Top 10 Things Shoppers Want to Know Before Buying A Limoges Box
Purchasing valuable objects online have become the norm in the internet age. Shoppers that only made purchases from brick and mortar stores in the past, are now quite comfortable buying online. Not only that, but shopping internationally has also become very common. With credit card companies offering secure transaction protection and purchase safety, shoppers can now be quite at ease when making purchases online with the great convenience of shopping at home.
When it comes to purchasing a Limoges box either for their
own collection or as a gift, those who are not very familiar with these
collectible art pieces, may have some questions or concern in buying them
online. Before purchasing a Limoges
porcelain box online, shoppers, and especially first-time buyers, would be much
more confident in knowing the answers to certain questions. Below are the top 10 questions on the minds
of shoppers, with answers and a shopping guide to finding the perfect Limoges
box for your collection or the perfect gift.
How can I be sure a Limoges box is
The authenticity of a Limoges box comes from the insignia that can be found at the base or in the interior of the Limoges box. A genuine French Limoges box bears the stamp or hand-inscribed insignia of the artist. In order for the Limoges box to be authentic, it must be completely produced in Limoges, France. Limoges artists, workshops or factories sign their creations in various ways. Some use a stamp (under the glaze), some use a combination of a stamp as well as hand-signing the piece with their initial and/or number, and others only sign their creations by hand. All these methods are quite common and completely acceptable as proof of authenticity. The markings in the insignia of a hand-painted Limoges box must include: “Peint Main,” “Peint a la Main” or “Décor Main” which means the piece is painted and decorated by hand. The insignia must also include “Limoges France” designating the country of manufacture. If you want to know more about the authenticity of Limoges boxes, see How to tell if a Limoges box is authentic.
There are many replicas and Limoges-style boxes offered
online. Many shoppers buy a fake Limoge
box without realizing that it is a knock off.
To be sure you are getting the highest quality authentic French Limoges
box, it is best to purchase it from a reputable Limoges dealer or importer who
offers 100% guarantee of authenticity.
2. How do I determine the quality of a Limoges box?
The quality of porcelain and artwork of a Limoges box can vary dramatically depending on numerous factors. Some Limoges styles are very simple with small amount of hand-painting while others may only have decals as decoration. The painting on a Limoges box can also have quite a bit of difference in quality. Some boxes have additional artwork in the interior or an accessory porcelain piece inside. There are various artists in Limoges whose artwork and skills are at differing levels. Only a select group of Limoges artists are regarded as master artisans whose creations are considered art pieces. Limoges boxes hand-painted by such artists with elaborate paintings are of much higher quality.
Importers and dealers who only work with the top artists in
Limoges can be relied upon to offer Limoges boxes that are of the highest
quality porcelain, craftsmanship and painting.
What brands of Limoges boxes are the
Contrary to what some may think, “Limoges” is not a
brand. All Limoges boxes produced in the
Limousine region of France are considered authentic. There are various porcelain factories in this
region that produce Limoges products such as tableware, decorative items as
well as miniature Limoges boxes. Limoges
boxes are produced under many brands and some are crafted by independent
artists with no specific brand name. Brands
such as Artoria, Beauchamp, Rochard, Chamart, and others, use the services of various
artists in Limoges whose expertise and artistry in porcelain painting are at
different levels. Many of the current
Limoges producers have very high levels of artistry and workmanship. There are also many brands that are retired
and no longer in production, such as Chanille, PV, and others. Some Limoges boxes produced under such brands
are also of high quality.
4. How can I know if a Limoges box is painted by hand?
The Limoges artist community is very strict in adhering to
the correct designation for all pieces produced. All hand-painted Limoges boxes are marked as
“Peint Main” or “Peint a la Main” as to authenticate that the Limoges is indeed
painted by hand. Some boxes can have a
combination of an artist hand-applied decal as well as hand-painting
enhancements. Such Limoges boxes are
marked “Rehaussé Main,” meaning enhanced by hand. Certain boxes, such as some cobalt blue
styles, have only decals as decoration.
These boxes are marked as “Limoges, France” with no mention of
5. Why are Limoges boxes so expensive?
Shoppers who have newly been familiarized with French
Limoges boxes may wonder why these tiny objects are so highly priced. Limoges artistry is considered a Rare France
Craft. Created by master artisans in the
Limousine region of central France, Limoges boxes are made through a very
lengthy and labor-intensive process.
