Vintage Teacup Company - Vintage & Antique Glossary

Vintage & Antique Glossary Definitions


  • Agateware: Pottery decorated with a mix of colored clays, mimicking agate stones.
  • Antique: Items over 100 years old.
  • Art Deco: A style of visual arts, architecture, and design that first appeared in France before World War I and became prominent in the 1920s and 1930s.
  • Aynsley: British Manufacturer of China in England.


  • Biscuit: Unglazed porcelain or pottery after its first firing.
  • Bisque: Unglazed porcelain or pottery.
  • Bone China: A type of porcelain made with bone ash.


  • Cake Plate/Sandwich Plate/ Serving Plate - This is the larger plate from a teaset, in the range of 81/2" and 10".
  • Cameo Glass: Glassware featuring a raised design, typically in a contrasting color, created by etching or carving away parts of the glass.
  • Celadon: A type of glaze that gives a jade-green color.
  • Ceramics: Objects made from clay and fired in a kiln.
  • Chintz: Ceramic items with a glazed floral design.


  • Damascene: Metal items with inlaid patterns of gold or silver.
  • Decanter: A vessel used to hold the decantation of a liquid.
  • Delftware: Blue and white pottery made in and around Delft in the Netherlands from the 16th century.
  • Dinner Service - a complete set of dishes and utensils intended for use during dinner. It typically includes plates of various sizes for different courses, bowls, serving dishes, and sometimes matching cups and saucers. The design and number of pieces can vary, but the set is designed to provide a cohesive look for formal dining or special occasions
  • Dunting: Cracks in pottery caused by thermal shock during cooling.


  • Earthenware: A common ceramic material, which is less expensive and less durable than stoneware or porcelain.
  • Enamel: A glassy, decorative coating fused to metal or pottery.
  • Engobe: A slip applied to pottery for coloring or improving texture.
  • Epergne: An ornate centerpiece for dining tables, often with branches for holding fruits or sweets.


  • Faience: A form of tin-glazed pottery.
  • Favrile Glass: A type of iridescent glass developed by Louis Comfort Tiffany.
  • Fine China: High-quality porcelain or bone china.
  • Frit: A ceramic composition that has been fused in a special fusing oven, quenched to form a glass, and granulated.


  • Gilding: The application of gold leaf or gold paint.
  • Grisaille: A painting technique using shades of gray to create a sculpture-like appearance, applied to ceramics as well.
  • Grotesque: A decorative style featuring fantastical human and animal forms intertwined.
  • Grueby Faience: An American pottery company known for its distinctive matte green glaze.


  • Hallmark: A mark indicating the purity of the metal and the maker.
  • Harlequin Set: A set of china or glassware where each piece is a different color, but the shapes and patterns are the same.
  • Herend: A Hungarian manufacturer established in 1826, known for its hand-painted, gilt porcelain.
  • Honeyware: Earthenware with a honey-colored glaze.


  • Incised Mark: Marks carved into pottery or porcelain, often used by manufacturers as identification.
  • Intaglio: A design incised or engraved into a material.
  • Ironstone: A type of stoneware.
  • Iznik: High-quality Turkish pottery decorated with bright colors and often floral designs.


  • Jackfield: A type of pottery known for its black glaze and typically decorated with gold leaf.
  • Jasperware: A type of pottery developed by Josiah Wedgwood.
  • Jolleying: A process used to shape the inside of a pot while the clay is leather-hard.
  • Jugendstil: The German name for Art Nouveau, a style of art, architecture, and applied art especially associated with Germany and Austria.


  • Kaolin: A fine, white clay used in making porcelain.
  • Kiln: A furnace or oven for firing pottery.
  • Kintsugi: The Japanese art of repairing broken pottery with lacquer mixed with powdered gold, silver, or platinum.
  • Kraak Porcelain: A type of Chinese export porcelain from the Ming dynasty, characterized by its blue and white designs.


  • Limoges: Porcelain produced in the Limoges region of France.
  • Limoges: Refers to several factories in the Limoges region of France, known for producing fine porcelain since the late 18th century.
  • Lunéville: French faience pottery known for its robust and colorful designs.
  • Lustre Decoration: Metallic glazes applied to pottery for a shimmering effect.
  • Lustreware: Pottery or porcelain with a metallic glaze that gives the effect of iridescence.


  • Majolica: Earthenware with colorful glazes.
  • Meissen Porcelain: High-quality porcelain made by the Meissen factory in Germany, the first European manufacturer of porcelain.
  • Meissen: Founded in 1710 in Germany, Meissen is recognized as the first porcelain manufacturer in Europe.
  • Mid-Century - design trends from roughly the mid-20th century, particularly the 1950s and 1960s. It's characterized by clean lines, organic shapes, and a seamless integration of form and function. This style often includes the use of new materials and technologies of the era, reflecting a post-war optimism and modernity. Mid-century design is noted for its simplicity, minimalism, and the use of vibrant colors alongside traditional materials like wood, metal, and glass.
  • Minton: A major English pottery manufacturer, known for its fine bone china and.
  • Minton: Founded in 1793 in England, Minton is known for its high-quality porcelain, fine bone china and decorative tiles
  • Mocha Ware: Earthenware decorated with dendritic patterns.


