About the condition of Nordic vintage tableware

The Scandinavian vintage tableware, glass and pottery products that we carry in our shop were manufactured about half a century ago and used in ordinary Scandinavian households. We select and deliver the cleanest items possible, but even if the item is in good condition, it will still need to be handled by humans at least once.

Therefore, please keep in mind that the condition evaluations we do at our shop are not based on the premise of new tableware or products, but only as vintage products . The evaluation is based on the premise that the item is in "beautiful condition for a half-century-old product" and "the item is in particularly good condition among the items on the vintage market."

Evaluations using ★ are performed comprehensively in consideration of the condition of various products that our shop has handled and the general condition of vintage items in circulation.

Please see the following page for details of the condition evaluation by ★.

<About condition evaluation>

About paint loss

Scandinavian vintage tableware is decorated with a technique called " transcription " or " hand painting ". The transfer is pasted with a transfer paper (like a sticker) on plain pottery that has been baked in a kiln. Firing the pottery itself is called “main firing”, and the process of painting the pottery one by one with a brush is called “overglazing”.

(Photo: Transfer work. Pasting transfer paper to Gustavsberg's Spisalib)

It is called " hand painting " that a painter decorates each point with a brush. In hand painting, the vessel is re-fired at a low temperature to fix the pigment. The hand-painted Scandinavian tableware does not have a Japanese uniformity, and the brushwork is free, and it is characterized by the individuality of the painter.


(Photo: Arabia's classic item "Valencia ". If you look at the details, the pattern is slightly different depending on the painter.)

A phenomenon called "paint loss," in which the decoration peels off, is especially likely to occur with decorations that use transfer paper. Partial peeling can occur due to various factors such as the original transfer paper being thin, exposure to bleach, or insufficient pressure. Also, there is paint loss in areas that are frequently rubbed due to long-term use at home.


(Pictured: Typical paint loss in Berså, Gustavsberg . Leaf stalk missing where cutlery hits.)

The above paint loss occurs due to wear over many years of use. Nordic vintage tableware is a tableware that is often served for everyday use as practical. Therefore, paint loss is often seen in the popular series tableware.

On the other hand, faience ware uses the ancient technique of painting and then firing. In most cases, if there is a defect in the design of the faience, it is not only a paint loss but also a scratch on the main body.

About cutlery marks

Cutlery is a general term for metal products such as knives, forks, and spoons. In Japan, we often use wooden utensils such as chopsticks, but in Northern Europe, basically all utensils for carrying food to the mouth are made of metal. Therefore, the surface of the pottery will constantly collide with the metal. After many years of use, such damage will surface as "cutlery marks". Normally, you can't see it unless the light shines through it, but the more used the tableware, the more elongated streaks you can see near the center.


(Photo: Cutlery traces visible when light shines through. Normally, cutlery traces gather in the center.)

Vintage Versa cutlery trace

(Photo: Traces of cutlery found on a vintage Versa. Vintage tableware is more prone to scratches because the firing temperature of the pottery is lower than that of modern tableware.)

About penetration

Ceramics are made by applying a coating liquid made from plant ash called glaze to clay, which is the raw material, and firing it at a high temperature. When the glaze reaches a high temperature, the component called silica contained in the raw material melts out and becomes vitreous. By thinly covering the ceramics with this glass, a transparent hard coating is applied to protect the tableware from scratches and stains.

During firing, the temperature inside the furnace reaches a high temperature of about 1,200 degrees, but it is extremely difficult to control the temperature during the process of gradually lowering the temperature and cooling down. I have. Even if there is no problem with the pottery clay itself, it is called kannyu when cracks appear only in the glaze.

(Photo: Penetration with fixed pigment)

Since crazing allows moisture to penetrate into the main body of the pottery clay, if a white vessel with crazing is poured in with a dark colored liquid such as coffee, the pigment will settle and the color will never be removed again. Even if there is no problem with the use itself, the aesthetic appearance of the vessel will be spoiled.

On the other hand, for example, in the world of Japanese tea ceremony, there is also a sense of value that the penetration of matcha into a tea bowl creates a sense of taste, and that continued use over a long period of time “nurtures the vessel.” Penetration is not necessarily a defect of ceramics, but rather leads to an aesthetic sense that makes the vessel look beautiful depending on how you perceive it and how you think about it.


(Photo: Intentional penetration seen in tenmoku tea bowls)

Apart from things that are clearly considered to be dirt, in some cases, kannyu can also be established as a flavor, so it may not be possible to make a value judgment as to whether it is good or bad just because there is kannyu.

Penetration in ceramic plate

(Photo: Crane in the ceramic plate. Because it is applied thickly, the blue glaze inevitably contains fine cracks. It is a manufacturing method, so there is no particular crutch.)

About the post marks

There are two methods of kiln firing for ceramics: “single firing” and “layered firing”. Ichimai-yaki is a firing method in which ceramic wares are laid out one by one on the firing rack of the kiln so that they do not touch each other.

faience one piece kiln
(Photo: Single plate. Only the base red clay is visible on the hill where the glaze is not applied.)

On the other hand, kasane-yaki is a method of placing plates on top of one plate and stacking many plates on top of it for space saving and mass production. Between each piece of pottery that is stacked vertically, a support called a grill stand or hearth, or tochin in Japan, is inserted. Since the glaze is not applied to the part that touches the baking table during the kiln firing, the finished product will have dents that are the marks of the support of layered firing. Vintage Scandinavian tableware almost always has traces of these props.

kiln support marks

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

Post marks are not defects or scratches on the product, but are attached from the beginning due to the manufacturing method. In the case of vintage products, the pottery clay inside may be exposed and may look brown, but this is not a stain. Please understand it as one of the features of the product.

Berså cup

(Photo: The brown plateau seen in Berså, Gustavsberg . It is not dirty, but the earth color is exposed because the glaze is not applied during firing.)

See-through of the underlying potter's clay seen in Valencia, ARABIA

(Photo: The transparency of the groundwork clay that is often seen in Valencia, ARABIA . The glaze does not set on the high ground because it is difficult for the fire to circulate inside the kiln, and the soil color is visible.)