In an era long ago, back before microwaves and cell phones, the family dinner reigned supreme. And, to set the mood, tables were set with dinnerware. Of course, there was fine china for special occasions, but for daily dinners in the 1940's and 50's, Jadeite dinnerware was popular. Because of the memories associated with these pieces, they've now gained popularity as collector's items.

Here's a few new pieces at Amazon:

Read on to learn a little about the history and to find out what to look for when starting a collection.

In the 1960's, McKee mass-produced the first set of Jadeite dinnerware, with a characteristic frilly pattern. Soon after, the Anchor Hocking Company started a new line called Fire-King, which featured heat-resistant plates in a color they called "Jadite." and the product took off. Immediately, they were popular in establishments such as restaurants and hotels, where keeping food warm was a necessity. And soon, these pieces made it into local homes, because many people found them both inexpensive and attractive.

Finding Pieces
Jadeite dinnerware is, admittedly, a challenge to find, which is part of the fun. Because these pieces were inexpensive, they were not meant to be particularly durable, outside of heat-resistance. However, if you can find genuine pieces, they can be quite lucrative; many pieces are selling for $5000 or more these days. Thrift stores are an excellent place to start, as many people donate the contents of an estate after a loved one passes on. Potential collectors should look for a distinctive light green color that is inconsistent between pieces or even on the same dish. While a flawless piece would certainly be desired, some chips and cracks are expected, particularly because it was meant to be an inexpensive option. Pieces made by Anchor Hocking will have the words "Fire King" branded on the back of the dish; similarly, those made by McKee will have the letters "McK" written on the back.

Reproductions and Forgeries
Because Jadite dinnerware has seen an increase in popularity over time, the manufacturers have released subsequent lines throughout the history of the their brands. With Fire King, these will feature a number, such as "2000" along with the brand name. Many original pieces are unmarked, but a true piece of Jadeite from the above manufacturers will be free of any obvious seams or structural deformities, whereas a shoddy reproduction will likely contain those faults. Reproductions are also often a slightly different size than the originals; a quick search online will help you to determine whether the piece you are examining is genuine or not.

Online Auctions
As with many things, online auctions can be an excellent place to find a deal. However, they can also be risky; as mentioned above, forgeries do exist. Before purchasing from an auction, be sure to research the piece and to verify that the seller will guarantee its authenticity. Also by checking the feedback comments you can find out quickly that the seller is fair.   Believe me the Jadeite Dinnerware collectors will not put up with any shady stuff without letting the rest of the community know in the comments and ratings area.

Because of the memories it evokes, collecting Jadeite dinnerware has become popular. Whether you are adding it to your collection or just looking for a unique piece for daily use, these dishes are well worth the search.

Filed under: Jadite Dishes