Learn how to tell if the Italian pottery you are considering purchasing is authentic.
Before you close the deal of your life and pay an incredibly low price for what looks like a stunning piece of Deruta pottery, you may want to take a few minutes and learn how to spot fake Italian ceramics.
Lots of nice looking ceramic pieces are machine stamped and sold as original handmade Italian ceramics. Possibly from reputable regions, like Deruta.
Spotting fake Italian ceramics is possible and quite easy. Follow these simple steps.
1 – Turn the Italian ceramic piece you’re interested in upside down and make sure there is an unglazed area.
This area, usually a circle, shows the natural brownish orange color of the terracotta (bisque). The bisque is sometimes made of white grayish clay, often used for small pieces, but it’s still clearly visible.
Now you’ll be wondering why this detail is so important in spotting fake Italian ceramics.
Let me remind you how the humble terracotta changes into, a priceless Italian ceramic. Before the actual hand painting, the artisan dips the terracotta deeply into a sieve containing fast drying liquid glaze. This fine powder will prevent the colors from spreading and blurring into each other during the painting and will bond with the subsequent colored glazes during the final firing.
The glaze, however, gets quite sticky during the firing. That is why the clever artist makes sure that his or her fine Italian ceramic pieces are not in touch during the firing and carefully removes the glaze from their base.
The damage would be otherwise irreversible.
2 – Touch the unglazed area. It must be rough.
If it is white and smooth then it’s not an original Italian ceramic, made with traditional materials and techniques.
Sometimes it is still possible to detect the marks of the long pincer the artisans use to glaze their pottery: it’s two tiny dots usually positioned near the rim of the pieces.
3 – Brush strokes must be visible.
You will never forget the emotion of a close look to a Renaissance portrait and will find it hard to believe that those colorful, lively characters are painted with no more than 4 or 5 colors.
Now you own the key tools to spot a fake.
If you are passionate about Italian ceramics, though, I have a suggestion for you which goes beyond technicalities.
My suggestion is: look at as many Italian ceramics as possible.
Browse the Internet, read books, visit museums, go to exhibitions, visit the stores in your city and touch them. Your senses will grow accustomed to their patterns, their shapes, their look and feel. In a few years, your expertise will match your passion.
In the meantime, if you wish to start your own collection of fine Italian ceramics, buy from a reputable dealer. Someone who is willing to tell you more about the piece than just its price, who is happy to spend some time to educate you, who knows the name of the artist who made it and offers a clear return policy.
That is what we try to do at thatsArte.com, the business I founded together with my best friend Manuela, also a lover of quality pottery.
More than ten years ago, Manuela and I decided to step change our professional lives and turn our passion into a real job.
We spent quite a lot of time traveling around the best-known Italian ceramic centers to choose dinnerware, tableware, tiles and decoration accents.
Tough life, you must think.
Today, our website proudly carries a curated collection of more than 4,000 beautiful Italian ceramic pieces, handmade by talented artists. Have a look at it. You’ll also find information on Italian ceramics history, tradition, making and a lot more. You will enjoy every minute of it. Click now on thatsArte.com.
Article posted on Nov. 07th, 2007. Updated on April 10, 2019