favorite things | ironstone molds

Marian ParsonsAll Things Home, Antiques, Favorite Finds, Ironstone40 Comments

When I shared the ironstone mold I purchased at the flea market over Mother’s Day weekend, I received a few questions about ironstone molds, so I thought I would share more about them.  My collection started a few years ago with, of course, my love for anything ironstone.  That love even led me into buying an ironstone spitoon, which I wouldn’t do again because #1 what do you use that for and #2…ick.  Anyway, I came across an ironstone mold and at first debated buying it.  It had a beautiful design on the inside, but it looked a little clumsy and plain on the outside.  And what would I do with it?  Pitchers and bowls and plates and the like can all be used for something (even if they are mostly used for display.)

The one I was debating, though, was a good size to plop a plant in or to use as a bowl.  It was also inexpensive…maybe about $15, so I bought it.  That started a collection that has evolved over the years.  I’ve bought and sold many, only keeping my favorites.

Most of the ironstone molds I own and have bought are English, German, or French.

Some of my molds are marked, but I do have several that are not.

These molds (or moulds) gained popularity during the Victorian era and were used for puddings and jellies.  (Not spreadable jelly, but like a precursor to jello.)  Food was all about the presentation!

I’ve thought for a while that I should dig up a Victorian Jelly recipe and try to make one in one of these molds.  That would be pretty fun to do.

My favorite mold is this one with the rabbit form in it…

If I make a jelly in any mold, it should be in the rabbit one!  Maybe next Easter I’ll give it a try.

The downside to these molds is they are tricky to display.  I have yet found a way to hang them (plus some of them would stick out from the wall 6-8″).  I use some of them to hold plants.  I’ll keep the plant in a plastic pot and put it in a plastic bag, so it doesn’t leak into the mold.  You can see the black lining of the plastic pot and a peek of the bag in the potted plant on my desk…

I stuffed some moss around the edges to hide that.

Most of them, though, are stacked in the hutch in the living room.  I am considering designing and building a rack to display the ones that aren’t too deep.  They are all different sizes and shapes, so I can’t yet imagine how that would look.

For now, I just enjoy having them stacked in the cabinet and I’ll pull one or two out to use for various things.  I know one-day inspiration will strike!

If you’re interested in adding molds to your ironstone collection (or starting one), I combed Etsy and found a bunch of ironstone molds for $40 or less…

favorite things | ironstone molds

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40 Comments on “favorite things | ironstone molds”

  1. I would GIVE ALMOST ANYTHING for you to do a Miss Mustardseed Coffee Table Book…With pictures like those above with the blue and white(and a dash of green), ironstone, sketches, paintings, furniture, textiles, etc, etc, etc! What an inspiration THAT would be;)

  2. I love that you highlight vintage pieces! It’s fun to see how people find new uses and ways to display old pieces! I never thought to use them as flower pots…they look great that way!

  3. I have been loving ironstone for a long time and have a small collection. I have been eyeing the molds for a while but have not bit the bullet. This feature just encouraged me to purchase one or two! Thanks for the tip on using as plastic bag!

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  5. Are the molds discolored from years of use or are you hesitant to clean them for a reason? Please know, I do not mean this is any harsh or judgmental way…I’m genuinely curious and do not think you are a poor housekeeper! 🙂 It seems plausible that cleaning away the “patina” could devalue them?

    Also, thank you so much for mentioning how you use them for plants!!!! The pot in a plastic bag!!!!!! This is the exact solution I need for some of my plant displays. Especially the ones I have in a cracked crock or a metal container that could rust.

  6. A few years ago I attended an estate sale where I purchased an ironstone chamber pot in perfect condition for $6.00 !!! As I was paying for my little gem the young guy behind the cash register commented that it was the most unique “cookie jar” he had ever seen. I told him I planned to put a plant in it and he questioned why. When I told him the real use of the pot, he turned bright red and then gagged.🤮. BTW, the plant is thriving.😉

  7. Your molds reminded me that my mom and grandma used to make the most delicious tomato aspic (I think they used V8-juice) for Easter! I bet that would look lovely turned out from your rabbit mold.

    1. A few years ago I made tomato aspic in a Tupperware mold and brought it to a potluck.
      Most of the people didn’t know what a tomato aspic was?! I educated them……..

  8. I bought one to go with my ironstone collection. You are right. They are hard to display. Mine is propped up and forward with a platter stand. The inside is the cutest part. I love it but I don’t think I’ll add more. Your rabbit is fabulous. I have a feeling you will find a recipe to share with us.

  9. I have a couple I found in a house we bought (UK), they are small, about three inches long, and I was told they were used for making decorative savoury jellies to accompany roast meats. The glazes are stained and they are a bit battered, but I love them. They need to be displayed on their sides I think, though I’m not sure how you would achieve that!

