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Dubarry (Porcelaine de France) is a family owned business and has been producing Limoges boxes for half a century.  They have established a reputation for producing a high quality Limoges Porcelain, specializing in hand painted designs, and they are proud to be classified among the best in the field.

Classical beautiful decors from the traditional 18th century Sevres and Vincennes eras form a large part of Dubarry's collection, although nowadays they are producing more and more novelty pieces such as sporting themes, Garden themes, Christmas themes and animal themes, to name a few.  These pieces do not have the historic value as the traditional shapes and designs have, but they are none the less just as highly collectible.

Designs and shapes are translated into trinket boxes, snuff boxes, ashtrays, dishes, cups and saucers, vases, etc and can be classified as collectibles, interior accessories and general giftware.  The authenticity of each piece is guaranteed by the Limoges, France, Peint Main backstamp and each piece is signed by the artist.  As each piece is unique, they will undoubtedly become the antiques of the future.

Product history
The history of Limoges Porcelain began in 1768, when a pharmacist discovered in the Limousin, exactly the same clay that the Chinese had been using since 185 B.C. to make their porcelain masterpieces.  (Limousin is the region where the town of Limoges is located.)  The name of this clay was Kao-ling, which means "stone from the hilltops".

Under the patronage of Turgo, the administrator of the region of Limoges at the time, this discovery led to the development of the Porcelain manufacturers in the Limousin producing French Porcelain of an extremely high standard.  And so Limoges porcelain was born, and only porcelain produced in Limoges may have the Limoges stamp.

From Clay to Porcelain
Limoges is a very tough white porcelain which is fine and durable.  The transformation of Kao-Ling into fine porcelain is a long process, passing from Alchemy to artistic expression through a complex system of firings.  The Kao-Ling gives the porcelain it's whiteness, the quartz hardens it and the feldspar create its transparency.  These three elements are mixed together to form a liquid paste, which is then poured into a mould.  The more intricate a mould the shorter life span it has, but on average about 1,000 pieces are produced from each mould.

The first firing, which is called the biscuit firing, hardens the objects by bringing them to between 950 and 1200 degrees.  This dries them out and renders them sufficiently porous to hold a glaze.  The biscuit is thus obtained, dusted down, and glazed.  Glazing is a delicate operation which involves dipping or spraying the items in a carefully proportioned liquid solution made from rock extracts, which after firing gives a glaze hard enough to resist scratching steel.

Then comes the second firing, which brings the material to its fusion point.  Each piece must be separated and placed in a fire proof holder inside the kiln.  It is during this firing that the basic material is finally transformed into porcelain.

Decoration
Although machinery plays an important factor in the production of Limoges Porcelain, the determining factor of whether an item sells is in the decorating, and each Dubarry piece is painted free hand, which makes each piece unique.  During decorating, the item goes through a further process of firings, causing the decoration to penetrate the glaze.

Mountings
Each pill box has a mounting or hinge which is made from copper, and is treated according to the design in a guilded or antique finish. Dubarry tries to ensure that the gold in the design, whether it is 18 Caret, 22 or 24 Caret relief blends in with the mounting.

Mountings are mainly put on by hand, which gives a greater adaptability in producing more delicate shapes.  It is also important because when the piece has been fired many times, the product loses around 7% of its volume and when the pieces are mounted to make a pill box, chances are the lid has shrunk slightly more than the base, or vice versa.

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