Old and New Jadeite

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Learn the difference between old and new jadeite, how to identify valuable vintage pieces and how to find more affordable reproduction pieces.

This post was updated in October 2023.

Old and New Jadeite- vintage cupboard with old jadeite

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If you are new to this blog: Welcome! My name is Anna and I share information on collecting antique/vintage items, refurbishing furniture and making small crafts/projects. The purpose of this blog is to share with you how to use creativity and antiques to make a soulful life. In addition to information here on the blog, you can also follow me on InstagramFacebook or Pinterest.

One of my favorite items to collect – both old and new – is jadeite. Its milk glass in a minty green color is so appealing and timeless. It’s also a color that reminds me of spring.  It’s also fun to use this vintage collectible around the holidays – especially when paired with the color red. 

I am by no means an expert on jadeite. There are plenty of people who know more than me. However, I do have some knowledge of the history, makers, patterns and uses of this collectible. I thought you would find this information useful.

Old and New

So let me start by pointing out the obvious. While there are many vintage pieces of jadeite available, there are some more recent reproductions. I think both are beautiful and functional. While I sell vintage jadeite, I personally collect both vintage and newer jadeite pieces.  The reproduction jadeite can be used on a daily basis and I don’t need to worry if they get broken or damaged. However, the vintage jadeite glassware is beautiful to collect and display.  It’s also always fun trying to find pieces to add to my collection.

Old Jadeite

Let’s first talk about old or “vintage” jadeite. There are a number of well known names that produced this vintage collectible:

  • Fire King – by Anchor Hocking
  • Jeanette Glassware Company
  • Mckee Glassware Company
Vintage jadeite in a small white cupboard

History of Jadeite

Vintage jadeite was produced between the 1930s and the 1970s. The peak point of production was between 1940-1950. During that time, most housewives were looking for affordable everyday dishes that were stylish and charming.

Pre World War II

Initially, in the 1930s, the McKee company added green glass scraps to some of its opaque milk glass and – voila- jadeite as we know it was created.

Understanding the context of the era, helps to clarify why jadeite came about as well as its popularity. Early in the 1930s, America was in the midsts of the great depression. These companies had the ability to mass produce glass dish ware and sell it for a very affordable price. Further, World War II took place between 1939-1945, which meant supplies of pretty much everything was limited. Given the context of what was happening in the world, it is no wonder that these dishes were so popular.

McKee and Jeannette glass company were the first companies to produce jadeite. Anchor Hocking started to produce its Fire King line of jadeite in 1942.

One of the easiest ways to determine if a piece of jadeite is vintage is to look for a stamp on the bottom.

Old and New Jadeite - Fire King

If you look closely, you can see the “Fire King Oven Ware” stamp on the bottom of this creamer.

3 stamps of vintage jadeite -McKee, Jeanette and Fire King. Image from Country Living Magazine.

Country Living Magazine published a comprehensive article about collecting jadeite and they included the image above to help you understand the different stamps/marks on the underside of the dish ware.

The stamp with the “McK” indicates the piece was made by the old McKee glass company.

The stamp with a triangle and “J” indicates the piece was made by Jeanette glass company.  Vintage jadeite glassware made by Mckee and Jeanette will glow under a black light.  This is one way you can be assured of their authenticity since they were made prior to World War II and the glass contains uranium.   I

Post World War II

f you see the stamp “Fire King Oven Glass” it indicates the piece was made by Anchor Hocking Glass Corporation, also known as Anchor Hocking Fire-King. These dishes will not glow when placed under a black light because they were produced after World War II.

Patterns of Jadeite

Since this collectible was in production for a number of decades, there were multiple patterns that were developed. Below is a summary of the more well known and common patterns.

  • Restaurant Ware. This was produced in the1940s-1960s. This was sturdy and heavy jadeite pieces that you would expect to see in a Diner.
  • Jane Ray. This ribbed design was produced between the 1940s-1960s. The glass is thinner than Restaurant Ware and the ribbed lines are charming.
  • Alice. An embossed floral pattern was given away in oatmeal boxes between 1945-1949.
  • Charm. These pieces were produced in the 1950s and consist of very retro square shaped plates.
  • Sheaves of Wheat. These pieces were embossed with a wheat pattern and were produced between 1957 and 1959.
  • Shell. This pattern was first produced in 1965 and was discontinued in the 1970s.
5 pieces of jadeite in a small white cupboard - mixing bowl, 2 juicers and creamer with sugar bowl

The creamer and sugar set on the second shelf are made in the Jane Ray pattern, while the smaller juicer on the bottom shelf is made in the Shell pattern.

When I am out and about looking for inventory, I am always on the look out for vintage jadeite pieces. That being said, this collectible has grown in popularity in recent years so it can be a challenge to find.

Most Collectible Pieces

The most desirable pieces of jadeite include large canisters that held items like cereal, flour, and coffee. Vintage shakers for flour, salt, and sugar are also sought after. Finally, vintage refrigerator containers – usually rectangular – which were used to store leftovers from meals – are also very collectible. Coffee mugs with a “D” shaped handle are also very collectible as are juice reamers. Sets of vintage salt and pepper shakers are also highly sought after. 

These pieces of vintage jadeite were initially sold at local hardware stores, five & dime stores, and grocery stores. Can you imagine buying a piece of jadeite for less than $1.00?

