Correctly identifying Canadian Blue Mountain Pottery (BMP) is necessary to be certain of authenticity and value, especially if the piece appears to be vintage or rare. This may not be an exact science, but in many instances you can postively identify BMP so that a collector can enjoy pride of ownership.
Learn the history of Blue Mountain Pottery. Interesting by itself, this pottery was created by Czechoslovakian Jozo Weider as a means of financing his dream to develop a ski area near Collingwood in the Blue Mountains of Ontario in the late 1940s.
Beyond interest, all historical background contributes to collector expertise. The fact that early BMP associates moved out on their own and the factory changed ownership several times indicates there may be confounding similarities.
Look for specific characteristics. Examine applied marks, which vary from Weider's earliest through different owners. Ink stamps, incised or raised marks may be worn from use or condition and you will need a magnifying glass to examine them. The Canadian Pottery Identifier website shows photos of most of Blue Mountain Pottery marks.
Look at the colors. The traditional, most recognized color is a streaked green and blue tone, but additional colors and color combinations were later added.
Recognize specific designs. The range was extensive, from a variety of animals, vases and jugs and kitchenware to complete tea sets. Visit the "Granny of Blue Mountain Pottery" website to see a collection of over 2,000 pieces.
Compare the piece with known examples. Locate other examples of this particular piece and compare it with other potter's similar designs. For example, is the "reflow decorating" glaze consistent with Blue Mountain Pottery? Are the handles of a jug the same as originals or reversed, as shown in comparison photos by The Canadian Pottery Identifier?
Get expert opinion. An evaluation or appraisal from a reputable dealer or expert collector may confirm or deny authenticity. A camera is a vital tool here, since BMP collectors and experts are worldwide, located in England, Australia, Germany, Bermuda, West Indies and New Zealand, as well as Canada and U.S.A.
Research provenance on a piece. If you believe a specific piece of pottery to be Blue Mountain, is there an actual history of ownership? Where did it come from and can that be verified by a bill of sale or family photos that include the piece? This information offers assurance of authenticity.
- Magnifying glass
BMP originally used a local red clay and later a mix of red and white.
Other potters never successfully reproduced the streaked green glaze.
Number markings may be the same for different colors, indicating the firing group rather than individual design.
Always be wary of misrepresentation. The closure of the last Blue Mountain Pottery factory in 2004 has increased both collector interest and prices for vintage pieces and the more unusual colors. Be wary of the use of similar glazing techniques and colors, the use of BMP stickers and counterfeit markings.