"Dresden porcelain" is not a manufacturer of china and porcelain products. Instead, "Dresden" is a common term and mark used to identify a number of glassware items made in the Dresden region of Germany by many different artists in the 19th century. Today, Dresden porcelain is popular among collectors, and pieces can bring extraordinary prices at auction. Although many imitators exist, there are a few tell-tale signs that you can use to ensure your Dresden is indeed authentic.
Look for any delicate lace laid around the outside of the porcelain. Actual lace was dipped in liquid porcelain and is a unique feature of Dresden porcelain.
Observe the quality of the facial features and designs. Dresden porcelain figurines were hand-painted with painstaking regard to detail. Many mistakes or poorly-crafted artwork could be signs of a reproduction.
Examine the piece for Dresden marks. These are often painted on the bottom of the piece.
Almost all pieces of Dresden porcelain have either a "D" or the word "Dresden" painted on it. Some authentic markings are a blue crown with the word "Dresden" scripted underneath, a cow with the word "Dresden" scripted underneath, a rose with the word Dresden scripted above or below it and a capital letter "N" with a five-pointed star with Dresden scripted underneath. Any of these marks may contain the words "Made in Germany" printed somewhere within the mark.
A Dresden piece may not contain any mark at all. If a piece meets the criteria of Dresden porcelain but does not have a mark of any kind, it may still be an authentic piece. Take your piece to a porcelain expert or antiques appraiser. Some common reproduced markings are a crown with cross swords, a winged crest with scripted "Dresden" underneath (often painted in a gold tint) and a poorly drawn crown with scripted "D" underneath.