The Noritake China Company was established in 1904 in Noritake, Japan and began exporting its dinnerware in 1914. Over Noritake’s history, the company has continued to develop high quality dinnerware in many different decorative designs. Because of this long period of prolific production, there are many Noritake patterns, and it can be difficult to identify some of the older ones. However, a little research can help you discover information about your antique Noritake.
Identify the pattern name. The underside of a piece of china is where manufacturers list the pattern name or number. Look on your Noritake for that information. Also, if you have the paperwork that came with your china, it may contain specifics about the pattern.
Visit the library or bookstore. Look for Noritake collector guides that include pictures and information about the history of the manufacturer’s patterns. Noritake collector guides include “Noritake for Europe” by Pat Murphy; “Noritake: Jewel of the Orient” by Dale Frederiksen, Bob Page, and Dean Six; “Noritake Dinnerware: Identification Made Easy (Schiffer Book for Collectors)” by Robin Brewer; and “Noritake Collectibles A to Z: A Pictorial Record & Guide to Values” by David H. Spain.
Search china services. Several companies specialise in selling individual pieces of older or discontinued china. Replacements Limited offers a large selection of Noritake, and you may be able to find the pattern of your china through their online inventory. If you are unable to find your piece on your own, you can send the company a picture of your china, and they can help you with identification and valuation. Another source is Old China Patterns Limited in Canada. This company offers many Noritake patterns, but does not include pictures.
Talk to other collectors. There are many ways to network with collectors who are knowledgeable about identifying antique Noritake. One way is to join a collectors’ organisation such as the Noritake Collectors Society. This club focuses on older, Art Deco era Noritake china and has a yearly convention open only to club members.
Check out antiques stores. In antiques stores that specialise in china, you will often be able to see various older Noritake patterns. Also, the antiques store owner may be able to give you more information about antique patterns. Online antiques stores are also useful for learning about Noritake. Web stores such as The Silver Queen, Ruby Lane, and Go Antiques all offer a large selection of dinnerware.
Search online auction sites. Online auctions sites such as eBay are excellent places to see a wide variety of china pieces in many different patterns. Such sites can also give you a sense of what people are willing to pay for individual pieces.