Using an Image Search to Help Identify Your Collectibles

I love china and porcelain dinnerware and I get a lot of questions from people asking me for help identifying their dinnerware that they have either just purchased because they loved the pattern or they inherited. I have a few steps I always start with that I use to help me narrow down the manufacturer and the pattern. One thing to keep in mind is that older china may not have an actual pattern name associated with it so when looking for replacement pieces you may have to look at pictures and descriptions online.

When I come across a piece that I don’t readily know the manufacturer or pattern name of, I do a Google Image Search. This is such a powerful tool and is free and easy to do. To do a Google Image Search go to and you will see a search box on the screen with three small icons; a camera, a microphone and a magnifying glass. Click on the image of the camera.

Google Image Search

You will be given the option to either upload an image that you have saved on your computer or paste the image URL or web address of the image. You can usually get the image URL by right clicking your mouse on the image and selecting Copy Image Address.

Google Image Search Options

Once you have selected the option to share your image with Google, press the Search by image button.

At the top of the new page you will see a search box. Look at the words that Google has classified the image you submitted as. You can change these words to more closely match what you are looking for. You may upload a glass bottle but only be looking to identify the maker’s mark on the bottom. Google may have glass in the search box. Change the search box to read maker’s mark glass bottle and you may find better results.

Here’s an example of a search:

You are reading an article about antique Indian wedding chairs and there is an image of one that you fall in love with.

You do an image search on Google and you find several Visually similar images. Click on either one of the images that matches the one you uploaded or click on the words Visually similar images.



Visually Similar Images

Visually Similar Images 2

Click on the image or click on the page link and it will take you to a page where that image is hosted. This may or may not be the information you are looking for and sometimes I’ve had to go through a dozen images and sites before finding the info I needed.

Wedding chair

In this example the so called “antique” wedding chair that was in the article wasn’t an antique at all. Unfortunately, I had a similar result for someone recently who was very upset when they found out the antique they purchased was actually a newer item.

Doing an image search can help you identify items, places and even people sometimes. It's not 100% accurate but I find it to be a good place to start when you need to find out more information on an antique or collectible.

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