An Enigma - Four Gold Dots Marking on China Tea Set

by Margaret Raimondi
(Hartlepool, England)

bone china set 4 gold dots

bone china set 4 gold dots

bone china set 4 gold dots
bone china set 4 gold dots
bone china set 4 gold dots

I am a divorced mum of two beautiful children. I have a 2nd Class Honours Degree but unfortunately remain “unemployed”. I have been bringing up my children on my own now for 10 years and since returning to the UK (during my separation and ultimate divorce) it has been an uphill battle to pay the bills and survive financially.

This is even more poignant because my ex husband is Italian, lives in Italy and, as such, is not obliged by law to pay any maintenance fees towards the upkeep of his children.

I am sure many other mums are experiencing, or have experienced the hurt and acrimony that divorce proceedings entail.

I spent most of my teaching career in Greece and Italy. Idyllic, I hear many say and, yes, I suppose it was. I was single with no obligations and no children to worry about. I was self employed and spoke Greek fluently as my self employed status demanded.

Then I moved to Italy, married and had the 2 most beautiful children imaginable.

My priorities changed overnight. I was no longer a single, carefree, albeit professional, young lady, I became a caring, loving, responsible (the adjectives could go on & on!) mother.

Sadly, at one point, when my children were quite young, I decided enough was enough and returned to the UK with my children.

I, like every other mum, wanted the best for my children, in every sense of the word, so it became increasingly hard as they got older to tell them that “Mummy can’t afford it”.

So, I began making jewellery. I made a few sales to close friends and family but, after a long hard battle, I eventually had to admit defeat.

Then my partner took me to a local vintage fair. I love vintage and I loved the fair, better still it got me thinking…

..There was a gap in the market for what I was thinking, if not a gap, then certainly a demand and I could not wait to get started.

So it began……my search for vintage plates and my love for vintage china.

I began making cake stands, 2 tier and 3 tier using plates I found at car boot sales, church fairs, coffee mornings and markets. I matched the plates up and my partner drilled the central hole.

Suddenly I was making a profit! Unbelievable! It had taken so long and such determination that I was, and still am, in shock.

Admittedly sales are unpredictable and I have good and bad weeks but overall I can admit to myself that Yes! You did it! You persevered and succeeded. Even my children are impressed.

I am now going to auctions, which is rather a bold move considering all the time and effort it has taken to get this far. I limit my bidding to one particular lot and block out all other temptations!

This is my latest acquisition. I saw it and fell in love immediately. My partner said I was being foolish but I know beauty and quality when I see it. Unfortunately it has no back stamp other than 4 gold dots in a square shape. I have searched and searched online but to no avail, please can you help me identify this china, all I can surmise is that it is pre 1900 but I am no expert. I feel as if everything I have been through is culminated in this china, silly I know, but to me it is an enigma, but not to others I hope!

I know I have very slightly gone over my word count and I apologise for waffling on so much.

Kindest Regards


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Unidentified 4 Gold Dots Marks on Bone China Tea Set
by: Peter (admin)

Dear Margaret

First thing to say is a big thank you for you sharing your story. This is exactly what this website likes and wants. A human interest story behind the china enigma. You really got that, so many thanks. It took me a while to get back to a few entries I previously inadvertently missed, so apologies for the delay in answering.

Your story is a great one, it speaks volumes for your belief, perseverance and steadfastness, not to mention vision and flair. We all have our setbacks and how we get over them and keep going when others would falter mark us out as winners. Your kids recognise this and are proud.

So, your set is lovely and indeed an enigma.

I have been gradually building the knowledge base on this website now for 10 years, but have, curiously, never had anyone post about this marking before.

So it is fairly unusual. More people will no doubt post now that you have started the ball rolling.

I also used every advanced search trick in the book to find if there was was reference to this marking anywhere else online. There was none that I could find, and I am pretty good at using Google advanced coding for searches.

So from here on in, I am going to use some simple conjecture to try to narrow down the options. I would welcome everyone doing the same.

I am not sure from the photos if this lovely set is bone china or just fine china (bone china is whiter, finer, lighter and more translucent). I also can't see if the decoration is transfer ware or hand painted. If the pattern doesn't repeat identically over different items, then it's hand painted.

It does not look like the typical bone china style made in the fashion of the 1950's and 60's. Neither does it look like earlier mid 19th century sets which were often unmarked.

The handle is a more angular shape and the scalloping theme makes it look older than mid 20th century to me. So it would not be out of place being 1920's or 30's, or earlier. I can't see closely enough to look for signs of ageing.

If it is hand painted it might well be hand decorated by a skilled amateur on plain whiteware.

This was a really popular hobby in the early part of the 20th century. If it is transfer print decoration, it would be a factory. Most factories clearly marked their wares as a way of publicity, although the term 'bone china' was not used as a popular term until well into the 20th century.

So, to conclude, if this is hand painted it is likely the output of a home hobbyist or amateur painter's guild. This would explain the fact that this mark has not been seen and is difficult to find elsewhere.

Just theories, if anyone knows more please post below.

Best regards

Peter (admin)

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