How to Identify Fine Porcelain Marks

Written by ehow arts & entertainment editor
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Table settings with silver, embossed place cards, and monogrammed linens look better with fine china. When you buy these elegant additions to your table, you might look at their markings to determine their value. You might even uncover a rare, valuable piece.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy


  1. 1

    Find the porcelain mark. Artists or manufacturers usually place the mark on the back or bottom of the item.

  2. 2

    View the mark with a magnifying glass. The clearness of the edge may reveal the age of of the piece. Clear marks suggest relatively recent manufacture. Smudged or blurred marks can mean fine, aged porcelain.

  3. 3

    Touch the stamp. Most fine porcelain marks are applied with ink and are under glaze. Marks over glaze usually mean the porcelain was bought at wholesale or is a knockoff. A stamped, hand-painted paper label, sticker or impressed mark may reveal the age and maker.

  4. 4

    Notice the color. Before 1850, companies or artists used mostly blue for their marks.

  5. 5

    Identify marks other than the company name. Manufacturers and artists also used symbols, initials, and numbers to date fine porcelain. In 1891, the government required all porcelain to be stamped by the country of origin. Stickers used by modern countries remove easily. Several porcelain companies from Europe and Asia use the name of the trading company in the mark or stamp. The mark on older pieces of fine porcelain may carry the country of production near the stamp.

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