Each stage of the porcelain creation, glazing and multiple firings
requires great skill and takes up to several days for a white porcelain piece
to be crafted. The painting is then
performed by a porcelain painter. The
artist applies designs in various colors, which are minerals mixed with special
oils. The painting is done is multiple
stages as each mineral needs to be fired at a different temperature. Therefore, the more colors used in a Limoges
box, the more times it needs to be fired.
The final stage of the Limoges creation is metalwork which is performed
by a specialized Limoges metal craftsman.
The hinging process is quite lengthy and complicated. Porcelain pieces shrink and slightly change
in size and shape when fired. Therefore,
each porcelain piece receives an individual hand-fitted metal piece crafted by
hand for its specific size. This
complicated process by multiple Limoges artisans creates a work of art that is
truly worthy of its high value.
6. Where are Limoges boxes made?
As mentioned above, in order for a Limoges box to be authentic, it must be produced in the Limousine region of central France, which includes the city of Limoges as well as its surrounding towns and villages. There are various small porcelain factories in and around Limoges that produce the white porcelain. Some factories have their own decorators who paint the porcelain by hand. Other workshops and independent artists obtain the white porcelain shapes from porcelain factories and paint them in their own studios. The final stage of completing a Limoges box is metalwork which is performed by specialty porcelain metal artists in Limoges.
To know more about Limoges, France, its history, sites and so much more, see About Limoges France.
7. What is a Retired Limoges box?
Many collectors prefer retired and vintage Limoges boxes not only for their beauty and style but also because many such styles have become quite hard-to-find. A Limoges box is considered “retired” for various reasons. Below are three of the most common reasons:
- The full limited edition number for the style of Limoges box was produced. The Limoges box created with that specific design, coloring or shape is then retired.
- The factory, workshop or studio where the Limoges box was produced has closed and the style and mark of the factory is retired as a result.
- The artist who produced the certain style is no longer producing. All his/her creations are then retired.
8. Where can I buy Limoges boxes online?
Limoges boxes are offered for sale on various websites. Some websites specialize and are dedicated only to Limoges while others offer them as a segment of many other products. You can find Limoges boxes on auctions sites and collectibles sites as well.
In order to be sure you are purchasing an authentic Limoges
box with the highest quality, a trusted website that offers a very large selection
imported directly from Limoges, France is a great source. Shoppers look for websites that not only
offer the highest quality Limoges boxes at reasonable prices but, also provide
100% authenticity guarantee, fast shipping and excellent customer service.
with two decades of serving collectors and gift shoppers in the US and
internationally, offers a vast selection of French Limoges boxes for every
taste and style preference.
9. Do Limoges boxes retain their value?
Those of you who love and collect French porcelain Limoges boxes
will be very happy to know that your cherished collectibles are not only highly
sought after but their value is continuously on the rise. Limoges boxes are not mass-produced. All are made in limited editions, whether
they are marked as such or not, and many styles are crafted in small
numbers. This makes any style of Limoges
box highly desirable. The value of
Limoges boxes in general has increased consistently over the decades. In recent years, as more and more people have
come to love and collect these beautiful objects in the United States, these
treasured art pieces have enjoyed a rapid appreciation in value. Many retired Limoges styles, especially those
licensed by companies Disney, Coca Cola and Peanuts, among others, have
increased dramatically in value.
Do Limoges boxes serve any purpose?
As beautiful miniature art pieces, Limoges boxes are wonderful decorative collectibles to display and enhance the décor of any home or place of business.
Originally, when snuff-taking was in vogue, Limoges boxes were used mainly as snuff boxes. They were also used as pill boxes or to hold other tiny objects such as sewing pins, a lock of hair or even to hold a small love note. Today, other than being decorative art pieces, Limoges boxes are still known and used as pill boxes. Many give a gift of a Limoges box for a newborn to hold baby teeth or a lock of hair. Limoges boxes, depending on their size, can hold rings, earrings and other jewelry pieces as well as other small objects – that is left to the imagination of the beholder.
Now take a moment to browse the extensive selection of over 2,200 styles of French peint main Limoges boxes at LimogesCollector.com. You can find Limoges boxes for every occasion or just for fun. If you are not ready to buy right now, you can just login and place any pieces that catch your fancy into your “Wish List” for later.