piece.

Types of Limoges Porcelain

There are many types of Limoges collectibles. Some of the most popular items include serving trays, candlesticks, decorative bowls, vases, pitchers, and other glassware. Tea sets tend to be a common choice for most collectors because they display beautifully as well. A few of the less popular items include dresser pieces or sets and plaques or tiles. These items tend to be a bit more expensive. In addition, some very rare types of Limoges porcelain are available as well. For example, it is possible to find a pen tray, a paperweight, or even a cookie jar made of this unique and beautiful material.

The style of Limoges collectibles differs quite substantially from piece to piece. For example, most pieces of porcelain have some sort of floral pattern hand painted on them. The colors are often pastels including blue, pink, and green but they can also be purple, brown, yellow, and even black. Ivory is often used as an accent color. Not all the pieces have floral patterns, however. Some of them are holiday or scenic themed. For example, a collector might be able to find a piece with a Christmas wreath painted on it or a nature scene with trees painted on it. Occasionally, famous people or figures are painted on the porcelain as well; particularly historical figures that were prominent at the time.

The Value of Limoges Collectibles

For most people the value of Limoges collectibles goes beyond a monetary number. The value of a piece depends upon multiple factors. The older the porcelain, the more expensive it tends to be. The quality of the decor on the item is extremely significant as well. If it is hand painted using fine brush strokes and has a known artist’s signature it is generally worth far more than if it lacks a signature or the painting is not as intricate.

Transfers play a vital part in determining the value of Limoges porcelain as well. Transfers are essentially decals that look like a hand decorated piece but are stuck onto the porcelain. A piece with transfers that is decorated well will be of a lower value than one without transfers.

Collecting Limoges Porcelain

Collecting Limoges porcelain is popular with a variety of individuals. For example, couples getting married often desire Limoges collectibles as wedding gifts even if they are not normally avid collectors. One of the many reasons that collectors choose Limoges porcelain is because it is very hard to fake. Most antique collectors have to be concerned about knock off versions of the products that they collect. With Limoges collectibles, however, it is very rare to find an imitation.

Limoges porcelain is also collected by many because it can be used in multiple ways. The porcelain is stunning to look at in a display case but it can also be used for practical matters. For example, a serving tray made of Limoges porcelain could be used during a special occasion dinner or a vase could be used to hold flowers. Many people who collect this beautiful material are happy with the beauty each Limoges collectibles add to the room in which they are displayed.