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Feb 16, 2014 04:48 PM

Fiesta Dishes

I just bought 12 SQUARE dinner plates of Fiesta...assorted colors, all that I could find.

I ordered from Amazon and they have not even arrived yet; still, it makes me happy just thinking about them!

It will be my first Fiesta purchase. We have done the conservative stoneware which lasted us about 40 years. Now it is time to set a fun table (the grandchildren will enjoy choosing their favorite colors!) and mix 'n match randomly.

The Homer Laughlin China Company, USA, is a fascinating story and their product now seems to be a quality one with a conscience.

I would love to hear your comments about Fiesta wares.

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  1. Two years ago for Christmas, my husband got me a service for 12 in a rainbow of colors. After years of plain (boring) off white, it was a shock but now I love it.

    It has held up incredibly well, not a chip or scratch and it gets used hard. I have my eye on a couple of platters and bowls.

    16 Replies
    1. re: cleobeach

      Hello, cleobeach!

      It is great to hear such a glowing review. Service for 12...that's LOTS of color!

      Their bowls are quite nice. I, too, am looking at them. They have square bowls from their square set and also the round bowls from their original design. I might wish to mix those shapes as well.

      1. re: liu

        Yes, it is a riot of color!

        I am so impressed with the quality, i am thinking of replacing all my generic mixing, utility and serving bowls with Fiesta. I could get rid of 10+ pieces of ho hum with a few pieces that would serve multiple uses.

        I did get another set of mugs because the tea cup size ones he picked out were too small for us.

        1. re: cleobeach

          "...riot of color!"
          _ _ _

          Well, that pretty much says it all! I love that!

          cleobeach, you have offered good information about the quality. Before ordering, I could only go by the reviews, but it seemed like no one mentioned poor quality.

          Thanks for posting. I am looking forward to using them!

          1. re: liu

            Believe me, the stuff in our house gets used hard as husband is in charge of clean up! Nothing has broken yet, which is a small miracle in our house.

            He got the idea when working on a college cafeteria remodeled project. The head of the food service ordered Fiesta as the dishes for the cafeteria. He sold my husband on the durability.

            1. re: cleobeach

              I like that I can teach my grand kids colors like "shamrock" and "peacock," "cobalt," "lapis" and "flamingo!"

          2. re: cleobeach

            Fiesta's 18oz. Jumbo mug is the new tea cup for our big gulp generation ;-). We've had Fiesta for 30 years or so and don't have a chip. Very durable!

            1. re: Cam14

              "Very durable!"

              How great to hear about something that I just purchased!

              30 years without a chip...that's pretty impressive, Cam14.

        2. re: cleobeach

          Was it 4 sets (ie, 4 colors)? Or more colors?

          If the latter, where can you buy it by the piece ?

          I recall seeing it sold by the piece in the NYC Macy's maybe 6 or 7 years ago, maybe longer. Can't recall seeing it sold like that again,

          I'd like to rainbow up a bit, too!

          This question is really for everyone... :-)

          1. re: C. Hamster

            Macy's still sells Fiesta ware open stock, and discounts it frequently.

            1. re: masha

              Yep, I think my husband got it at 20% off. He did buy it by the "set". There is a website that sells it by the piece and often has 10% off. I need to check my office computer for the bookmark.

              1. re: masha

                Kohl's sells open stock as well.

                1. re: liu

                  Well went to my kohls ( in SJ) and selection for separate pieces was sad! My Macy's has far superior selection and it has the ' exclusive' pasta dishes which I love.

                  Anyway kohls was picked over, but bear in mind this was a high traffic store and people redeeming their kohls cash.

                  I want those square plates , sweet!

                  1. re: Jillsee

                    Jillsee, I am so sorry that Kohl's did not have a good variety of Fiesta pieces. The Kohl's that we went to have several wall shelves with a huge selection of miscellaneous pieces. Perhaps you will find more there another time. But Macy's is good, too, because of their abundance of coupons.

                    Three of the twelve SQUARE dinner plates arrived today; I like them a lot! There is also an entire square selection:


                    I like the square bowls -- and the cups, too!

              2. re: C. Hamster

                Open stock? Yes!

                Red Wing Pottery stocks the current colors as well as retired ones. That's the modern retired colors, not vintage. It's all brand new.

