Restoration, Refiring, and Reproduction
One of the reasons people are afraid to start or to continue to collect stoneware is the presence of restored, refired, and reproduction stoneware in the marketplace. In this portion of my website, I would like to offer some tips on how to spot these conditions so that you can buy with confidence.
This is not to say that these conditions are all bad. Restoration can improve the look of a piece and save it for posterity, refiring a piece with a new design may make it more decorative, and reproduction stoneware can give you the old look you want without the expense-- as well as be a great piece of stoneware in its own right. However, it is better to know what you are buying than be surprised after purchase.
Restored items are appearing all over the marketplace. Restoration is done by amateurs as well as professionals. Here are some tips for spotting a restoration if it is now already marked:
1. Smell for paint or glazing. Literally smell the piece. If there is a faint odor of paint or some other glazing, there is likely restoration.
2. Look for what appears to be a series of fly specks. To help the eye blend the original color of the piece of stoneware with the restoration, tiny black dots are added to the restoration.
3. If you are nearsighted like myself, you can look for places where the crazing disappears and the surface has no lines. These may be painted spots.
4. Move the piece around in the light. Restored cracks are often still visible when the light hits them just right.
5. Look inside. Restored cracks are hard to hide on the inside unless the entire interior is repainted.
6. If you suspect the handle of something is restored, take its temperature. If it is colder than the rest of the piece, it is likely a molded replacement.