Why French Limoges Boxes Are So Collectible
Author: Vivianne Smith
If you have had the privilege of witnessing the manufacture of French Limoges boxes from start to finish, your admiration for these true works of art would increase a thousand fold! Limoges, France is world-famous for its porcelain. Limoges boxes, small trinket or pill boxes, have been meticulously crafted in the Limousine region of central France since the 1700s. Today, very few select craftsmen are left in Limoges who still create these labor-intensive art pieces exactly in the same manner as in the 1700s.
A Limoges box is made in two or more parts. Each part is made in a separate mold. After allowing it time to set, the pieces are removed from the mold, are hand-sponged to smooth and remove any extra particles. The pieces are then fired in a special kiln. During this firing, each piece may shrink about 15%. The shrinkage causes each piece to take on a slightly variant shape from any other from the same mold.
After the pieces cool, they are glazed and fired in the kiln again at a very high temperature. Now the pieces are ready to receive artwork. Each piece is exquisitely hand-painted by a Limoges artist, one color at-a-time! With each additional color, the Limoges receives another round of firing (3-4 or even up to 7-8 firings).
Among numerous colors used, some boxes are decorated with 24K gold and/or chrome, which gives the Limoges box a beautiful gold or silver shine. Once the Limoges box parts have been fully painted and have gone through several rounds of firings in the kiln, they are ready to be hinged. The hinging process is an art form in itself and is performed by highly skilled craftsmen. As each piece is unique, the brass hinge has to be individually cut and fitted to it.
Once the hinges are fitted and braised, they are then submerged in acid for a few hours to develop an antiqued patina. They are then adhered to each piece of porcelain by hand. A decorative clasp is also added and the Limoges box is ready to be admired and cherished by a collector!
Limoges boxes are made in a vast variety of styles and themes for every taste and area of interest. As well as being beautifully hand-painted on the outside, some have a painting inside the box. Other Limoges boxes come with a tiny accessory piece inside. Many Limoges boxes are only made in limited editions and bear the numbers at the base. However, many artists have produced only a few of each piece.
Limoges boxes can cost between $75 to $500 or more, depending on the shape, color diversity and artistic efforts expended on the piece.
For more information about Limoges boxes and to view a large selection of Limoges boxes, please visit www.LimogesBoxCollector.com . Grand Dezign offers an extensive selection of exquisite Limoges boxes made by the most artistic Limoges artisans at www.LimogesBoxCollector.com . Grand Dezign is a direct importer of Limoges boxes, working with the most artistic ateliers and manufacturing workshops in Limoges. Grand Dezign also offers a large selection of retired and rare pieces, especially the highly sought-after, retired Walt Disney Limoges collection made by Artoria Limoges.
About the Author
Vivianne Smith is a an author with expertise in porcelain and fine china collectibles. Her travels to Europe and visiting many manufacturers' factories and workshops has provided her with a wealth of information regarding the production of these works of art.