2 tests to recognize the porcelain

Publié par Aude MOUCHEL le

2 tests to recognize the porcelain

Take for a little spin and then goes away.

We cannot say the same about porcelain! Already known and recognized by our grandmothers, it has now become unavoidable. We find it everywhere, from the table to our jewels. But what does it consist of? How can we recognize it?

5 centuries to discover the secret ingredient!

The Chinese are the great forerunners of porcelain and the first holders of the “recipe” of manufacture whose long-held secret elements are:
  • Kaolin (white clay)
  • Cooking at 1200°C
And the secret has been difficult to discover because if the technique exists since the twelfth century in China, it has taken the eighteenth century for it to arrive in France. A first attempt was made when crossing the silk roads. The Europeans returned the pockets full of Oriental porcelain and with them a strong desire to copy them! But the first attempts couldn’t match the Chinese creations: the porcelain is too soft and too fragile.
A good reason for this, “to know about things, it’s important to know the details" (François de la Rochefoucauld-1665). But the "detail" would have to wait until the 18th century to be discovered: it is the secret ingredient, the kaolin.
This small revolution took place in Meissen (Saxony) and then spread to the other major European centers. France took advantage of this opportunity to seize this discovery and began deploying the technique of «hard porcelain» in its main production centers: the famous factories of Sèvres, Paris and Limoges.
The production intensifies, the porcelain travels times like a chameleon. And with each new trend, it changes its “coating” to look its best.

One ingredient but… 2 porcelains?

Maybe yes, maybe no, like an authentic Norman.
Actually, these are two different aspects the porcelain can have:
  • The porcelain baked with enamelling. This is the most widespread aspect; it is easily recognized thanks to the enamel that appears as an outer layer on the material. And when it’s touched, it slips under fingers
  • Porcelain cooked without enamelling and without decoration, called «biscuit»: invented in the eighteenth century by the manufacture of Sèvres, it keeps the white color of the kaolin and look like marble. It is distinguished from enamelled porcelain by its touch, much rawer
Okay, we know a little bit more about what porcelain is, but we still don’t know how to recognize it! Don’t panic, it’s coming right now!

Let’s take a look at this!

You’re telling me that you remember a rather thick object whose decoration is worked in a less fine way than other objects? It is probably earthenware: made of earth, it takes the appearance of a pottery covered with varnish or enamel. Porcelain is distinguished from earthenware by its hardness, its great finesse and the delicacy of its decorations.
And 1! This first method allows to eliminate some of the objects that may look like porcelain.

Would you like another fun method to recognize porcelain?

We talk about method, but it’s a simple test: the lamp test. It’s simple, and it’s fun both for children and adults!
How do we do that? Place your ceramic object near a light source and if the light passes through, it’s bingo, you have porcelain in your hands!
How do we explain this phenomenon? Porcelain is vitrified at 1,200°C and transformed into glass. This process makes the material translucent, making it possible to distinguish porcelain from earthenware.

Test, made by Aude

Aude has made a test for you with one of the creations of Pelote de Porcelaine. The kaolin keeps its promise and is amazingly transparent. Even with more than moderate brightness, you can still see the fingers behind the cup. And the hand-painted drawing adds an artistic dimension to the nobility of the material. That’s the beauty of craftsmanship!
You want to do the lamp test, too? Then go to https://pelotedeporcelaine.com to do the test with objects painted in the colors of your passions! All the creations proposed are porcelain, and of course, made and painted in France! ;)
See you soon!




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