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How to Collect Jadeite Dinnerware

Beautiful, functional jadeite dinnerware is extremely collectible. Still somewhat easy to find, these once-abundant pieces were given away or sold for several decades, as both restaurant-ware and dinnerware for your house. Scope out local thrift stores, estate sales and yard sales to purchase any jadeite pieces you encounter, or search online auction websites for the sole piece you want to round out a set.

Ensuring It Is Jadeite

With its distinctive jade-green color, jadeite is potentially easy to spot from afar, but not all of green glassware or dinnerware is jadeite. Flip the piece over to search for a company name. Several jadeite pieces are branded “Fire-King,” that was created by Anchor Hocking in the 1940s through the 1970s. Some pieces may be marked using a “McK” instead of “Fire-King,” made by McKee, which started making jadeite in the 1930s. Use a magnifying glass to locate the marking, as some may be nearly illegible. If the bit is anything other than a light jade green, it is not jadeite. The precise colour of green varies from one brand to the next, and a few could even have slight swirls visible.

Local Treasure Troves

Visit local thrift stores, yard sales and resale shops which carry dinnerware to find pieces of jadeite for your own collection. Jadeite is available in various types of dinnerware, from plates to soup bowls, coffee cups and salt and pepper shakers, so check any piece you locate with that distinctive jade green colour. Antique shops are just another place to locate jadeite pieces or to get an idea of what initial jadeite looks like. When possible, if you find more than one piece in the exact same location, purchase them all to help construct a set.

Spotting Reproductions

If you don’t mind if the jadeite is reproduction or first, you don’t need to do any detective work to find out whether the bit is old or new. If the age does matter to you, both of the branding and the quality are crucial elements which help determine the age. Since jadeite is collectible, many companies reproduce the pieces. Even some Fire-King pieces are reproduction — check for the number “2000” on the underside, alongside the usual “Fire-King” brand embossing. Other pieces could have a sticker which says “Fire-King” on it, or there may be no markings or tags whatsoever. Even some initial jadeite is unmarked, so if you come across an unmarked piece, inspect the seams and check for rough areas or shoddy constructions. Some reproductions feature fairly big, obvious seams which make the pieces feel cheap and cheaply made. Reproduction jadeite is even available in some department stores and chain restaurants which sell merchandise.

Looking and Comparing

Online auction websites which sell dinnerware are just another means to ascertain what’s available or that pieces belong to a set. Scan active and completed auction listings, noting the markings and shapes of each piece; a few reproduction pieces look like the originals, but in slightly different sizes. Ask questions of those vendors when you are considering a piece, like if the pieces have some chips, flaws or cracks. For quite common pieces, even a slight chip or crack may greatly reduce the value of this jadeite. Request different spiders in case you are puzzled about a particular piece or unsure of its potential value.

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