When buying collectibles and vintage pottery items online, it’s good to know what the various flaw terms used in the item descriptions actually mean.
Here’s my collection of notes, please add to them if you’d like:
Pottery Flaws, Flea Bites, Chiggers & More
- Crazing: A crackling effect in the glaze; A spidery type crackling effect–looks like crackle glass. Not detectable when you rub you fingernail over it.
- Chip: Is a chip–this goes down into the clay. The glaze and the pottery itself has a piece chipped off…it can measure from 1/16″ to 1/2″.
- Crack: Is a crack in the piece.
- Hairline: Is a crack that is very thin and tight. Sometimes you can only hear a hairline crack and not see it (for the more experienced).
- Chunk or Chunker: Is a chip but over 1/2″.
- Skip: Is a factory flaw where the glaze is lighter or did not cover the entire piece.
- Scratch: Is a scratch.
- Flea Bite: Is a raised bubble bump or a tiny nick. Sometimes you can’t see them well, but running your fingernail across the piece will pick up the flaw.
- Pinpoint: Is smaller than a fleabite, like the point of a pin. Most dealers consider this mint.
- Chigger Bite: Is a tiny chip that removes the glaze from a spot, but doesn’t go into the clay.
- Glaze Slip: Is a part of the pottery where the glaze did not cover.
- Glaze Pop: Is a popped air bubble that burst at the surface of the glaze during firing.
- Kiln Kiss or Kiln Flaw: Is a little spot where the piece touched another piece in the kiln and made a glaze pimple on one piece and possible glaze loss on the other.
- Factory Flaw: Is a flaw that covers less common types of flaws. More description should be included.
- Staining: Piece is stained or cloudy
- Peppering: Tiny black specks in the glaze, normally white or light colored glazes.
- Sick Color: The color is off or wrong for some reason. Not a rare color.