300 Years of Meissen Porcelain

A brand conquers the world

Augustus the Strong, the legendary elector of Saxony, openly confessed that he suffered from the “porcelain malady.” Symptoms of this illness are a weakness for the fine, white material coupled with an insatiable passion for collecting it. In point of fact, during his reign he accumulated over 35,000 porcelain objects and even commissioned an entire palace to be made of porcelain, the Japanese Palace in Dresden, which, however, was never completed.

Under August’s prompting European porcelain was invented in 1708, which until then had been laboriously imported from Asia at high prices, explains Christian Kurtzke, CEO of the Meissen porcelain manufacturer. Just two years later, on January 23, 1710, Augustus ordered the founding of the porcelain factory in Meissen, Saxony, and patented the manufacturing process. The exquisite porcelain was known as white gold and was an important money maker. Later, fearful of forgeries and imitations, he had two crossed swords fired in underglaze blue on every piece of Meissen porcelain – and a world-famous luxury brand was born.

Today, the precious commodity is still manufactured in Meissen, and the kaolin required for the process is still dug from the earth by two miners working in a cavern near Meissen in Saxony. The cavern is the smallest active and oldest kaolin mine in Europe.
This year the porcelain manufacturer is celebrating its 300-year anniversary and is organizing numerous exhibitions around the world. Among them is the year-long special exhibition “All Nations are Welcome” in Meissen Porcelain Museum. On display in this exhibition are the numerous gifts kings, diplomats and lovers from around the world have received from Meissen over the centuries.

Special highlights are porcelain objects made for Russian Empress Catherine II and the large statue of a bald eagle made for the American embassy in Berlin. Of course, US President Barack Obama received a set of porcelain cuff links when he visited Saxony in 2009. In September 2010 Meissen hosted an exhibition in New York Hilton & Towers as part of the German-American Steuben Parade in New York during a gala event. At this time the porcelain maker presented a new five-part place setting fit for festive occasions as well as for everyday use, thus perfect for the modern world. The Meissen company values innovation. For this reason the company invests in an extensive range of jewelry, architecture and interior design. In the future a nice rug for the kitchen, carpet, tables and wall decorations made of porcelain will also be available for purchase. This way the Meissen porcelain manufacturer can be sure that even in the future lovers around the world will still be passionate about the precious material with the blue crossed swords.