Cead Mile Failte....One Hundred Thousand Welcomes
Welcome to my Belleek Teacup Party!
St. Patrick's Day is fast approaching and it's a special day indeed for me. My mother is from scenic West Cork in Ireland. Visiting my aunt, uncles and cousins in Cork has provided me with some of the most memorable trips and experiences of my life.
Growing up there was Belleek and Waterford crystal in my home as these pieces were much more affordable years ago in Ireland.
I'll share some of my favorite Belleek teacups along with a few images of West Cork.
This teacup is a birthday gift from my sister in law. The woven textured body and shamrocks make it quite endearing. It has the Eleventh Mark back stamp from 2001-2006. All Belleek pieces have back stamps which give you an estimate of the production date. If you're interested, you can use this link to date your pieces:
This is my oldest piece of Belleek and today's featured teacup...a Third Black Mark (1926-1946) Limpet cup. I purchased this at a local antique shop and definitely wonder about its original home and the tales it could tell. What makes Belleek so unique in my opinion is its translucent quality. The pieces really do seem to shine due to their luster and extreme thinness. Belleek is produced with a significant amount of frit. Frit is a calcinated mixture of sand and fluxes ready to be melted in a crucible to make glass.
Third Black Mark (1926-1946)
I held this saucer a couple of feet away from the window. Look how transparent it is. Needless to say, I do not serve tea in these older cups. They will remain safe in my curio chest. I hope to add some more black mark teacups to my collection.
Inside glaze of the cup
My next teacup looks very similar to the Limpet but is not quite as old. (I'm not exactly sure of its pattern name as there are two Belleek patterns that look quite similar. I would love to learn what it is if you know the pattern name. Thanks!)
It is a Sixth Mark with a long production line of 1965-1980.
This is the "work horse" of my tea drinking. I use this mug almost every day. My mom's cousin is a member of the Belleek Collectors Society and received two of these mugs. I enjoy its thin rim and its sturdiness compared to the older Belleek teacups. It has the recent dark brown backstamp (2008-2010).