  10. You could always make jello in them! I have a few that I display on their sides propped. They are a challenge to display because the best part is on the inside!
    I have some ironstone chamber pots aka thunder mugs. I once saw someone had one on their table with food in one, she just thought it was a large decorative mug! YUCK!!!
    I have collected ironstone since Martha Stewart started the graze in the early eighties. People often think they have ironstone and it is actually white porcelain. I have seen a lot of blogs showing their collections saying it is ironstone and it is not. It’s not easy to find in some states.

  11. There is a wonderfully fascinating British cooking show on Netflix called “Lords and Ladles” that explores and showcases historic recipes from landed gentries all over the UK. The chefs recreate dinner parties using only long-forgotten recipes including aspic, which are so elaborately beautiful. Your ironstone molds were probably used for aspic recipes, your rabbit mold would have been a springtime aspic. Also fascinating are the various ways offals are cooked and presented, back when nose-to-tail dining was rigor of the day. What was once abandoned is inspiring many modern day chefs to return to these historic recipes and are now reappearing in fine dining restaurants globally. Fascinating stuff!

    1. Oh man, I’ll have to check out that show. That sounds like fun. I looked up aspic because I had never heard of it. Oh my, I can tell you right now that I could not handle meat in gelatin. The texture! Ick!

  12. Another dessert you could make in those would be panna cotta! My husband’s ENTIRE family claims that as their favorite dessert lol. It’s also extremely simple to make!

  13. Yes, I agree on the coffee table book, too—I would definietly keep it on my table! And I also love your ironstone rabbit mould too.

  14. Could that mold be used for Rabbit Aspic? How cute is that!? I have a yellow mold. Is that a type of ironstone ? or called something else ?

  15. Picture this: a table—sofa table, coffee table, end table or even a kitchen table—with a glass top and a shallow shelf underneath. Line the shelf with molds. If I knew how to build a table 🙂, I’d make sure that the depth of the shelf was no more than an inch or two more than the height of my tallest mold and that there was a lip around the edge of it.

  16. My rabbit molds are similar to yours, but are are yellow ware pottery…one even has very detailed “fur” indentations! I was surprised to see the ironstone version…

  17. “A precursor to Jello” LOL Here in Australia it’s called Jelly like it always has been outside the US & what you call Jelly the rest of us know as Jam. 🙂 American TV shows like the Brady Bunch were very confusing to me as a child when they were talking about peanut butter & jelly sandwiches, I was always wondering how you kept the Jelly (Jello) from falling out!!!

    The moulds are lovely, but difficult to display as you say.

    One interesting way to display them, keep them clean & see the lovely insides would be in a glass top coffee table that has a deepish box top below the glass so you can look down into the moulds.

  18. I have a great, low-calorie recipe for tomato aspic that is delish. Used to make it in a Williams-Sonoma mold, buI I bet you could make it using one of your molds. I spray the mold with Pam spray before filling it.

  19. I display mine on a high china cabinet using the standing platter racks, which I’m able to splay out to fit the moulds. The only difficult one is the rabbit mould, which needs to be displayed upright. Love your collection:)

  20. I agree on the coffee table book!!!!! And you just gave me something to look for (cue my husbands groan) at the Memorial Day Hillsville flea market tomorrow!! Eek! So excited to go twice this year! We always go for Labor Day but I happen to be off Saturday. Yay!!!!

  21. Marion, I have enjoyed the friendly vibe, projects and pictures on your blog, and I do understand you are doing what you love and have turned it into a business. However, the number of ads inserted into your blog is over the top for me now, so I won’t be clicking in anymore.

    1. Janet maybe it is your computer settings. I have one ad at the top, ads at the end of the blog and the sidebar ads. None are annoying. The bottom ones I don’t even look at. If you are getting pop up ads you need antivirus protection.

    2. Sorry to hear that, Janet. Are you looking on a phone or a computer? Sometimes one or the other can be annoying depending on which ads are displaying. Unfortunately, advertisers want their ads to be more and are intrusive and, believe it or not, my ads are pretty conservative (not covering the pictures, not allowing pop-ups, etc.) Anyway, you can always install an ad-blocker. In order to have this blog remain a free resource, ads are a “necessary evil”.

  22. I see that one is marked Shelley. Hmmm. They made beautiful tea cups and was an English company.
    Just I tip I learned many many years ago. If you are making a jello mold recipe and want it to stand
    up at attention for a long time do this. Soak one pkg. of Knox gelatin on about 1/4 cup of cold water for a few minutes to soften. Then add it to your hot mixture and make sure it is completely dissolved.

    Taking a clue from you I have an old empire secretary and have a display of white china items. Needed something to fill a spot……….. Was at Wallmart and found two cheap plain white bows and nested
    them in the empty spot. All about the look, right? I doubt anyone would question it except if you
    are a collector of such lovely molds.

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