                This picture is from their Facebook page. So much fun to shop here!


                1. re: ChillyDog

                  That's a lot of Fiesta!
                  Thanks for the link.

                  1. re: ChillyDog

                    THANKS TO ALL for the replies on open stock!!!!

                    Much appreciated

              3. My grandmother bought a set of Fiesta ware (place setting for 12) in the early 1950s and it was used in their kitchen for many years. I think she had a lot of the accessories like platters, pitchers, and bowls. It't too bad she gave it away in the early 70s. She was the operator of a small hydroelectric dam in NW Wisconsin until she was 72.

                14 Replies
                1. re: John E.

                  John, that's a nice memory!

                  But it's probably not "too bad" that she gave away her Fiesta wares from that time because there were some radioactive dust sparklings in that paint!


                  It seems that only the more recent Fiesta wares are considered "safe."

                  1. re: liu

                    I thought only red was 'radioactive'?

                    1. re: John E.

                      According to the Wiki article that I linked to -- if you can believe all of it -- there were other colors, too:

                      "Red is not the only color of vintage ceramic glaze that is radioactive; it is detectable from other colors, including ivory. The level of radioactivity of vintage fiestaware has been published and is available online."

                      They had the ability and they thought it enhanced their product enough to justify its use, so why not?

                      1. re: liu

                        I bet it is quite collecable, radioactive or not.

                        1. re: John E.

                          I have read that it is quite collectible; the Wiki report says:

                          "Fiesta items once costing pennies were commanding nearly a hundred U.S. dollars for scarcer items. By the mid-1980s, prices had climbed higher. Certain pieces and colors were being traded for hundreds of dollars."

                          I remember the Fiesta pitcher of my childhood! Maybe it could have put one of my kids through college!

                          1. re: liu

                            More likely that Fiesta piece was worth enough to buy 4 college credits.

                            (I'm not as old as the next statement may seem.

                            When I was a freshman at the local community college the quarter credits were
                            $12.50 per credit. That was $200 per quarter. The cost per credit rose quite a bit before I graduated from college, but I paid for my entire education on my own, as did my brothers.

                            We also bought our own
                            cars. That does not seem to
                            be the any longer.

                            1. re: John E.

                              As I read more about the older Fiesta wares, I do not think I could trust that they were "clean" and did not contain some contaminants.

                              I think I would not want to have the older Fiesta products, but the producing company, Homer Laughlin China Company, seems to have cleaned up. I have read various sources that report that they do have regular inspection on their current wares.

                              1. re: liu

                                I hink they would be fine as collectibles on the shelf. I am quite sure they would not emit enough 'rads' to cause a problem sitting on a shelf.

                      2. re: John E.

                        I have several vintage Fiestaware serving platters, including the supposedly radioactive red. Also a few vintage pitchers and cups and saucers.

                        I use them but maybe they'll fund my retirement!

                        1. re: C. Hamster

                          I don't think my mother was too upset when my grandmother got rid of her Fiesta set. When my maternal grandparents sold their lake home without first offering to sell it within
                          the family is a different story. (My mother was not upset, but my dad sure was.)

                          1. re: John E.

                            We had the same LAKE HOME (I haven't heard that term for like a hundert years) controversy!

                            Bay Lake.

                            I wasn't miffed at the time when my mom sold her Fiesta, thinking it was dated, but I sure wish I had it now.

                      3. re: liu

                        I collect Homer Laughlin English Garden, and have the collector's book that also includes Fiesta. It has an absolutely hilarious letter to the editor in it about the 'radioactive red.' I'll try to remember to grab the book when I'm at home & post ...

                          1. re: liu

                            OK, here you go ...

                            Homer Laughlin had this in their files. It was published in the Palm Beach Post Times in Feb 1963.


                            After reading about the radioactive dishes in your paper, I am greatly concerned that I may be in danger, as I had a plate with a design in burnt orange, or maybe it was lemon.

                            This plate was left to me by my great-grandmother, and I noticed that whenever she ate anything from it, her ears would light up; so we all had to wear dark glasses when dining at her house.

                            I first became suspicious of this dish when putting out food for my dog on it I noticed the dog's nose became as red as Rudolph's; and one day a sea gull fed from it, and all his feathers fell off; then one night when the weather was raw I placed it at the foot of my bed, and my toenails turned black.