  • Netsuke: Small, intricately carved figures from Japan, originally used as toggles for hanging items from the sash of a kimono.
  • Nippon: Japanese porcelain made for export during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
  • Noritake: A Japanese brand established in 1904, famous for its innovative designs and quality dinnerware.


  • Onglaze: Decoration applied on top of the glaze and then fired at a lower temperature.
  • Opaline: A type of glass with an opalescent finish.
  • Ormolu: A technique used to imitate gold, involving applying finely ground, high-karat gold in a mercury amalgam to an object of bronze.
  • Overlay Glass: Glass with multiple layers of different colors, often cut to create designs.


  • Pâte-sur-pâte: A method of porcelain decoration in which a relief design is created by applying layers of porcelain slip.
  • Peel: A tool used to place or remove pottery from the kiln.
  • Pilgrim Glass: A type of glass characterized by its simplicity and often found in colonial American settings.
  • Porcelain: A white, translucent ceramic.


  • Quartz Inversion: A sudden expansion or contraction of silica materials in clay at certain temperatures.
  • Quartz: Used here to refer to antique items made of or featuring quartz in clocks, watches, or decorative items.
  • Queen Anne: A style of furniture or decorative arts from the reign of Queen Anne of England.
  • Quimper: Hand-painted, faience pottery from the Brittany region of France.


  • Raku Firing: A low-fire pottery technique with a quick heating and cooling process, creating unique finishes.
  • Reticulated: Pottery or porcelain that has been cut out to create a lattice or openwork effect.
  • Rococo: An 18th-century decorative style.
  • Royal Copenhagen: Founded in 1775, this Danish manufacturer is celebrated for its high-quality porcelain items.
  • Royal Doulton: A British company founded in 1815, renowned for its tableware and collectibles.


  • Sagger: A container used in kilns to protect or contain pottery during firing.
  • Saltglaze Pottery: Pottery with a glaze formed by throwing salt into the kiln during the firing process, creating a textured surface.
  • Sevres Porcelain: High-quality porcelain produced in the Sèvres area of France, known for its rich colors and detailed gilding.
  • Sevres: A prestigious French porcelain manufacturer known for its luxury goods, established in the mid-18th century.
  • Spode: A British brand established in 1770, known for its bone china and blue and white earthenware.
  • Sterling Silver: Silver of 92.5% purity.


  • Tea-plate: A small plate - approx 7” for biscuits
  • Teacup: A universally recognised drinking vessel
  • Teacup Trio: A tea cup, saucer and matching tea plate
  • Terracotta: A hard, brownish-red earthenware.
  • Toby Jug: A pottery jug in the form of a seated person, or a head, typically a famous person or character.
  • Tortoiseshell: A material made from the shells of turtles, used in antique items for its decorative appearance.
  • Transferware: Ceramics with patterns applied by transferring ink from a paper to the object.


  • Umbrella Stand: A stand designed for holding umbrellas, often decorative and made from various materials including porcelain and metal.
  • Underglaze: A method of decorating pottery where the decoration is applied before the glaze.
  • Unguentarium: A small ceramic or glass bottle found in ancient Roman sites, used to hold oils or perfumes.
  • Urn: A decorative container, often used for ashes of the deceased, but in antique terms, can refer to large decorative vases.


  • Vermeil: Silver-gilt or gilded silver, a combination of silver and gold, often used in jewelry and decorative arts.
  • Victorian: Pertaining to the reign of Queen Victoria and the style of the era.
  • Vintage: Design, fashion, or decor that emulates trends, patterns, and materials characteristic of past eras, typically at least 20 years old. This style is celebrated for its nostalgic appeal, craftsmanship, and the unique character of items that represent specific periods in history. Vintage style often incorporates elements from various decades, blending them into contemporary contexts while preserving their historical essence and aesthetic value
  • Vitrification: The process of firing pottery to the point where it becomes glass-like and impermeable to water.
  • Vitrine: A glass display cabinet.


  • Wax Portrait: Miniature portraits made from wax, popular in the 17th and 18th centuries.
  • Wedging: A method of kneading clay to remove air bubbles and prepare it for use.
  • Wedgwood: An iconic British brand established in 1759 by Josiah Wedgwood, known for its fine bone china and stoneware.
  • Whieldon Ware: A type of ceramics produced by Thomas Whieldon in England in the mid-18th century, known for its tortoiseshell glazing.


  • X-ray Fluorescence (XRF): A technique used in authenticating antique metals.
  • XVIII Century: Referring to 18th-century items, often used to describe items from the 1700s, especially in terms of style and craftsmanship.


  • Yardlong Print: A type of print that is roughly a yard long, often of subjects such as flowers or birds, popular in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
  • Yellowware: A type of earthenware made from clay that is yellow when fired.
  • Yixing: A type of Chinese pottery made from Yixing clay.


  • Zaffer: A cobalt oxide used in ceramics to produce blue coloring.
  • Zsolnay: A Hungarian manufacturer known for its porcelain and stoneware.