How to Verify the Authenticity of Limoges Boxes
When you’re looking to purchase Limoges boxes, either for your e-commerce store or as a gift for a loved one, you need to check for authenticity. Counterfeit versions abound on the market, and it can be difficult to tell the real from the fake. Prices can range from only a few dollars to thousands of dollars per piece. So it pays to know what to look for.
A Limoges box is a small, hinged trinket box made of finely crafted, hand-painted porcelain. In order to be considered an authentic Limoges box, it must have been produced in one of the Limoges factories near the city of Limoges, France.
These elegant creations were first made in the mid-1700s, and they continue to be crafted today. Limoges pieces come in a range of shapes and sizes. The very first pieces were the small boxes we’re discussing here, but you can also find punch bowls, vases, and even full sets of personalized dinnerware.
Investment, Collectible, or Gift?
Antique Limoges pieces remain in high demand as either investments or collectibles, and modern-day pieces are popular as collectibles and elegant gifts. Originally crafted to hold fine needles used for sewing, Limoges boxes at various points in history were used to safeguard small treasures. For a while, they were even used as snuff boxes. Queen Victoria is said to have kept her children’s baby teeth and locks of their hair in Limoges boxes.
Now, however, they are more often than not precious collectibles, although they are sometimes used to hold small personal items. According to some, there is no more romantic gift than a Limoges box.
Authentic Limoges porcelain is crafted from a mixture that includes a fine white clay known as kaolin, which gives the porcelain a distinctive semi-translucent appearance. While imitations might come close in terms of design, the luminous quality of a piece of fine Limoges porcelain can’t be replicated. To be certain that the piece you’re holding is a Limoges, hold it up to the light. If you are holding a dinner plate, for example, you should be able to see light through it.
Skilled artisans use extremely fine brushes to hand-paint the designs on each piece of Limoges porcelain. Look also for exacting detail, impeccable designs, and lustrous colors. Additionally, check for any apparent flaws, as no fault goes unpunished in a Limoges factory, and blemished pieces are promptly destroyed.
Every piece of Limoges porcelain is marked with the legitimate marking of the factory where it was made. Overlaid upon that mark, you will find the mark of the studio in which it was decorated. These markings are generally placed on the bottom of the piece. However, pieces with unusual shapes could be marked elsewhere.
Particularly when you’re examining a Limoges box, look for the quality of the craftsmanship around the hinges. In an authentic Limoges box, the hinges are expertly attached by skilled artisans in the final stages of production. Hinges in the counterfeit versions are generally attached with glue. However, hinges in an authentic piece will be attached with the same fine white clay that the piece is made of.