Crazing is when a spiderweb of hairline cracks appear on an item. This is most common with pottery.
I am not talking about a chip. A large crack. Or even a small crack. Crazing refers a number of ‘lines’ that appear on pottery objects, such as ceramic cookie jars, where one could not even realize these are actually hairline cracks unless they rubbed their fingernail across the pottery.
On the one hand, obviously the better the condition an item is in the more valuable it is. However, with older products, those dating back before World War II, finding an item in perfect condition is either impossible or rare, or they are now so valuable as to be priced out of most people’s ranges.
So we are left with imperfect collectibles.
Crazing can result simply from age. Old ceramics were not necessarily well made. Perhaps made great according to the technology of the time, but certainly production machines today are nothing like from years gone by.
Crazing can also result from humidity or temperature, or simply moving an item which causes unseen vibrations.
So what does it mean if there is crazing on an old ceramic collectible?
But consider the flip side – which is really where I want to lead you in this article…
Fakes can be a real problem in the collectibles world. Cheap knockoffs and fakes are easy to make today. Especially from place like China.
However, fakes and knockoffs made today are going be in perfect condition.
There is no crazing. It is virtually impossible to replicate crazing.
So what does it mean if you see an advertised 1920s collectible that does not have any crazing? Unless the price is very, very high, and there is some reliable authentication of the item – your red flags should be going off in your head. You should be thinking this is not authentic.
But if there is crazing? Ironically, that imperfection may worth a whole lot more because your item is the real deal.