Majolica is a ceramic but not all ceramics are majolica. Get that?
If not, then read on for more specific description.
Ceramics came from Greek word “keras” which means clay. During prehistoric times, horns were used as containers for liquids or even solid necessities at home, later on ceramic containers were made out of clay were then used to store food and drinks. Keramica describes how clay works. The idea that clay hardens while put under the hot desert sun have given our ancestors idea that clay will harden as exposed to firing. It was really good and correct interpretation as now, ceramics is now a big part of human civilization.
Clay combined with ingredients such as potassium feldspar and sodium is the first step to get a specific earthenware products like majolica or porcelain. In the early times, only China and Persia were able to make porcelain. Porcelain are highly appreciated objects for their hard finish and impermeability qualities. The said secret important ingredient is termed as “kaolin” to make outstanding porcelains.
Meanwhile, Majolica is a pottery type in which usually a red earthenware clay body is covered with white glaze which is then painted accordingly with glazes or stains and fired. The word majolica is a glazed jewel-toned type of pottery is always associated with Mexico, Italy and Spain. It was widely produced in America and Europe in the late 19th Century but according to history, the majolica roots are much older than that.
The Italian Majolica has been produced for over hundreds of years now. It is very popular that it has been a subject of reproduction and duplication in different countries all over the world. According to some articles, majolica originated from the port of Majorca. This is where majolica pottery items were traded first. However, the region that gives definition to Italian Majolica is a town in Umbria Italy which is names Deruta. Deruta has been producing majolica products since the 13th century. Deruta in Italy is really popular as the quality of clay retrieved from this region are best.
The term “Majolica” was used first as an adaptation to the word “maiolica” by Minton in the year 1851. There are different reasons I can present to you why Majolicas are sought after:
Majolicas are sought after because it is highly colorful and most of the time depicts lively scenes from flowers and from nature.
There are staggering varities which includes saucers, plates, umbrella stands, tea pots, jugs, compotes, candle sticks and wall sconces
Easy to find as majolica products are produced in large quantities by different companies, too.
The collectibles retain their original value. Vintage and antique items value remains the same or even may grow as time passes by.
There are distinctive themes available. Different subject matter and inspiration available for all types.
In Renaissance period, a collection of majolica signified good taste and affluence. Majolica was also considered as a perfect gift for important events like wedding, birthdays and engagements. The process of making pottery especially majolica includes applying a lead or tin enamel to a fired piece of clay forming opaque, white porous surface in which designs are painted in. Though in majolica, there are diverse topics and themes, most dominant themes are flora and fauna especially the leafy patterns. When completing the design of majolica, it is coated with a glaze before it is put to another firing process.
Many majolica products were humorous and fun. Teapot, smoking paraphernalia like ashtrays and match holders, tobacco jars, oyster plates, butter pats, dinnerware, platters, cuspidors and figurals even dessert sets, too.
Did you know that all majolica products made during 19th and 20th centuries was from a mold? The more the intricate the pattern is, the more desirable it is, especially the pieces that feature more designs and decorations.
Let us discuss more of majolica.
Majolica and Its Markings
Markings are stamped on the bottom part of majolica piece. Actually, not all of the majolica items have markings. Majolica makers such as Wegwood, Milton, George Jones and Holdcroft, Griffin, Smith and Hill and Chesapeake Pottery put markings on their items.
This is ideal to know especially if you plan to collect majolica items so that you can keep away from fake majolica products. Keep in mind as well that “crazings” are visible too in a majolica piece. These “crazings” are cracks and lines associated with glazes on pottery. Do not worry as “crazings” do not lessen the value of the majolica piece. Cracks and chips are somewhat created by the maker to make sure it is distinctive but they make sure too that it will be of unidentifiable “crazing” too. Did you know that major cracks and chips will really get or throw the value of a majolican piece away but small chips or cracks do not take the value of the item.
For collectors of Italian pottery or Italian ceramics, make sure to look for an item that suggest age. Mostly it has little crazing or little dirt on it. When the item is very clean or clear, it may mean or I can agree it is fake. However, freshness of color and brightness of color mean that the item was well cared. When it comes to prices, there are different type of Majolica that are sold and the prices vary too. When you are just starting to collect or planning to collect, it is better to start with small or common patterns. You can gain so much knowledge when you collect small or common majolica piece. Eventually, once you mastered how majolica works or how different it is from other Italian pottery items or ceramic items plus if you have enough money, you can then start to collect those vast and expensive art piece.
Buying Majolica Art Piece Online
The tips below can help you find the right Italian Pottery or Majolica collectibles:
Trust the online dealer. Find the online dealer which has high ratings and higher ranking. There are now available ratings or customer’s feedback in each of the site so you can start with that to know if you’re dealing with the right person or right company.
Find a dealer who accepts return policy in enough timeframe. Beware! There are now different scams online especially when buying items. To make sure, you’ll not be one of the victims, you need to know your right as a consumer and expect the dealer to do the same, too.
Choose listing which shows lots of photos of the item. You do not get what you saw. That is hard. Photograph shown online should show the angle of the piece you want. Every angle should be clearly seen on the photos. Though it has “crazings” or chips, it should be shown still on the product listing.
Now, you’ve read the difference between ceramics and majolica plus tips too for you, hope you learned something. Till next time!