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How to Select Antique Ceramics and Porcelain for Your Needs

Some of the most beautiful objects you can have for your home are antique ceramics and porcelain. Long ago, someone learned that clay fired at high temperatures could be turned into something not only useful but pleasing to the eye. Affordable antique ceramics and porcelain are available on eBay.

What is the difference between ceramics and porcelain?

Porcelain is a type of ceramic, but not all ceramics are porcelain. The clay to make porcelain is mixed with a fine white powder called kaolin and fired at very high temperatures, which makes it nonporous. Though porcelain is thinner and lighter than some other types of ceramic, it is stronger. Porcelain tile can be made anywhere that clay, kaolin, and high-firing kilns are available. Other kinds of ceramic that are available include:

  • Stoneware. Like porcelain, stoneware is fired at high temperatures, which vitrifies it. It is one of the oldest types of ceramic.
  • Ironstone. This is a type of stoneware, first manufactured in England. It is mass produced and made to bear up under daily use.
  • Bone china. This type of very fine ceramic is actually made with bone ash.
  • Transferware. These type of ceramics often have scenes that weren't hand painted but printed on the item. The first ink was cobalt blue, but as the technique improved, inks of red, green, brown, purple, and yellow were used.
What is a Ming vase?

A Ming is a vase made during the Chinese Ming dynasty, which lasted from 1368 to 1643, or a vase made in that style. Because the dynasty lasted as long as it did, the vases from different periods have different styles. A vase from the period ruled by Emperor Wan Li can have a mei ping shape and be covered with blue and white decorations. A mei ping-shaped vase has a narrow mouth, a wide, round center, and a narrow pedestal. It is made to hold one flower.

How can you identify antique pottery?

One way to identify ceramics is to look for marks somewhere on the piece. These marks tell you who made the piece. For example, the basic mark on a piece of Wedgwood porcelain is an amphora with the name Wedgwood beneath it. "England" was added in 1891, and "Made in England" was added beginning in 1910. However, if you're not sure, you can take your antique to an appraiser.

What type of antique ceramics are available on eBay?

When searching for antique ceramics and porcelain on eBay, you can search from the various categories eBay has. These categories include:

  • Type: Ceramics include options like cups and saucers and figurines. Cups and saucers are often made of fine porcelain or bone china, they are exquisitely decorated, and some have gold trim or accents. Ceramic figurines can be animals, children, shepherds and shepherdesses, or abstract figures. Additional types that eBay offers are plates, vases, pitchers, bowls, tea sets, crocks, and decorative tile.
  • Age: You can select your ceramic or porcelain by its age. Choices are pre-1800, 1800-1849, 1850-1899, 1900-1940, and post-1940.
  • Price: If you're on a budget, eBay offers inexpensive ceramics. If you're looking for rare, antique pieces, these will often be much pricier.
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