About the condition of Nordic vintage tableware

The Scandinavian vintage tableware, glass, and ceramic products that we sell at our store were manufactured about half a century ago and were used in ordinary Scandinavian households. We select and deliver items that are as clean as possible, but even items that are in good condition will have been touched by someone at least once.

Please note that the condition evaluations conducted at our store are not based on new tableware or products, but only as vintage items . The evaluation is based on the assumptions that ``the item is in beautiful condition for a product that is about half a century old'' and ``the item is in particularly good condition among items available in the vintage market.'' Unless otherwise specified, all products sold in our store are vintage products that have been manufactured for approximately 50 years.

Ratings using ★ are done empirically, taking into account the condition of various products we have handled in the past and the general usability of vintage items in circulation.

Please see the page below for details on condition evaluation by ★.

<About condition evaluation>

About paint loss

Scandinavian vintage tableware is decorated with patterns using techniques such as " transfer " and " hand painting ." Transfer paper (like a sticker) is attached to plain pottery that has been fired in a kiln. The firing of the pottery itself is called ``hon-firing,'' and the process of applying designs one by one by a painter with a brush is called overlaying.

(Photo: Transfer work. Pasting transfer paper on Gustavsberg's Spisarib)

When a painter decorates each piece with a brush, it is called " hand painting ." When hand painting, the pottery is refired at a low temperature to fix the pigment. Hand-painted Scandinavian tableware does not have the Japanese uniformity, but the brush strokes are free, and it is characterized by the painter's individuality.


(Photo: ARABIA's classic item "Valencia ". If you look at the details, the way the pattern is drawn differs depending on the painter)

A phenomenon called ``paint loss,'' in which decorations peel off, is particularly likely to occur with decorations using transfer paper. Partial peeling can occur due to various factors such as the original transfer paper being thin, exposure to bleach, or insufficient pressure. There is also paint loss caused by flaking in areas that are frequently rubbed due to years of use at home.


(Photo: Paint loss often seen in Berså in Gustavsberg . Leaf stalks are missing where the cutlery touches)

The paint loss mentioned above is caused by wear and tear from years of use. Scandinavian vintage tableware is a practical tableware that is often used for everyday use. For this reason, paint loss is more likely to occur on tableware from popular series.

On the other hand, faience ware uses an ancient technique of painting and then final firing. When you see a chip on a faience pattern, it is often not just paint loss, but a scratch on the item itself.

About cutlery marks

Cutlery is a general term for metal items used at the table, such as knives, forks, and spoons. In the Japanese lifestyle, wooden utensils such as chopsticks are often used, but in Northern Europe, all utensils used to bring food to the mouth are basically made of metal. Therefore, the ceramic surface constantly comes into contact with the metal. After many years of use, these damages become visible as "cutlery marks". Normally, you can't see it unless you shine a light through it, but the more used the tableware, the more long and thin streaks will be observed near the center.


(Photo: Cutlery marks are visible when the light shines through them. Cutlery marks are usually gathered in the center)

Vintage Bertha cutlery remains

(Photo: Cutlery marks seen on vintage Bertha. Vintage tableware tends to get scratches more easily because the firing temperature of the pottery is lower than that of modern tableware.)

About penetration

Ceramics are made by coating the raw material, china clay, with a coating liquid called glaze made from plant ash, and firing it at high temperatures. When the glaze gets hot, a component called silica contained in the raw materials melts and becomes glassy. This glassy substance covers the entire ceramic piece like a thin mucous membrane, creating a transparent and hard coating that protects the tableware from scratches and stains.

The temperature inside the furnace during firing reaches a high temperature of approximately 1,200 degrees, but it is extremely difficult to control the temperature in the gradual cooling process, and if the glaze is cooled too quickly, spider web-like cracks may form in the glaze. there is. Even if there is no problem with the clay itself, a crack in the glaze is called a crack.

(Photo: Penetration with fixed pigment)

Penetrations allow moisture to enter the clay body, so if a white vessel has penetrations and you pour a dark colored liquid such as coffee into it, the pigment will settle and the color will never come off again. Even if there is no problem with the use itself, the beauty of the vessel will be damaged.

On the other hand, in the world of Japanese tea ceremony, for example, there is a sense of value in which matcha is created by permeating the bowl with perforations, and that by continuing to use the bowl for many years, ``the vessel grows.'' Penetrations are not necessarily a defect in ceramics; in fact, depending on how you look at them and how you think about them, they can lead to an aesthetic sense that can make the pottery look beautiful.


(Photo: Intentional intrusion seen in Tenmoku tea bowl)

It is different from things that are clearly considered to be dirt, but in some cases, penetration can also be considered as a flavor, so it may not be possible to judge the value of good or bad just by having penetration.

A penetration in a ceramic plate

(Photo: Penetrations in the ceramic plate. Because it is applied thickly, there are inevitably small penetrations in the blue glaze. This is due to the manufacturing method, so the penetrations are not particularly noticeable.)

In most cases, Scandinavian tableware is shipped as-is, even if penetration occurs. Under the inspection system at the time vintage tableware was made, penetrations were not considered damage to the product and were shipped and sold like genuine products. There is a cultural difference in that in the Japanese perspective, penetration is considered a wound or damage, but in Northern Europe it is not considered a defect.

About the remains of the pillars

There are two methods of firing ceramics in a kiln: "single firing" and "layer firing". One-piece firing is a method of firing ceramics by arranging them one by one on the firing shelf of a kiln so that they do not touch each other.

faience one piece kiln
(Photo: Single-fired plate. The underlying red clay is visible only on the high ground where glaze is not applied.)

On the other hand, layered baking is a method of placing a plate on top of a single plate and then stacking several plates on top of that in order to save space and produce in large quantities. Between each piece of pottery stacked vertically, a support called a grill stand, hearth stand, or tochin in Japan is inserted. Since the glaze is not applied to the areas that touch the baking table during firing in the kiln, the finished product will have dents that are the marks of the struts from layered firing. You can almost always see these pillar marks on vintage Scandinavian tableware.

kiln support marks

(Photo: Brown clay can be seen where the pillar hit)

The post marks are not product defects or scratches, but are caused by the manufacturing method. In the case of vintage products, the internal china clay may be exposed and appear brown, but this is not dirt. Please understand this as one of the characteristics of the product.

Berså cup

(Photo: A brown plateau seen at Berså in Gustavsberg . It is not dirt, but the earth color of the base is exposed because the glaze is not applied during firing.)

The transparency of the base china clay seen in ARABIA's Valencia

(Photo: The base china clay often seen in ARABIA's Valencia is transparent. Because the fire is difficult to spread inside the kiln on high ground, the glaze does not set and the earth color is visible.)