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Limoges China and Dinnerware

Some of the finest porcelain in the world is manufactured in Limoges, a city in France known for its deposits of white kaolin clay. Kaolin clay has unique physical properties that endow objects made from it with a particular delicacy and translucence. Limoges china is not a brand but a designation given to all china produced in the Limoges region.

Where is Limoges, France?

Limoges is located in central France on the elevated massif that separates the basins of the Loire and Garonne rivers. Although chiefly renowned for its porcelain production, in medieval times long before the city became known for the production of its fine porcelain Limoges china, Limoges was famous for its enamel work.

What are Limoges boxes?

Some time in the mid-17th century, porcelain manufacturers in Limoges began manufacturing decorative trinkets, including snuff boxes and needle boxes. These pieces are very difficult to make because they involve the creation of a master mold, detailed hand painting, and multiple layers of glaze. Limoges boxes also require the insertion of a metal hinge for latching the box closed. Genuine Limoges boxes are manufactured in limited editions that are signed by the artist. Since so much hand work is involved in the creation of every piece, each Limoges box in the same limited edition may display subtle variations.

What themes do Limoges boxes come in?

  • Travel: You’ll find Limoges pieces to commemorate your trip to the Eiffel Tower, to the leaning Tower of Pisa, and to practically every other landmark in the world.
  • Special occasions: You can purchase boxes to give as gifts for birthdays, graduations, and holidays such as Mother’s Day. There’s also a lineup of witches, ghouls, ghosts, and grinning Jack-o’-lanterns that change from Halloween to Halloween.
  • Wine: If you’re looking for a special gift for the oenophile in your life, you’ll find a wide assortment of Limoges porcelain boxes in the shapes of wine bottles, wine barrels, and even corkscrews.

What is Haviland Limoges?

The Haviland Company is one of the best-known manufacturers of Limoges china. An American businessman named David Haviland started the business in the mid-19th century. This factory produced plates, dinnerware, tea sets, and other pieces that were used by Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses S. Grant, and other American presidents during their White House tenures. Although the company is still in existence today, it’s most famous for its antique china, and Haviland porcelain is prized highly by collectors.

Haviland china is not only revered for the flawless quality of its plates but also for its strikingly beautiful designs. The company employed famous artists like Felix Bracquemond, Paul Gaugin, and Raoul Dufy to decorate its porcelain. Haviland manufactured more than 20,000 discrete dinnerware patterns. Collectors are equally drawn to Haviland’s more whimsical porcelain creations that include ashtrays, dresser trays, and ornamental baskets.

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