Identifying porcelain pottery markings involves comparing them to photographs in porcelain collectors' guides and consulting experienced porcelain enthusiasts. The length of time required to identify a mark depends on its rarity and condition. To identify porcelain markings, you need collectors' guides, Internet access and a digital camera.
- Photograph the markings
Place the pottery in a well-lit location, and photograph it from all angles. Take photographs of any markings, and also take pictures of the entire item. Natural light is preferable because it produces the most accurate color representation. Avoid taking photographs under fluorescent lights.
- Upload the photographs
Upload the photographs to your computer or an online cloud service.
- Compare the markings to collectors' guides and databases
Compare the marks to those in collectors' guides and databases. If you own any pattern and marking books, search them first. Otherwise, begin your search online. Use your photographs as a reference.
- Consult experts
Seek expert advice regarding marks not found in databases and marking books. Many antique dealers, auctioneers and experienced porcelain collectors have impressive knowledge of obscure marks. They are also often able to identify damaged and partial marks. Porcelain collectors' clubs are another potentially valuable source of information. Ask local antique dealers for information about clubs in your region.