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Limoges Boxes
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".

Originally 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.

Limoges 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.

Every 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.

Limoges 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:

  1. Make sure clasp on front of metal band is facing you

  2. Place thumbnails in between the two halves of the metal bands (rims)

  3. 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.

  4. 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!

  5. 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.

  6. 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 Importers
Authentic 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 Edition).

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:

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