Collectible Wedgwood tops the list for many collectors of fine pottery, china, figurines, and more. In addition, Wedgwood on your table is a mark of refinement. From the crisp, clean white of Signet Platinum to the more whimsical and fun Harlequin Collection, Wedgwood sets the standard for tea time elegance!
Tea time isn’t just about tea. It’s about slowing down, taking time to be with friends and loved ones, enjoying a moment aside from the hubbub (sort of like pulling off the expressway onto a quiet tree-lined side street for awhile on your journey through life). No wonder tearooms and an elegant tea time (which many call “high tea”) are becoming increasingly popular. And no wonder that elegant teawares such as Wedgwood continue in popularity.
Born in 1730, the first Josiah Wedgwood took a mere 29 years of living before he founded the Wedgwood company (of course, his parents were potters and he apprenticed as a potter before striking out on his own). The company grew and prospered over the years, despite an economic bump here and there, with Josiah’s descendants (including Josiah II and Josiah III) continuing to expand their line of wares and trying new things. Today, Lord Wedgwood, a direct descendant of Josiah, acts as Brand Ambassador.
For those of you who want to collect Wedgwood to actually use, they have a variety of modern patterns, listed A thru Z on their site plus available from a variety of stores, online as well as “brick and mortar.” My personal favorite is Oberon. It looks like a warm Southern day when peaches are hanging ripe from the trees and the air is filled with their sweet scent. The Royal Albert Country Rose pattern (a Royal Doulton design that is now part of Wedgwood), though, has its merits and air of ease and comfort and the Wild Strawberry pattern is light and delicate. Other patterns go from ornate and traditional to sleek and modern (by fashion designers Jasper Conran and Vera Wang).
Collecting older Wedgwood pieces is another matter. Learn the company history and the marks they used during certain times in that history. Don’t get suckered into buying Wedgwood Jasperware marked with a date prior to 1775, when it was first perfected and introduced. Antique Wedgwood Lustre ware glaze wasn’t introduced until 1806 and Wedgwood majolica first became available in 1860, over a hundred years after the company was founded. Turquoise jasperware was only made from 1875 to 1885. Royal blue jasper ware was introduced in 1953 to celebrate Queen Elizabeth’s coronation. In 1986, Waterford acquired Wedgwood and formed Waterford Wedgwood plc.
Josiah was adamant about marking his wares and pursuing his rights in court when people tried to copy them. His mark included the name “Wedgwood,” not just the simpler symbols used by other potters of his day. Still, anything made between 1759 and 1781 are difficult to verify as true Wedgwood. Look for the correct mark as both an indication that the piece is genuine and an indicator of its true age.
Whether you’re collecting for the value or to add sparkle and fashion to your tea time, happy hunting!
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