Antique Terms Explained

The world of antiques is fascinating and beautiful but it can for the majority of people be confusing and when listening to others in the trade that have years of experience you may think they are talking in a foreign language. If you want to get ahead in the world of antiques then it is essential that you understand what others are talking about, so here is the technical jargon and terms explained in an easy to understand way.

The term antique can be confusing to start with, an item is classed as antique if it is 100 years or older, however in some cases an item can be considered antique if it fifty years or more.

Firing cracks is a term that is used in the collection of pottery, this occurs during the baking of the pot in the kiln and it is not actually classed as damage.

The word circa is often used in antiques and this is usually represented by the letter C in front of a date, what this means is hat the item in question can be dated ten years either way from the date that is quoted as a guide.

Soft paste and hard paste are both terms used when talking about porcelain; hard paste porcelain usually comes from Europe while soft paste is usually made in Britain and in some cases France.

When antiques are classed as being in the Victorian period they are usually divided into three different times, early, middle and late Victorian periods this particular applies to furniture and ceramic pieces.

Periods of time are also defined as Elizabethan, Queen Anne, Carolean, Mary and Georgian. They are classed as Edwardian if the item if they are dated 1901 to World War one.

Staffordshire is a word that is used in the collection of pottery particularly if it comes from Britain. This is the area that the pottery was made and includes such as Royal Doulton and Wedgwood pottery pieces.

Enamel is the word that is used to describe the material and in particular the type of paint that was used to decorate porcelain and pottery especially plates.

Jasperware is a term that is used in pottery and especially when it comes to Wedgwood pottery, in fact it was Wedgwood that invented the jasperware process; it is most famous for its representation of classical scenes in relief in white.

Art deco is the term used to describe the decorating techniques and architecture with the most common materials used in these pieces being metal and steel which are well known for portraying geometric shapes.

Baroque is a term used to describe art and architecture that was from Europe ad mainly Italy during the late 16th and early 17th century. The style is typified by the use of very ornate scrolls and curves which was in fashion between 1660 and 1730.

Britannia standard was the first ever silver mark indicating that a particular piece was made of sterling silver with a purity of 92.5%