crazing floral vintage china plate closeup

What’s crazing and is it bad?

Have you ever seen a piece of china that kind of looks like it’s covered with interconnected, hair-line thin cracks?  Or maybe just a cluster or two of tiny crackles that resemble a spider's web?

Yep, that’s called crazing and it’s very common in antique and vintage dinnerware and serving pieces.

While not everyone appreciates these cracks from an aesthetic perspective, crazing does not impact the utility of the underlying piece of china/ceramic/porcelain/pottery. Rather, it means there are teeny tiny surface-level cracks in the fired glaze of the piece. Basically, once china has been decorated, a liquid glass a.k.a "glaze" is added to protect and enhance the design of the piece and make it impermeable/food safe.  

What causes crazing:

Crazing can be caused by a variety of factors, but generally it’s due to age. As Tania of Little Vintage Cottage describes it, “much like humans with wrinkles developing as we age, pottery develops crazing “wrinkles” as it ages.

Other crazing catalysts include:

  • moisture damage (i.e. exposure to moisture over time)
  • fluctuations in temperature and humidity (can happen when sets are stored in the garage in non-temperate climates)
  • being repeatedly jostled in storage

Crazing can happen with new pieces as well. Factors such as the composition and thickness of the glaze applied, the firing temperature and the rate at which pieces are cooled also affect the rate of shrinkage of a piece and its relationship to the glaze. {source: The Teacup Attic}

Does The Brooklyn Teacup sell products with crazing?

You may encounter “light crazing” in some of our products. 

Rest assured that we would not sell anything that we felt would compromise the beauty of the piece. For example, we do not sell any items that are stained or chipped or have discolored crazing (like below), which is typically the result of oils, tea/coffee, or other solutions settling into the cracks over time.

Cleaning Your Bone China From Discolored or Stained Crazing

photo credit to The Vintage Teacup

However, all of our products are vintage or “pre-loved,” as we like to call it. It’s what gives our pieces their unique beauty and character—It’s also what sometimes makes them craze.

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