Franciscan Desert Rose ceramics were first introduced by Los Angeles-based Gladding, McBean & Co. in 1941, along with the company's Apple pattern. They were manufactured in L.A. until 1986, when Wedgwood, Franciscan's owner since 1979, closed the Los Angeles plant, discontinued all of the patterns except Desert Rose, Apple and Fresh Fruit, and moved the remaining Franciscan dinnerware production to England. Both Desert Rose and Apple are now owned by WWRD - The Luxury Lifestyle Group (Wedgwood Waterford Royal Daulton). They are two of the most popular china patterns in American history, and they continue to be produced to this day.
Ironically, my great-grandmother used Franciscan Desert Rose dishes in her L.A. kitchen in the 1960s and 1970s, and my mom began collecting her own Desert Rose dishes while living in England in the 1980s. She now has all of my great-grandmother's original pieces from California as well. When Jonathan and I got married, we decided continue the tradition and register for some Desert Rose dinnerware. As luck would have it, everyone bought us Desert Rose dishes. We have 12 place settings, plus most of the modern serving pieces. I love comparing the '60s Franciscan to the modern pieces. As one would guess, the original details are much nicer, but I love that you can still buy Franciscan Desert Rose ceramics at your local department store. Of course you can also find it on Ebay, estate sales and at most antique stores.
You can learn more about the history of Franciscan ceramics (and see more photos) here.
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