How to Recognise Genuine Hand-Made Ceramics
Italian style dinnerware can be found in many shops and online, but most of it is not actually from Italy or hand made. Price can be a give-away. If the price of a platter or pitcher seems too good to be true, it probably is. How else can you avoid purchasing a fake?
Look at the glaze
Before painting, each piece of pottery is dipped into a white liquid glaze which prevents the paint from spreading. This glaze must be removed from the bottom of the piece before firing or else it will stick to the shelf in the kiln, so on the base of each item there should be an unglazed ‘foot’ showing the natural colour of the first-fired clay – usually brownish-orange terracotta colour but sometimes white, depending on the clay used. This ring will look and feel slightly rough. If a ceramic is completely glazed, including the foot, it’s likely to have been painted by a machine.
Look for the mark
Genuine handmade Italian ceramics should have the name of the country and/or town of origin, and possibly the artist or the studio. Often there will be 'dipinto a mano' or 'dip. a mano' on the base, which means ‘hand painted’.
Brush strokes will be visible
Italian ceramics are always hand-painted and you will be able to see the often-fine brush strokes of the artist. Each piece of Deruta pottery is individually handmade. This means that there are never two pieces exactly the same. Small variations and ‘defects’ shows the hand of the artist and does not deflect from the value of the piece. Be suspicious of anything that looks too perfect.