Bisque dolls, china dolls, hand-crafted, and antique are among the most popular types of ceramic dolls. Ceramic porcelain dolls have been around for hundreds of years and have provided hours of recreation for young and old alike. Though they are rarely used as ceramic toys anymore, dolls of this variety have proved to be valuable collector's items that fascinate and thrill enthusiasts the world over. Many types of ceramic dolls are considered highly-precious by doll collectors.
Bisque dolls were first manufactured in the mid-19th century. While most styles of ceramic dolls up to that point were glazed, bisque dolls bucked the trend and did not utilize a finishing glaze on the porcelain. The result was a remarkably life-like doll with realistic-looking skin. By definition, bisque means unglazed porcelain, which is molded from clay and then fired. Most bisque ceramic dolls are painted after firing, which adds color to the dimension and depth offered by the unglazed surface.
China dolls were among the first ceramic dolls ever produced. The key difference between a china doll and a bisque doll is the use of glaze on the porcelain of the china doll. Like the bisque variety of ceramic dolls, china dolls are painted after firing. They traditionally do not include additional material for hair. Instead, the hair is porcelain-molded directly onto the head of the doll, which is then painted to look like hair after the firing process is complete.
Hand-crafted ceramic dolls are unique varieties of highly-collectible dolls that offer a distinct advantage for doll enthusiasts. No two hand-crafted ceramic dolls are alike, making each one a collector's item and a one-of-a-kind creation. These dolls may be bisque or china, but the additional flourishes and personal touches—such as unique body structure and features, hair, and accessories—are what make these dolls truly original and sought after.
Antique ceramic dolls are something of a rarity. Though there is no definitive age that classifies a doll as an antique, these hard-to-find collectibles are typically 100-years-old or more. Whether bisque or china, antique dolls are incredibly valuable and considered by doll collectors to be the crowning achievements of any collection. An antique doll might be a doll fashioned in the shape of a grown woman or in the form of a baby; ceramic baby dolls have been popular doll choices since they were first developed by the French in 1850.