Contrary to popular belief, Limoges
(pronounced "le moje") boxes are not produced by one big company
called "Limoges, Inc." Limoges is both a city and a region in France,
and porcelain works of art from this region can be designated, by French
law, as "Limoges Porcelain". In this region, a number of artists and
craftsmen, some working independently, and others working as part of a
larger factory, produce the boxes known as "Limoges boxes".
a practical item for, among other uses, the storage of snuff, Limoges boxes
have evolved over their 200-plus year history into decorative works of art
cherished by collectors around the world. Several good books are
available to tell the complete history of Limoges boxes; see our
recommendations on our Limoges books
page. A collector new to the hobby would do well to make a Limoges
book one of his first purchases.
boxes enter the United States through various importing companies, some of
whom have their own manufacturing facilities in Limoges, France. The
importers have their own rich history; see "Limoges Importers" below for more information.
Limoges box is a hand crafted work of art. Small imperfections are
natural and are part of their charm and uniqueness. Each photograph
shown is a representative sample of a box. The colors and brush
strokes will vary with each individual piece, sometimes significantly.
This may be exaggerated by the differences in color on different computer
systems and monitors. Additionally, the clasp may vary from piece to
piece. Because of this, the box being sold will not
match the photograph exactly. All measurements are approximated to
the nearest quarter inch.
boxes are marked to indicate the level of hand painting. Peint Main
or Decor Main means the box is completely hand painted. Boxes marked
Rehausse Main have been decorated with a combination of transfer painting
and hand painting. The initials/marks on the bottom of each box will
sometimes vary since we acquire our boxes through many different sources,
but the degree of hand painting will always be consistent among samples of
the same box.
How to Open Your Limoges Box
Before attempting to open your Limoges box,
please carefully read these instructions:
Make sure clasp on front of metal band is facing you
Place thumbnails in between the two halves of the metal bands (rims)
Gently pull thumbnails in opposite directions until box opens. The clasp is decorative only and does not cause the box to
snap open or closed.
NEVER pull on the porcelain to open the box. NEVER pull on the clasp. NEVER try to force the box open. NEVER
use a knife blade or sharp object to open the box - it may scratch the rim or puncture your hand!
Once opened, never pressure the hinge to go backwards if there is resistance... that is designed into the box. NEVER slam
the box closed, as this may cause the porcelain to crack or break.
Invariably, your friends will want to open your boxes, and that's generally asking for trouble. It's best if you open the
box for your friend, and hand it to him or her open.
Limoges boxes are made in France and may be imported to the US by many
different importers. The exact same box may be available from several
different importers who may also choose to have the box customized (e.g.,
their company name painted on it or the boxes numbered in a Limited
Some of the
larger importers that have become well known names in the Limoges porcelain
business are Artoria, Chamart and Chanille. These companies are not
only importers, they also own the Limoges factories and therefore can offer
Limoges boxes that are unique and are only available through them.
The boxes are usually numbered as part of a Limited Edition and are almost
always completely hand painted, although there are exceptions.
GroundStrike purchases Limoges boxes only from the highest quality importers, including: