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Vintage Fiestaware Color Guide

The First Five Fiesta Colors 1936

There are eleven vintage Colors in the original Fiesta ware line designed by Frederic Rhead. The original lineup (shown above) included Red (the orange one), Cobalt (the blue one, originally titled simply Blue but collectors often refer to the color as Cobalt), Ivory, Green (sometimes now referred to as "Light Green", or "Original Green), Yellow. The brilliant orange-red was a trade preference of the time and it was with that in mind that what would come to be known as red was the key color produced and to which all others followed. The dark cobalt blue was the second glaze developed, followed by original green, yellow and then ivory to balance out the selection. Turquoise was developed at this time but not added into production.

original fiesta brochure

"The new idea in American dinnerware is Fiesta–in five lovely colors of Green, Yellow, Blue, Old Ivory, and Red–all brilliant and cheerful. Smart sophisticated services of rich color and beauty! A California fashion that has swept the nation."

Turquoise Added Summer of 1937

Fiestaware Covered Onion Soup Bowl in RedTurquoise was actually not part of the original set of colors, but was added sometime in the summer of 1937, nearly a year and a half after the introdcution of the fiesta tableware line. This explains why some of the pieces that were actually discontinued early, like the 12" divided plates, the cake plate, and the mixing bowl lids have never been found in turquoise and others that were near to being cut, like the covered onion soup bowl are very very rare in turquoise with just a handful of those shapes being manufactured in the turquoise glaze. The flat bottom teacup was restyled in mid-August of 1937 and collectors know that it is hard to find the flat bottom teacups in turquoise, but they do exist.

Original Red Discontinued by 1943

Fiestaware Covered Onion Soup Bowl in RedRed had to serve the war effort and was called upon in 1943 to sacrifice its Uranium content for the cause. For sixteen years (1943-1959) the Fiesta pottery line had to be without it's vibrant orange.

The Fabulous 1950s

fiesta brochure 1936The fabulous '50s were alive with color, showcasing Forest Green (dark green), the lovely Chartruese (reintroduced in a strikingly similar tone in the 90s), Rose (a dusty version of a contemporary look alike), Gray and Medium Green (the dinnerware's last thinning ten years).

"Imagine getting this smart, new 7-piece set of genuine Fiesta pottery with all its color, charm and usefulness–for so little! ($1) "

Fiestaware Greens Medium GreenNew collectors often have trouble correctly identifying the four shades of vintage greens. The bulk of the confusion surrounds distinguising original green from the rarer late 50s medium green. Heavy application of original green, or a light application of medium green aggravate the problem. Two popular anachronisms that seem to help with clarification are referring to medium green as "John Deere tractor green" and "Tic-Tac green."


1950's: The New Colors

During the fall of 1951 some very new and modern colors were brought in, retiring cobalt, green and ivory. An entirely new pallette of forest green, chartreuse, rose and grey brought in a whole new look and feel. These colors were destined to only have a short life before Fiesta pottery would whimper away at the end of the 60s, thus the reason for the high price difference on pieces in these colors.

1959: The End of the Decade...

fiesta 1960 brochureBy the end of the decade red was back in and the eleventh color to date, medium green, was introduced. In 1969 the entire line was restyled - thus making the few last pieces around in medium green much more scarce than most all other fiestaware), but the other 50's colors were done along with more piecies– 15" chop plate, Demitasse cups & saucers, the coffeepot, 10 1/2" compatrment plate , cream soups, egg cups, 4 3/4" fruit bowl and the 2 pint jug. But just to keep the ball rolling they put out the individual salad bowl. (This piece was only made in Red, Medium Green, Yellow and Turquoise- the last bastillon of the Fiesta colors).

1969 Ironstone

The 60's marked the end for Fiesta pottery- the greatest American dinnerware either lost its appeal or was a victim of poor marketing. They totally restyled their line in 1969 and put out Ironstone. They kept the original red going, but cut the entire line down to 19 pieces. Antique Gold and Turf Green were added and many of the molds changed shape. They tried this stuff for a few years but called it quits at the end of 1972. So really, if you want to be ahead of the curve go ahead and build your collection of Turf Green fiesta now while it's still affordable - it was after all only made for a few years.

Vintage Fiestaware Color Timeline


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