Finding Vintage Jadeite

If you want to find vintage jadeite in a particular pattern – your best bets are to search on Etsy and Ebay. Otherwise, keep your eyes open at yard sales, church sales, flea markets, auctions, antique stores and estate sales. It can be a serious challenge finding all the pieces in a particular style and is a pursuit that can last for years.

I have had the best luck finding vintage jadeite for a reasonable prices at antique shops.  My personal vintage jadeite collection is a mix of patterns and styles.  I just love collecting this vintage glassware. 

The benefit of purchasing jadeite glassware from an antique store or market is that you can ensure a piece is in excellent condition and can ensure it’s an authentic piece.  

New Jadeite

Given that vintage jadeite pieces are more difficult to find and that the prices have increased in recent years, I love buying new or reproduction jadeite. First, I worry much less about damaging these pieces. Also, it’s so much easier to get complete dining sets – that includes a dinner plate, salad plate and bowl. It’s also easier to acquire those hard to find pieces like cake stands, pitchers or butter dishes.  Mosser glass company makes some reproductions of jadeite that are lovely.  For example, I have a jadeite cake stand made by Mosser, which is a favorite piece in my collection. Some of the other newer pieces in my collection also include a butter dish and salt & pepper shakers. 

I have found the best prices and the best pieces of new jadeite at Walmart. Specifically, in the Ree Drummonds “Pioneer Woman” line of products. I have rounded up some of the new pieces and linked them for you below.

Martha Stewart also produced some jadeite pieces that are really charming. She even created some pieces in a hobnail pattern. I have also seen candlesticks and flower pots in her collection. Having said this, her new jadeite pieces command some high prices.

Joanna Gaines, through her Hearth & Hand line, also created some new jadeite pieces for Target. There are some dessert plates in a square shape that are particularly charming.

Summary

Collection of vintage jadeite pieces

I don’t know about you, but I love to use jadeite year-round. It’s so cheerful to use in the spring and I love pairing it with Christmas decor.

If you would like to read more on collecting vintage and antique items – you can check out my posts below.

Thank you for stopping by the blog today. I would love for you to share any comments you have below. Below are some pieces of jadeite that I found online and if you are a collector, you may be interested in looking at them!

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18 Comments

  1. Thank you for the 101 on Jadeite!
    Have always found it charming but so expensive when I find it. Good alternative to buy newer pieces, at some point they will become vintage too!
    🙂

      1. My husband and I have been collecting vintage Fire King Restaurant ware for 30 years and have a large collection in mint condition – includes 16 complete place settings, trays, platters, bowls, baking dishes, coffee cups, salt and pepper, coffee and other cooking ingredient jars, etc. etc., etc.

        After moving box after box of jadeite X2 across the country, I feel it is time to sell it. ANY ideas how and where to be best sell this incredibly beautiful collection?

        1. Hello Kathryn – thank you for commenting and for your question. I sent you a separate email with some ideas.

  2. Fascinating history – love that jadeite was born of scrap green glass being added to opaque glassware. Innovative!
    Thanks for all the helpful tips in buying jadeite – be it old or new, super helpful to know how to recognize the old and where to go for the new.
    A perfectly pretty and practical post to propel us to springtime.

    1. Hi Susan- Thank you for taking the time to read the post. Yes, I love that jadeite was born out of necessity and creativity. It was even considered the poor persons china. How times have changed. I feel like we need something to push us towards spring with all the snow we have had recently.

  3. Some years back, Martha Stewart’s daughter started collecting Jadite and amassed a very large collection which she displayed in her kitchen. Said kitchen was then showcased in a Country Living article if memory serves me right. The prices for Jadite (which I had been collecting as I came across pieces at flea markets and garage sales) went through the roof. I’m still miffed at Martha Stewart and her daughter for driving the prices up!

    1. Hi Rachelle-
      Thanks for your comment. Yes, I think Walmart has some great Jadeite for very reasonable prices.
      I will check out the link you shared!

  4. You are a lady after my own heart. I LOVE jadeite! It’s creamy green color is so stunning and, even though I only have a few pieces of vintage jadeite, love taking it out for spring. I wrote a similar post about vintage jadeite on my blog last year and I’m so happy to see a fellow blogger with such love for these pieces. Thanks so much for sharing today…you are so talented!

    1. Rachel! I apologize for missing your comment! Thank you for the kind words. Yes, we are definitely vintage sisters!

  5. I have a 5 1/4” approximately green glass box that says tea on it. It is a bit bigger on top than the bottom and no stamp on the bottom. It does glow under black light and has a flower pattern underneath the lid. Is it maybe Jadeite and worth anything.

    1. Hi Connie- I would recommend taking it to a nearby antique store and asking them for their opinion! Thank you for commenting!

  6. This was super helpful, Anna! One of my sisters collects jadeite and I’m never really sure if I’m buying the real thing or not. She uses it throughout the year but especially during the holidays to make things look festive so this post came at the perfect time. I’m going to look for her some pieces while we’re at the cabin and this will be a huge help! Big hugs, CoCo

    1. Hi CoCo – I am glad this was helpful! Yes it can be a bit tricky trying to determine in a piece of jadeite is new or old. I bet your sister’s collection is gorgeous!

  7. Anna, I didn’t realize you were a fellow jadeite collector–I adore it and mix old and new also! I’ll be featuring my collection in my Christmas tour at the end of the month. 😉 Blessings, Cecilia @ My Thrift Store Addiction

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