In 1849, estate owner John Caldwell Bloomfield inherited his father's lands that encompassed the village of Belleek in Ireland. Soon after, he founded the Belleek Pottery Works Company LTD, which produced world famous porcelain china as early as 1872. Belleek offers distinctive tableware, as well as statuettes and figurines, made from their unique porcelain china. The company organises an international collector's society for those with interest in collecting and identifying rare pieces.
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Clean your Belleek china with warm water and a clean, lint-free rag. Gentle, hand-washing preserves the colour and painting on the Belleek. Belleek china has subtle designs both in the texture of the porcelain and in the painting. Those subtle designs can be important in classifying your Belleek.
Check the bottom of your Belleek teaware for hand-painted numbers. Occasionally, identifying numbers were painted on the base of Belleek teaware. Since a fire destroyed most of the factory records in 1930, no official records of what the numbers signify remain. However, numerous groups have researched the appearance and meaning of the hand-painted numbers extensively.
Compare the painted and moulded patterns on your Belleek to an image directory of patterns (see resources). Read identifying notes and look for distinctive features of each mark, such as gilt borders or fluting. When you identify a potential match, take note of the name and mark, and continue looking for other matches. If you identify several possible matches, go back and compare more minute features to determine to which type and marking it belongs.
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