                            Using it as a pot cover while cooking eel stew, the pot cracked; and reading the letters in your paper last week have concluded I am not the only person having a cracked pot in the house; so perhaps some of your other readers used a plate for a cover.

                            I finally threw this plate overboard at a turn in the channel, now a buoy is no longer needed there, as bubbles and steam mark this shoal.

                            Will you please ask your Doctor or someone if they think this plate is radioactive, and if so am I in any danger, and if so from what?

                            --Name Withheld

                            The authors say that

                            ... We calculated the exposure of a person holding a 13" chop plate strapped to his chest for 24 hours. This gives 20 mR/day. Safe levels for humans working with radiation is ... 20 mR/day as background radiation.

                            For comparison, they offer some other measurements, such as 20 mR/hour from a radium watch dial, and 910 mR per dental X-ray film.

                    2. A few summers ago, bought a HUGE messa Fiestaware, for WAY more than I'd usually consider at a YARD SALE!! Mostly "jewel" tones with a few pastels thrown in. NO cracks/chips, and VERY minimal wear marks of lightest colors, that you have to REALLY look for to find. For $50, came home with place settings for TWELVE... dinner & sandwich/salad plates, soup/cereal bowls (with a few extras, and mugs. A few extra pieces, too... gravy boat and sugar/cream set. Seller had gotten "tired" of them after a year or so?? Had to have cost at least $400 new, on serious sale.

                      A few months ago, thought I had a "snooze, ya lose" moment. At a thrift store there was a big lot of FW... don't know color, but kinda of a butter yellow. I didn't NEED more dishes at all, but when I went back a few days later... still there and "calling" to me. Eight dinner/salad plates, 6 bowls, and 6 mugs... for $20.

                      FW is made somewhere in WV... and apparently has a big outlet store there. Sister has a weeknd place in WV and hopes to someday make that LONG drive to check it out.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: kseiverd

                        kseiverd, how great that you have been able to acquire so many pieces for a reasonable price. I don't shop the garage sales, but I wonder if Fiesta wares were available during a certain period and are now much more difficult to find these days; there seems to be renewed interest in the product.

                        Here's some information about the Homer Laughlin factory and their outlet store:


                        1. re: liu

                          Stuff I found was NEW... not "vintage", so no need for a geiger counter!?!

                          Also found most of an 8 place setting batch of flatware. Next to nothing at a yard sale, but missing a spoon/fork or 2. Handles are red, green and blue.

                          Remember my grandmother having thos round S&P shakers and a pitcher. Have no idea whatever happened to them. Sadlt/probably nobody wanted them back in the 70s when she passed away??

                      2. I got so fed up with my stoneware made by macys ( called cafe) and just bought Fiesta pasta, regular bowls and some lunch plates. Macys has 40% and had a 15% coupon off so I think I got a good deal.

                        Love my Fiesta! What inspired me to purchase was my colbalt blue platters my mom gave me for xmas. Had them for 14 years. Still in awesome shape. I'm thinking now of getting the green and aqua. I'm excited now to grow my collection. I know, what took me so long lol!

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Jillsee

                          Jillsee, thanks for posting about Macy's. Kohl's also has open shelves with various pieces, and Kohl's often seems to offer coupons and specials.

                          Your comment about your Fiesta dishes still being in "awesome shape" seems to be repeated by many. As a newbie to Fiesta dinnerware, I am glad to hear that!

                        2. Before I go crazy at Macys this weekend.......

                          New Fiestaware is dishwasher safe , no ?

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: C. Hamster

                            Absolutely dishwasher safe, C. Hamster.
                            I just washed some new Fiesta dinner plates in our dishwasher and they came out beautifully!

                            The dinner plates are also marked as microwave safe. However, I have read that it is best to keep the oven temps at about 350 and not much higher. Most of my oven use would be just to warm a plate or warm something on a plate; in that case, the oven temp would be 200-225.

                            Perhaps someone else can offer their experience with using these plates in the oven.

                            I completely understand your desire to put these dishes in the dishwasher. A few years ago I purchased some Italian appetizer plates. They are not dishwasher safe and it is very inconvenient to have to wash them by hand. We have put a few in the dishwasher by mistake and the finish on those has crackled.

                            1. re: liu


                              I put everything in the dishwasher that I can!