How Can You Tell If a Figurine Is Made out of Ceramic or Porcelain?

A figurine or a statue is a small sculpture that may represent an animal, human, or deity. Figurines are widely used as pieces for decoration as well. I see ancient temples filled with divine figurines, enhancing the beauty of the scene. But if you were wondering how to tell a difference between porcelain and ceramics figurine, keep reading.

Figurines are widely made up of porcelain and ceramics. The easiest way to identify a figurine is to examine the piece facing the light source. I prefer a certain method to analyze the material of the figurine.

Place your figurine up to the light and wave your hand back and forth behind it. If the figurine is porcelain, it will allow the shadow of your hand to pass through it, because of its translucence. If you follow the same method for the detection of ceramic, you will not notice any shadow as the ceramic is completely opaque.

What Is The Difference Between Ceramic And Porcelain Pottery?

Ceramic and porcelain are much used in pottery and the construction of aesthetic pieces. The main difference between ceramic pottery and porcelain pottery is the ingredients that they consist of. These ingredients give the materials their characteristic features.

The word “Porcelain” is derived from the Old Italian word “Porcelland”, which translates to a translucent surface. Porcelain is dense and is less prone to frost and moisture than ceramic. Porcelain is known to have a smooth surface that resembles an eggshell.

Porcelain figurines are made up of a mix of clay, silica, kaolin, feldspar, quartz, and various other materials which are nearly fired at 2600 degrees Fahrenheit. It can be divided into three types:

  • hard-paste porcelain
  • soft-paste porcelain 
  • bone porcelain.

Porcelain is more delicate than ceramic and has a thinner and whiter appearance. Porcelain also tends to produce a bell-like sound when a sharp object like a needle is run over it. This indicates the lightness and thin structure of the material.

Ceramics is a word that has been derived from the Greek word “karamikos”, which means pottery. Ceramic is composed of hard and brittle materials produced from non-metallic minerals. Ceramic pottery articles are made up of a mixture of water, natural clay, and organic material.

Ceramics are stronger and heavier than compared to porcelain. They have high a melting point, are not as smooth as porcelain, and are porous. They tend to produce a down and dull sound when a sharp object is run over them. There are four main types of ceramics: whitewares, structural, refractory, and technical.

Which Porcelain Is Worth Collecting?

The value prediction of a figurine can be a bit of a challenge as this depends upon several factors which vary from piece to piece. Here I will tell you some porcelain figurines which are worth collecting.

A Grand Adventure

One of the most expensive figurines ever created is a grand adventure. The term “porcelain diorama” is more accurate than “porcelain figurine” as it comprises an entire Fleet of people standing by the train. This figurine is visual on its own.

Price : 57.000 $ on lladro.com site
Flamenco Flair Woman


When we think of Spain, we think of flamenco. Flamenco is the traditional music in Southern Spain. This breath-taking figure shows a lady in a traditional red dress made with precision and detail, which symbolizes the folkloric tradition of the flamenco.

Price: 6.000 $

18th Century Coach



The figurine 18th-century coach is an incredible piece of art. The piece is appropriate with its name as it gives the visuals of transport in the old times. It displays four White horses leading a carriage similar to that in the old times.

Price: 49.000 $
The Fox Hunt



The fox hunt gives the picture of mounted hunters surrounded by hounds, setting out in the pursuit of a fox. The figurine is much colorful and realistic and displays the graphics of a hunting scene in the forest.

Price: 16.000 $
Cinderella’s Arrival


Cinderella’s arrival is another piece of art that is better described as a “porcelain diorama” than a “porcelain figure”. The masterpiece illustrates Cinderella stepping out of her enchanted carriage pulled by white horses. We can also see people looking at the magical scene from the balcony.

Price: 36.999 $ on Amazon

Dresden Lace Figurines


The Dresden lace figurines are the most expensive and delicate figurines available on the antique market. The Dresden lace figurines feature porcelain, tulle, and lace, which gives the sculpture a sense of realism and movement. Craftsmen make these delicate figurines with much precision.

Price: 500,00 $

Large Capodimonte Pieces


The Italian porcelain manufacturing company Capodimonte is understood for its exquisitely crafted chandeliers and figurines. Early figurines were white or ivory and had a shiny glaze, but later on, they evolved to be colorful and realistic. Large pieces can be costly as those can depict rare scenes.

Price: 200,00 – 500,00 $

What Determines The Value Of a Porcelain Doll?

Experienced antique doll connoisseurs can establish the approximate value of the doll by evaluating the dolls’ characteristics and features. Porcelain dolls in their original condition are always more valuable than those dolls which have undergone restoration work, so be sure to check for repairs.

Small chips may not seem to be a big deal, but even the smallest faults can reduce the value of a doll greatly. The same applies to spots and indications of wear and tear. The slightest speck over a porcelain doll may affect its appearance and hence decrease its value.

The better the general condition of your porcelain doll, the higher its value is going to be. While it is hard to seek out antique dolls in ideal conditions, there are still items in mint and even perfect mint condition Another way of determining the value of your porcelain doll is to check the manufacturer’s stamps and markings.

This makes it much easier to work out the worth of a porcelain doll, so always look for them on a doll. If it is impossible to work out the manufacturer, try to find any other markers or numbers from the porcelain molds on your doll. They can also help to a great extent to identify the item and its value.

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