Although there are hundreds of unique dining sets on the market today, sets such as Fiestaware tend to be the most popular. But what’s so special about a dining room set anyways?
Fiestaware, a dining set released during the Great Depression, was favored by customers for its durability and bright colors. These dishes were designed for every dining occasion, replacing any classic white, fragile china. While Fiestaware still produces pieces today, collectors favor the original Fiesta sets produced between 1936 and 1972.
It’s not hard to find both modern and vintage Fiesta pieces; however, there is a significant price difference between the two. Keep reading to learn more about why Fiestware has become one of the most popular dining sets in the United States.
Fiestaware: What Is It?
So, you know that Fiestaware came into production during the Great Depression. Only a few years into the economic depression and 15 million Americans were without jobs; additionally, half of the nation’s banks failed. These events left most Americans penniless and even more without hope.
When Fiestaware was released in 1936, the owner hoped that the brightly colored dishes would improve happiness. In other words, he hoped to bring joy back into Americans’ homes, one plate at a time.
Prior to Fiestaware’s release, most homes used correlate or white china dishes. However, the fragileness of these pieces made them impractical for most occasions. Fiestaware, on the other hand, is incredibly durable. These clay-made pieces are made to withstand everyday use. They even look good enough for special occasions.
But wait, without any money, how could Americans purchase these brightly colored dishes? Fiestaware’s owners had already considered that question. The company offered payment plans for its dinnerware sets where Americans were able to pay a couple cents a week. This system made it easier to get the plates.
So how did these pieces get the name “Fiestaware”? Well, for their colors of course! Fiestaware dinner dishes featured brightly colored glazes. These same colors can be seen at Fiestas.
Original pieces were either red, yellow, light green, cobalt blue, turquoise, or old ivory. After several years of production, Fiestaware introduced colors such as gray, rose, chartreuse, and various shades of green. While sets were sold in only one color, many chose to mix and match their colors, creating a true fiesta appearance.
Many favor Fiestaware’s colors because they brilliantly complement all different kinds of food, especially fresh fruits and vegetables. Fiestaware can also complement every home decor, especially when purchased in solid color sets.
Fiestaware: What Is It worth?
One reason Fiestaware continues to be so popular is because the original sets continue to go up in value. Although Fiestaware was popular through the 50s, purchases declined in the 60s. By 1973, Fiestaware was discontinued.
When brightly colored home decor started picking up in the 70s, so did secondhand Fiestaware purchases. Since the china sets were no longer in production, limited supply drove up the price significantly. In just a few short years, Fiestaware became a collectible item. In fact, Fiestaware is the most collected china brand in the United States! Eventually, in 1986, the company began producing pieces again.
While Fiestware continues to be produced today, collectors prefer the vintage dishes. That said, modern-day Fiestaware is just as durable and colorful.
So how much is vintage Fiestaware worth? Well, the exact value depends on the piece, its condition, and its color. Since plates and bowls are easier to find, they are worth the least. The most valuable pieces tend to be those in the original “radioactive” red or medium green.
Fiestaware is generally worth somewhere in between the $10 and $200 range per piece. Most genuine, vintage Fiestaware is going to sell for about $50 to $300 for piece, with larger, more unique pieces such as cake plates, mixing bowls, vases, and teapots selling for $150 – $1000 (or more!). The price depends on the level of demand for that particular color and dish piece.
For some examples of different Fiestaware pieces and sets with their prices, check out our article on valuing your vintage Fiesta items.
The best way to find the value of your piece is to take it to a professional or to compare it with other pieces. Take a look at some vintage Fiestaware pieces available on Etsy or eBay and their prices.
Not sure if your Fiestaware is considered vintage? Check out our complete Fiestaware identification guide for more information.
Modern Day Fiestaware and Where to Get It
If you are wanting to eat off of your Fiestaware, modern Fiesta pieces are much safer to use. This is because vintage Fiestaware did contain certain amounts of lead, and some pieces were even radioactive.
While you can buy current variations of Fiestaware at most big box stores, true Fiestaware can be purchased directly from the Fiesta Factory, and may even include a several-year warranty.
Macy’s sells all types of dinnerware, bowls, drinkware, and serving dishes. They even sell fiesta-style silverware! While all Fiestaware was designed to serve you on every occasion, Macy’s markets their Fiestaware dishes for various occasions. Want a special Valentine’s Day meal? Purchase a heart-shaped Fiestaware bowl for only $20. There are even some Christmas/winter-themed Fiestaware dishes.
Some prefer to purchase their Fiestaware in a variety of colors. However, if you prefer one color for your Fiestaware dishes, Macy’s sells single-colored sets. Depending on the number of pieces included in the set, you could spend between $11 and $260. This is much more affordable than collectible vintage pieces.
While Fiestaware dishes can match any decor, Macy’s now offers Fiestaware-style table linens. This includes table cloths, oven mitts, placemats, and kitchen towels.
Specialty modern-day Fiestaware pieces include butter dishes, salt and pepper shakers, deviled eggs plates, and various sized casserole dishes.
A full 16-piece dinnerware set costs $260; however, Macy’s frequently offers sales that cut the price in half!
You can purchase your set in solid colors, random arrangements, or special holiday colors. For example, the Americana Fiestaware set has dishes in red, white, and blue.
You can even check out Walmart’s Fiestaware collection. Both vintage and modern Fiestaware are incredibly durable and therefore the perfect option for your home.