Wedgwood is a family name, a company name, and the name used for one of their products. The company was established in the mid 1700s by Josiah Wedgwood. It had quite an extensive catalog of items, but its main staple was called jasperware. This was simply a type of stoneware characterized by its matte finish (as opposed to a glossy/shiny finish).
Jasperware has since become synonymous with the word Wedgwood, though there are subtle differences that serious collectors will be sure to point out. For the purpose of this post, however, I’m just going to refer to it as Wedgwood.
1. Neoclassical themes. These were quite popular as there was a high interest in ancient cultures during this moment in time. Designs included those borrowed from the Romans, the Greeks, and the Egyptians.
2. Colors. The most common color is a light blue, but the second most common would probably be the green. Most colors are pale and muted, but there are some darker versions. Some Wedgwood is even colored black.
3. White accents. The typical white accents are raised against the background of the piece.
4. Stamps. Wedgwood is almost always stamped. I’ve read that some of the very old pieces might not have a mark, but almost everything else does. The most common stamps read, “Wedgwood England” or “Wedgwood Made in England.” Another common one is “Wedgwood of Etruria & Barlaston.” Their icon is typically an urn.
How to spot a fake:
These are hard and fast rules to live by. If your piece has one or more of these characteristics, it’s not Wedgwood/jasperware.
1. If it’s glossy, it’s not Wedgwood. Jasperware ALWAYS has a matte finish.
2. If the white accents are not raised, it’s not Wedgwood. Some of the fakes just paint the designs on.
3. If it’s stamped “Wedgewood” (with that extra ‘e’), it’s not Wedgwood. In addition, there’s a company out there called Enoch Wedgwood of Tunstall, whose icon is a unicorn. This is not at all related to the Wedgwood company we’re talking about.
I’m sure there are always exceptions to the rules, but I don’t know of any. Wedgwood isn’t uncommon, but it is still collectible. There’s a lot of it out there, so chances are you do have the real deal.
Have you come across any real or fake Wedgwood? What’s your favorite Wedgwood piece you’ve seen? I think the smoking set pictured above is pretty neat looking!