How To Be Sure You’re Buying Authentic Italian Ceramics

A lot of the ceramics in stores today is not actually from Italy. Stores in the US, in particular, are full of imitations, believe me. So, Make sure you're buying authentic Italian ceramics. Before you conclude the deal of your life and pay an unbelievably low price for what looks like a stunning piece of Italian Studio Pottery, take a look at these simple guidelines.

Lots of beautiful looking ceramic pieces are been stamped by a machine and sold to unsuspecting customers as authentic Italian ceramics.

How Can I Make Sure I Am Buying Authentic Italian Ceramics?

If a piece has not been made by hand, it isn’t real Italian maiolica period. It's fairly easy to see hand thrown marks inside a vase, not as easy to tell if a plate has been hand molded or mass-produced before decoration.


One way you can tell is to pile a few plates on top of one another. They will probably not stack perfectly. Some will be thicker than others and others may have a slightly different thickness or angle. Some collectors prize these small imperfections as a way to make sure an item is unique.

The Signature

Genuine hand crafted ceramics should have a maker’s signature on the bottom of the piece. Some pieces even have the name or initials of the artist. A sticker or stamp on the base that substitutes for the signature is definitely a sign of a possible fake.

It is true that many workshops write a number on the bottom of the piece. This may often be followed by a slash and another number. The presence of the number doesn't make the piece authentic, or more unique. The first number often represents the shape catalog number and the second number the size in centimeters. Many workshops do not write numbers and make pieces that are just as beautiful.

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Chi dorme non piglia pesci – Those who sleep don’t catch any fish.

The Glaze

Older Italian pieces will have little hair lines in the glaze. This is a natural result of the aging process. If you want to be sure you are buying authentic Italian ceramics be wary of anything that seems too perfect.

With authentic hand painted ceramics the foot will not be glazed. This ring will look and feel slightly rough when you run your fingers over it. Ceramic that is completely glazed ( including the foot) have been painted by a machine.

Turn the ceramic piece you’re interested in over and make certain there's an unglazed circle. It must feel rough to the touch. If it's white and smooth then it's not an original Italian ceramic, made using traditional materials and techniques.This area, normally a circle, shows the original brown orange color of the bisque. Sometimes the bisque is made of white grayish color clay, often used for smaller pieces, but it’s may still be clearly visible.

The Painting

Hand painted glaze should have slight variations in thickness that you’ll be able to feel. If you inspect them closely you will be able to see the single strokes that contribute to the beauty and artistry of your piece.

The Design

Although some designs are typical of a region and have been made for centuries, in the same way, a piece is defined as maiolica if made using certain clays, entirely by hand and using majolica glazes. For example, Some people believe that Deruta majolica must be found in certain designs only.

Actually, the design has no bearing in the authenticity of an item, what really matters is the process used to create the piece.

The Price

Try to find out about the studio where the piece was made. If you wish to begin collecting fine Italian ceramics be sure to buy from reputable dealers. Choose stores that are able to tell you more about the piece than just its price. Buy from someone who is happy to spend some time to educate you, who knows the name of the artisans and has a return policy.

Even in Italy in some high tourist areas, you might have to watch that you are buying authentic Italian ceramics and not a cheap import from somewhere else.

Of course, buying from source is one way you can be sure you are buying authentic Italian ceramics.Try to buy from stores that have an attached studio that you might be able to tour to see work in production.

Ask whether the ceramics are entirely hand made not just hand-painted. Be inquisitive especially if you are going to purchase a large expensive piece! Some studios will even be able to custom design a unique piece for you to purchase if have something specific in mind.

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Una cena senza vino e come un giorno senza sole – A meal without wine is a day without sunshine.

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